The Tampa Bay Lightning strike early on home ice in a strong effort aganst the Los Angeles Kings in a 5-1 victory in front of a crowd of 16,310 at the Tampa Bay TImes on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay did not waaste any time applying pressure and getting on the board first just 19 seconds into the game on a redirection by Ryan Malone on initial shot by Sami Salo from the point.
Teddy Purcell extended the early lead at the 12:44 mark of the first period after great transition play on the part of Ondrej Palat and Matt Carle. Purcell was able to close in on Jonathan Quick and go from his backhand to his forehand for a wrist shot that went top shelf.
The penalty kill has been something Tampa Bay has struggled on the first five games of the season allowing seven goals on 22 total times being shorthanded. On Tuesday night, the Lightning were shorthanded five times including a double minor that was issued to Sami Salo for high-sticking. Tampa Bay killed off all five Los Angeles power plays.
“I think we matched their physicality,” Cooper said. “They pushed on us and we bent but we didn’t break. You have to give a lot of credit to our penalty kill, especially when they killed off the four-minute minor. You could call that the turning point. That was a big part of the game for us.”
Ben Bishop made huge contributions in killing those penalties as well. Bishop returned Tuesday night after being out with a lower body injury that occurred last Thursday against the Florida Panthers. Bishop stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper gave Bishop much deserved praise after his performance against the Kings.
“Ultimately, in the end, your goalie has got to be your best penalty-kill guy and made the big saves,” Cooper said. “He’s been pretty good for us. Bishop has played how we need him to play to win games.”
While Bishop was keeping the puck out of his net, his teammates were keeping the pressure on Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.
After the Lightning extended their lead to 3-0 on a goal by Martin St. Louis, Kings coach Darryl Sutter made the change in net sending Ben Scrivens in relief for Quick.
Quick allowed three goals on 17 shots.
Los Angeles was certainly getting their chances on offense, especially in the second period when they outshot Tampa Bay 15-7.
Jeff Carter did manage to get a puck past Bishop in the second period; however, it was immediately waved off as Mike Richards was called for goaltender interference.
“In my opinion, I did not agree with the call,” Richards said. “But there is not much you can do about it. It was definitely a momentum swing in the hockey match.”
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov scored the lone goal for his club with 9:33 remaining in the game. Voynov had plenty of time and space for a quick wrist shot to avoid the shutout.
The Kings finished the game outshooting the Lightning 31-25.
Martin St. Louis recorded his second goal of the game at the 12:40 mark of the third period after a two on one ensued by Stamkos and St. Louis with Malone entering the zone getting the pass from Stamkos then over to St. Louis at the side of the net to make it a 4-1.
Lightning forward closed out the scoring with a goal at 18:39 of the third.
Tampa Bay was solid in all areas especially on special teams. It will certainly be something to keep an eye on to see if they can consistenly improve on the penalty kill.
Tampa Bay (4-2-0) is now 2-1-0 on this current homestand that continues on Thursday night when the Minnesota Wild visit the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Martin St. Louis recorded his 900th, 901st,and 902nd point as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ben Bishop improves to 4-0-0 with a 1.71 goal-against average and .939SV%.
Tampa Bay has scored 22 goals in their first six games of the season, good enough for 4th most in the league behind San Jose, Toronto and Pittsburgh.