The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Tuesday night.
In the ongoing effort to make an improbable push for the playoffs, which is becoming slightly less improbable with each passing game, the Lightning won for the fifth time in seven outings, picking up points in each of them.
“We feel like we’re playing good hockey right now. It’s nice being rewarded for it, getting those points. Obviously they’re desperately needed. For us, it’s just a matter of keeping doing what we’re doing, one game at a time. Able to get two tonight and now we look forward to the next one.” - Tyler Johnson
Playing their first game at Amalie Arena since February 7, the Lighting now have a home winning streak of three games. This one was a tight, virtually penalty-free contest, with only two minors assessed to each side.
Everyone’s favorite line, The Triplets (Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat) paced the Bolts, combining for eight points on the night.
“It’s been great. We really haven’t had much opportunity to play together the last two years. Maybe a period here and there, but not too many times with the entire game. Now we’re getting some chances. I thought last game we played extremely well. We had a lot of opportunities to score, they just didn’t go in for us. But tonight, they started to go in. We even had more opportunities. We’re just playing our game, trying to contribute as much as possible and luckily for us it’s working right now.” - Johnson
At 4:26 of the first, Edmonton’s Brandon Davidson broke a stick defending against Palat, allowing Kucherov to break freely into the Oilers zone. Kucherov fed Palat who joined the rush and scored.
That would be the only goal of the period.
Just :16 into the second, Palat scored again, netting what would be the eventual game-winner on assists from Johnson and Kucherov.
Edmonton would get on the board at 10:17, with Iiro Pakarinen scoring thanks to assistance from Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson.
The score was 2-1 Tampa Bay, heading into the third period.
As in the second, the Lightning scored in the opening seconds of the third, with Kucherov picking up his team-leading 22nd goal of the season at :49, with helpers coming from Anton Stralman and Johnson.
It appeared that the Oilers answered at 2:03 on a goal by Klefbom but the Lightning bench challenged that Edmonton’s Drake Caggiula was offside on the play. The play was reviewed, the challenge was upheld and the goal was waved off.
“Well, we’ve got Nigel (Kirwan) and Brian (Garlock) back in the back room. I don’t know what our record is in challenges, but it’s a little to a lot against us. Those ones are usually black and white. It was close. It was definitely close. We still had the lead had that not been offside, but I think that took a little bit of the wind out of their sails when they had that one called back.” - Cooper
As the final seconds ticked off, Vladislav Namestnikov broke in alone on an empty Edmonton net and was hooked on the play. He was awarded the goal at 19:59 with Kucherov credited with the assist.
The Lightning improve to 27-24-8 on the season and remain behind four teams ahead of them in the race for a wildcard spot in the postseason, but picked up two points on the idle Florida Panthers who currently occupy that spot, reducing the margin to four points.
They’ll be in action again Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames.