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Game 51: Bolts double up Penguins 6-3

The Lightning got two goals from Ondrej Palat, two goals from Anton Stralman, two assists each from Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos in doubling the output of the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3

Tyler Johnson celebrates with teammates after scoring in the Lightning's 6-3 win over Pittsburgh Friday night.
Tyler Johnson celebrates with teammates after scoring in the Lightning's 6-3 win over Pittsburgh Friday night.
Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Friday night.

The Lightning overcame a somewhat rocky start with an offensive outburst to continue their recent winning ways, collecting their 10th win in the last 11 games.

"I think that's what we stress every year; to be a good defensive team. It's one of those things that we kind of just think the offense is going to come and it has the past two years. I think this year was a little different, we weren't scoring at the beginning, but we were there defensively. We had to find ways to score and it's nice to kind of find it at this point of the season." - Alex Killorn

The Penguins started strong, pinning the Lightning in their own end for most of the first half of the opening period. That effort paid off when they opened the scoring at 4:53 on a goal from Patric Hornqvist with assists by Chris Kunitz and Derrick Pouliot.

The Lightning didn't record their second shot until the 11:50 mark, but it tied the game as Anton Stralman scored his first goal of the night, getting help from Tyler Johnson and Killorn, whose hustle in creating a turnover at the blue line generated the opportunity.

The Lightning took the lead at 18:34 on a shot from Johnson that was deflected by Killorn and bobbled by Penguins starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Nikita Kucherov collected the secondary assist. Johnson was originally credited with the goal until the play was reviewed during the first intermission.

The Bolts spread the lead to two when Steven Stamkos fed Ondrej Palat for a shorthanded breakaway goal at 6:04 of the second.

Exactly two minutes later, Pittsburgh trimmed that lead back to one when Sidney Crosby scored on assists from Kunitz and Hornqvist.

Just a minute and eleven seconds later, the Lightning got the lead back to two when Johnson converted on the power play. Kucherov and Victor Hedman were credited with assists.

Pittsburgh pulled Fleury immediately after in favor of Jeff Zatkoff.

The period ended with the Lightning up 4-2

55 seconds into the third, Pittsburgh's Matt Cullen scored with an assist from Phil Kessel. Jon Cooper used his coach's challenge, contesting that the play was offsides. There was a lengthy review but the call on the ice stood.

At 15:55, the Lightning bought some breathing room when Palat scored, getting helpers from Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov. This time, it was Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan's turn to invoke the coach's challenge, claiming goalie interference. After a much shorter review, this original call was also upheld.

Stralman capped off the scoring at 17:56, scoring from the Lightning zone into the vacated net. Ryan Callahan picked up an assist on the play.

"Obviously these two games after this break were important to us. One team that we were tied with and one that is right behind us, so to be able to get these wins on home ice is important. Hopefully, we can just keep rolling while we go to Canada and play in two tough buildings. Hopefully, we can just keep this snowball rolling." - Ben Bishop

The Lightning will now head out for road games in Ottawa on Monday and Montreal on Tuesday before returning home to host the Nashville Predators next Friday.

Game notes:

  • This was the second of three regular season matchups between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, with the Lightning having won the first one 5-4 in overtime at home on January 15. They'll meet once more, in Pittsburgh, February 20.
  • The Lightning are now 23-18-0 with two ties all-time against Pittsburgh at home.
  • The Lightning extended their home winning streak to eight games.
  • Tampa Bay's power play has scored in five straight games, notching six goals.
  • The penalty kill was perfect again, successfully fending off all three shorthanded situations.
  • The Lightning are 21-2-3 when scoring three or more goals and 8-16-1 when recording fewer than three.
  • Jason Garrison had reached the 100 NHL assists milestone... briefly. He was originally credited with the secondary helper on the Lightning's second goal, which was originally credited to Johnson, but that was taken away when the play was later reviewed.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Greg Jones as the 27th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game. Jones, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Faith Café and the Palma Ceia Challengers. Tonight's community hero symbolizes what it means to be a devoted public servant to those in need. Since 1999, Jones founded the challenger division at Palma Ceia Little League, a baseball program for young boys and girls with special needs. In 2012, he was awarded the National Positive Coaching Alliance Double Goal Coach Award that exemplifies a coach who values sportsmanship as a guiding trait for young athletes. Currently, Jones serves on the board of directors at the Faith Cafe, a non-profit organization that feeds the homeless throughout Hillsborough County. His charitable ways have set a positive example in giving back to those who are less fortunate. Jones becomes the 206th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $10.45 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.