A big run is what the Tampa Bay Lightning have been needing if they want to make a playoff push. The problem is the Bolts haven’t won back to back games since December. That changed on Tuesday night. Nikita Kucherov and Ben Bishop led the way in a 5-0 rout to complete the season sweep of the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings got some early opportunities in the Lightning zone, including a great chance for Anze Kopitar, but Ben Bishop was able to fend off the early charge. The Bolts then had to go on an early penalty kill when Victor Hedman was called for hooking. The Lightning killed off the penalty and looked like they would have a power play of their own when Drew Doughty hooked Tyler Johnson, but Johnson was called for embellishment as well. That didn’t phase the Bolts though and they were able to score shortly after thanks to a wicked shot from Jonathan Drouin. The Bolts nearly doubled their lead thanks to a Johnson deflection, but somehow the combination of Peter Budaj and Doughty were able to keep it out of the net. The shots kept coming for Los Angeles though, but Bishop kept making saves to keep the lead. At the end of the period the Kings had a 19-6 shots on goal advantage, but Tampa Bay still held the 1-0 lead.
Things were physical early in the 2nd period. Drouin was down on the ice after a big hit, but was able to skate off under his own power. The Kings continued the pressure in the Lightning zone, but payed for the aggressiveness when Nikita Kucherov got out on a breakaway and shot it past Budaj for the 2-0 lead. That lead would grow to 3 when Gabriel Dumont scored his 1st goal as a member of the Lightning thanks to a great assist from J.T. Brown. The great night continued for the Lightning as they tacked on another late in the period. Kucherov’s 2nd of the night came off of a fantastic pass from Vlad Namestnikov. That is where the lead would stand as we headed to the final period.
The Bolts got a chance to extend their lead when Tyler Toffoli was called for goalie interference at around the 7 minute mark. The Bolts weren’t able to score on the power play and had to go on the penalty kill minutes later when Braydon Coburn was called for hooking. The Bolts killed off the penalty and Bishop’s shutout stayed in tact. The Lightning added on another goal to put this one further out of reach when Coburn scored just after the 13 minute mark.
The Bolts will be now be off until Friday night. Tampa Bay will get back on the ice in Minnesota when they take on the wild. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 pm with pregame coverage beginning at 7:30 on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. Tampa Bay - Drouin - (Unassisted) - 7:46
1. Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Namestnikov, Sustr) - 6:55
2. Tampa Bay - Dumont - (Brown, Hedman) - 11:02
3. Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Namestnikov, Witkowski) - 18:18
1. Tampa Bay - Coburn - (Drouin, Vermin) - 13:08
1. Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Hooking) - 4:15
2. Los Angeles - Doughty - (Hooking) - 6:26
3. Tampa Bay - Johnson - (Embellishment) - 6:26
4. Los Angeles - Gaborik - (Slashing) - 9:41
1. Tampa Bay - Sustr - (Interference) - 2:14
2. Los Angeles - Andreoff - (Roughing) - 2:14
1. Los Angeles - Toffoli - (Goaltender Interference) - 6:44
2. Tampa Bay - Coburn - (Hooking) - 10:04
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 21
Los Angeles - 27