The Tampa Bay Lightning stood pat at the NHL deadline, then went out and showed why they are confident they have all the pieces necessary to win a championship.
Including the resiliency to overcome a third-period lapse that nearly cost them on Monday.
Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman scored in the shoot-out as the NHL-leading Lightning shrugged off blowing a two-goal lead to beat the struggling Los Angeles Kings 4-3 for their ninth straight victory, matching the longest winning streak in franchise history.
Photo: Kim Klement-USA Today
“It’s nice to win. It always feels good, but like we’ve said before, it’s about more than wins for our group. It’s about playing the right way heading down the stretch,” Stamkos said.
J.T. Miller’s third-period goal forced overtime, while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots for the Lightning, who improved the league’s best record to 48-11-4 and became the fourth team to reach 100 points in 63 games or less.
Alex Iafallo, Jonny Brodzinski and Austin Wagner scored in the third period, helping Los Angeles turn a two-goal deficit into a short-lived 3-2 lead that goalie Jack Campbell could not protect.
The Kings have lost eight straight, their longest skid since December 2007.
“That’s a tough team over there, they’re really good,” Campbell said. “I thought we came in and battled. I thought we competed... I’m not happy with the way it ended. I needed to make more saves, but that’s the way we needed to compete.”
Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli had first-period goals for the Lightning, who fell behind when Brodzinski — playing his first game of the season — and Wagner scored in a 36-second span. Miller countered less than a minute later to make it 3-3.
Meanwhile, Kucherov got his 71st assist on Tampa Bay’s first goal, giving him a league-leading and career-best 101 points.
“You have a two-goal lead at home, it needs to be automatic for our group and it should be with where we are,” Stamkos said. “We are not pleased with that, but having said that, the demeanor on the bench was very positive... We found a way.”
Also on Monday, it was:
‧ Predators 3, Oilers 2
‧ Maple Leafs 5, Sabres 3
‧ Devils 2, Canadiens 1
‧ Panthers 4, Avalanche 3, OT
‧ Canucks 4, Ducks 0
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