The Tampa Bay Lightning played the most impressive game in weeks as they battled for 60 minutes in defeating the Winnipeg Jets 7-4.
Although the first 30 minutes defensively left us scratching our heads, the Lightning put the hammer down the last half of the game by taking down the Jets.
This game had a bit of everything. Six different players scored goals as the Lightning set the tone with their physical play and even went one for two on the power play.
The disappointing part of the game was the play of goaltender Brian Elliott. Elliott allowed four goals on 11 shots but was never in danger of getting pulled, as Jon Cooper gave Andrei Vasilevskiy the night off, and he was not going to put him out of the game barring an injury.
Nikita Kucherov seems to be finding his game as he had four points in the game, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
Steven Stamkos added two assists to move closer to becoming the all-time leading scorer in Lightning history.
Marty St. Louis is the all-time leader with 953 points. Stamkos now has 950 points in his Lightning career.
This was also the seventh season in Lightning history where they have accumulated 100 points.
This team also faced some adversity in this game as they were down 4-2 at one point and battled back with five unanswered goals to win the game 7-4.
With seven games to play in the regulars season, it looks as if the line combinations are starting to come together.
It takes some time when you acquire new players to get them acclimated to the team and determine what line they will play on and with whom they will develop chemistry.
Nick Paul has been playing on a line with Nikita Kucherov and Braydon Point and seems to be the missing link on that line. Since joining the line, Kucherov has been putting up multi-point games as he has done in the past.
Kucherov missed the first part of the season recovering from surgery and looked out of sync the first couple of months back.
If anyone knows about coming back from injuries on this team, it is Steven Stamkos. He talked about Kucherov’s game and the way he is playing. “When he’s on his game and playing like he did tonight, It’s about confidence. A lot of people forget that Kuch hasn’t played a lot of hockey in the past couple of years. He’s coming back from some pretty significant surgeries. The body can feel good in stretches and not so good in other stretches. It’s something that takes time. You can tell, physically, he’s feeling a lot better and, confidence-wise, when the puck’s on his stick, it’s usually a very good thing for us.”
Jon Cooper echoed the sentiments of Steven Stamkos. “I thought Kuch was a big reason that game turned around. He made a hell of a feed to Paul for the 4-3 goal. He gets the 4-4 goal, and then he was outstanding in the third. When the top guys are doing their thing, it usually bodes well for us.”
The question now is after a good showing against the Jets, what Lightning team will show up Tuesday night against the Red Wings? The team that lost 6-2 to Toronto, or the team that put seven goals on the board against Winnipeg?
We will find out when puck drops at 7 PM On Tuesday at Amalie Arena.