TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning either trailed or were even for two and a half periods of their 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. However, Steven Stamkos and Luke Glendening scored 39 seconds apart in the third period and the Lightning took a 5-4 advantage at 9:53 and finished off Edmonton, 6-4.
Nikita Kucherov led Tampa Bay with two goals and an assist while Mikhail Sergachev and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist.
The Oilers outshot the Lightning, 43-24, as they took control in the first period with a 20-10 shot advantage that produced goals by Derek Ryan and James Hamblin.
Ryan gave Edmonton a short-handed goal at 3:39 in the first ,and James Hamblin followed as both players scored their first goals of the season and exacted a 2-0 Oilers advantage.
“Was our game perfect?” relayed Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “No. It was not. That first period was tough for us, but the last time we touched the ice was when we left the ice in Chicago a couple of nights ago.”
Tampa Bay put itself in peril almost immediately, but the character of this team saw it turn the page and rebuild itself in the second and third periods.
“Punt that first period and I wasn’t happy for what happened because we took two penalties and gave up four or five odd-mans that period,” Cooper explained. “When we are doing that, we are in trouble. As the game went on, I thought we managed the puck well.”
The Lightning dominated the third period as they tied the game at 4-4 on a slapshot from Steven Stamkos at 9:28. He took a cross-ice pass from Kucherov that was generally circle-to-circle as Brayden Point also figured into the score and had an assist.
“We have not been a great third-period team this year, so for us to come out and be behind and push like we did, it’s great for our morale,” said Cooper. “It’s been extremely tough on the road here, so we are just kind of doing it the right way.”
Tampa Bay’s special teams played at a high level as the Lightning killed six penalties, but gave up the shorthanded goal to Pryor.
“I like the way we responded on that because they probably should have scored on the first one,” said Cooper. “The big one for me was the one in the third that we killed off late and we didn’t really even give them a sniff. Big for everyone on the bench.”
Some 39 seconds later, Luke Glendening gave Tampa Bay it’s first lead of the evening at 5-4 when he scored on a backhanded shot.
“There were a lot of responses,” said Cooper. “We were down, we tie it. They come back, go ahead, and we tie it again. Then, we tie it again and we get the lead.”
Sergachev put the exclamation point on the game with generally a length of the ice shot on an empty-netter at 19:05.
“I just liked the way the guys dug in and of course, we make it hard on ourselves by getting a penalty and now it’s a 5-on-6,” said Cooper. “There was a big sigh of relief when Sergi shot that 198 feet and it went in the net.”