The Tampa Bay Lightning (20-6-4) defeated the Las Vegas Golden Knights (20-12-0) 4-3 late Tuesday night in Las Vegas. The Lightning now enter an extended Christmas break on a three-game winning streak.
The Lightning were without head coach Jon Cooper, who was placed in the NHL COVID-19 protocol - assistant Derek Lalonde was behind the bench in his absence.
Tampa Bay scored first when Gabriel Fortier scored at the 6:05 mark in the first period. Vegas then got two goals from Mark Stone - midway through the first and early in the second - and a goal from Nicolas Roy midway through the second to take a 3-1 lead.
The Lightning answered with three straight goals - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Anthony Cirelli scored fourty-three second apart late in the second period to tie the game 3-3. Then Steven Stamkos came through with the game winning goal on the power play at the 10:13 mark of the third period to lift the Lightning to a 4-3 win.
For Steven Stamkos, it was his 65th game winning goal - he passed Martin St. Louis for the most game-winning goals in franchise history. Andrei Vasilevskiy got the win in net, saving 38 shots of 41 shots on net.
The NHL has paused all games effective Wednesday as several teams deal with COVID-19 issues, essentially making a longer Christmas break. The break is scheduled to end Sunday, and the Lightning are currently scheduled to return to action when they host the Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, December 28th.
PHOTO COURTESY GETTY IMAGES