TAMPA-- After falling behind by two goals in the first period, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored five unanswered goals en route to an 8-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Center Brayden Point scored a career-high five points with a goal & four assists.
Tampa Bay returned home from a five-game road trip & were looking forward to getting back on the ice after losing on Saturday night 7-1 in Arizona. But it was New Jersey who jumped out to an early 2-0 lead within the first six minutes of the game, first by scoring on the first shot of the game, when forward Miles Wood tipped in a shot from the right point by defenseman Sami Vatanen. Then on a failed pinch by Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi near center ice, Devils center Travis Zajac raced to the loose puck, came in alone on goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, deked & then tucked the puck past the Lightning goalie through the five-hole.
Trailing 2-0, the Lightning began to pick up the pace of the game & with the help of some pressure from two forwards, Point & Yanni Gourde, Tampa Bay cut New Jersey's lead to one, after defenseman Braydon Coburn's shot from the point skipped off a Devils' defenseman & got past goalie Keith Kincaid.
The goal was Coburn's firsf of the year, but the Lightning defenseman tied the game up at two & picked up his second goal of the game after taking a feed from center Cedric Paquette & snapping a wrist shot by Kincaid on his glove side.
Tampa Bay won the shots on net battle in the first period, outshooting New Jersey 14-11 & with just over 30 seconds gone in the second period, the line of Johnson-Point-Gourde gave the Lightning their first lead of the game. After controlling the second period opening face & getting a shot on net by Gourde, Point picked up a loose puck. And while at the doorstep, the Lightning center slid the puck into the net for his seventh goal of the year.
Leading 3-2, Tampa Bay went on the power play for the first time in the game when New Jersey center Blake Coleman was called for a double minor after hitting defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the face with a high stick. And just before the two minute mark of the power play forward Nikita Kucherov after a feed from McDonagh, blasted a one-timer for his fourth goal of the year.
Less than a minute later, Zajac was called for slashing, giving the Lightning a five on three advantage. And with the Lightning controlling the puck low inside the Devils zone, the Lightning were able to set up their captain & Steven Stamkos delivered with a high blast over Kincaid for his 2nd of the year & his 350th goal of his career.
After allowing five unaswered goals, New Jersey was able to cut the Tampa Bay lead to two after converting on the power play. Center Kyle Palmieri picked up his 9th goal of the year during a two minute holding penalty to Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek.
Six minutes of power play was a factor in Tampa Bay outshooting New Jersey 21-11 in the second period. And with just under four minutes gone in the final period, the Lightning made the lead three again. A shot by Point was stopped in front of the Devils net, but Johnson picked the puck up & after getting it onto his stick, he fired it past Kincaid for his 5th goal of the year.
Leading 6-3, the Lightning made it 7-3 then 8-3 all within one minute. First, Kucherov finished off a tic-tac-toe set-up from Stamkos & Miller, giving him two goals in the game. Then while positioned near the right goal post, McDonagh slammed home a rebound shot by Point for his first goal of the year.
Tampa Bay finishes a quick two-game homestand on Thursday night at Amalie Arena when they host the Nashville Predators. Pregame on 970 WFLA begins at 6:30pm with puck drop at 7:30pm.
1. NJD- Wood 1st goal (Vatanen, Mueller)- 1:01
2. NJD- Zajac 3rd goal (Wood)- 5:04
3. TBL- Coburn 1st goal (Point, Gourde)- 7:30
4. TBL- Coburn 2nd goal (Paquette, Erne)- 13:30
1. TBL- Point 7th goal (Gourde, Johnson)- 0:31
2. TBL-PPG- Kucherov 4th goal (McDonagh, Stamkos)- 6:33
3. TBL- PPG- Stamkos 2nd goal (Kucherov, Point)- 8:08
4. NJD- PPG- Palmieri 9th goal (Hall, Butcher)- 16:47
1. TBL- Johnson 5th goal- (Point, McDonagh)- 3:40
2. TBL- Kucherov 5th goal- (Miller, Stamkos)- 5:02
3. TBL- McDonagh 1st goal- (Point, Gourde)- 5:51
1. TBL- Coburn (Illegal Check To The Head 2 min)- 17:07
1. NJD- Coleman ( High-Sticking double minor 4 min)- 4:39
2. NJD- Zajac (Slashing 2 min)- 7:12
3. TBL- Kookkoek (Holding 2 min)- 16:01
1. TBL- Paquette (Interference 2 min)- 6:32
2. TBL- Paquette (Fighting)- 6:32
3. NJD- Rooney (Fighting)- 6:32