In what was seen as an opportunity to rebound from a well-played game with a disappointing end in their loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday, the Lightning relied on familiar names on the scoresheet, another excellent performance from goaltender Ben Bishop and a re-purposed special teams effort.
"We gave up at least one point last game and in this league, you can't lose two in a row." - Lightning forward Martin St. Louis
"I think we were pretty upset about the way we played last game with the penalty kill. I think we really stepped up in being more aggressive in our own end, making sure we got pucks down deep and were a litle more aggressive up in the gap." - Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman
Once again, the fun began right after the puck dropped. Tonight, it took all of 19 seconds for the first goal to be scored, with Ryan Malone netting his first of the season, deflecting a shot from Sami Salo. Martin St. Louis also chipped in with an assist.
The Lightning's penalty kill would face an early test, with Radko Gudas being called for interference at 1:20, before Malone's goal had even been announced.
The first period featured lots of fast and furious activity around the Lightning net from the Kings.
"I told Bugsy (Malone) on the bench, 'Whoa, this team is fast'. So I couldn't wait for the timeouts." - St. Louis
A hooking call against Malone less than a minute later resulted in the Lightning being shorthanded for the second time but again, the penalty kill kept the Kings from converting. The Los Angeles power play that had produced more than a third of their total goals so far this season (five of 14) found it difficult to keep the puck in the zone, let alone mount an attack. They would be turned away five times in total during the night.
The Lightning went into the first intermission up 2-0.
Another damn-the-long-beer-lines moment occurred at the start of the second period. Just 32 seconds in, after whiffing on a wrist shot, Jeff Carter was able to put it past Bishop on his second attempt, with the backhand. However, the goal was overruled due to incidental contact with the goaltender.
The penalty kill would face their stiffest test of the night just three minutes into the period when Sami Salo went to the box to serve four minutes for high sticking. Again, the Bolts were able to deny the Kings.
For their part, the Bolts were officially 0 for 3 on the power play, however, at 16:22 on a delayed penalty, St. Louis scored with helpers from Steven Stamkos and Andrej Sustr. Immediately after that goal, Kings starter Jonathan Quick was replaced in goal by Ben Scrivens. Quick was credited with 14 saves on 17 shots while Scrivens would go on to register six stops on eight attempts.
The period ended with the Lightning holding a 3-0 lead.
The Kings finally solved Bishop at 10:27 of the third, with Slava Voynov scoring on assists by Matt Frattin and Jarret Stoll. Bishop ended up making a total of 30 saves on the 31 shots he faced, picking up his fourth win..
Just over two minutes later, at 12:40, St. Louis scored with help from Malone and Stamkos.
Ondrej Palat capped things off at 18:39, scoring on assists from Teddy Purcell and Tyler Johnson.
"You'd like to see how your team responds, naturally. I think it was probably good for us that we had a little bit of a break to kind of digest what happened (against Pittsburgh) and we came back to work on Monday, but probably the thing I was impressed with was that we matched their physicality. They pushed on us, we bent a little bit, but we didn't break. You've got to give a lot of credit to the penalty kill, especially to kill off the four minutes. That was arguably, you could call it the turning point, but that was a big part of it for us." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
The season-long seven-game homestand continues Thursday night when the Lightning hosts the Minnesota Wild.
- Tonight's attendance was 16,310, the lowest total so far this season.
- Marty St. Louis's assist on Ryan Malone's goal was his 900th point as a member of the Lightning.
- St. Louis and Teddy Purcell both extended their personal scoring streaks to five games.
- Ben Bishop is now 4-0-0 with 1.71 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage this season.
- This was the Kings' first visit to the Forum since February 7, 2012, a 3-1 loss for the Bolts
- The last time the Lightning beat Los Angeles at home was February 6, 2007..
- The Lightning are now 17-7-4 all time against Los Angeles
- Sami Salo has recorded assists in three straight games..
- The assist on St. Louis's goal in the second period was the first NHL point scored by Andrej Sustr.
- Victor Heman blocked seven shots on the night.
- The Lightning honored David Morrill as the third Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Morrill, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Legal Aid of Manasota. Morrill was determined that retirement was not going to slow him down so he started volunteering, giving legal advice at Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. for a few hours a week. The retired attorney from South Dakota, Morrill realized over time that no one was stepping forward to assist those clients in need of someone to represent them in foreclosure court. He decided that he would step in and become an Emeritus attorney to represent clients who were losing their homes. Working tirelessly to save homes of people in need, Morrill has helped people keep their families in standing order. Sarasota County was one of the hardest hit counties in the nation for foreclosures, and Morrill has helped people deal with difficult circumstances. Faced with the loss of their homes, his clients were desperate for help and Morrill stepped in and gave them hope.