The Tampa Bay Lightning is starting to get results.
So much has been made over the past two weeks about what was wrong with the team, and why the early season success went away. Through it all, head coach Guy Boucher has stayed strong with idea that nothing was wrong, the effort was there, and the results would come. True to the words of the head coach, the results have started to return, as the Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 4-2 at the Tampa Bay Times forum.
The Maple Leafs had all kinds of trouble with the Lightning forecheck early in the game and it resulted in the first goal. Toronto was attempting to start a rush up ice when Benoit Pouliot intercepted a pass and found Vincent Lecavalier, who beat Toronto goaltender Ben Scrivens to give the Lightning the 1-0 lead. For Scrivens, it was the first goal he had surrendered in just over 154 minutes. Scrivens have previously recorded shutouts in his last two starts.
Toronto would get the goal right back though when Mikhail Grabovski found a rebound in the slot and had no problem hitting the open net. The original shot by Nikolai Kuleman was a shot Anders Lindback would probably like to have back in terms of giving up a rebound right to Grabovski.
In the second period, the Lightning would take the lead on a great individual effort by Cory Conacher, who stole the puck behind the Toronto net, and found Steven Stamkos in front for his 10th goal of the year. For Conacher, it was the type of play that has come to define the rookie forward, and the type of tenacity that Guy Boucher has talked about every time his name has come up.
The Lightning would break the game open in the third period. Their third goal of the game provided a bit of a lesson, delivered by forward Alex Killorn. Killorn threw the puck on net, and while it was not a terribly pretty play, the puck squeezed through Scrivens and dribbled across the goal line into the net. The lesson to be learned in this instance was that a play does not necessarily have to be pretty to be effective. There were times in this game where shots were passed up, and scoring opportunities were missed.
Later in the third, the Lightning would add a fourth goal when defenseman Matt Carle wound up and unleashed a slap shot from the point to beat Scrivens and give the Lightning a 4-1 lead. For Carle, it was his third goal of the season.
“To me it’s more about the process and the habits that we were trying to create in previous games,” Guy Boucher said when asked about building on Saturday’s win in tonight’s game. “A 6-5 win there are things in there that we liked and disliked but there was a lot of things that we liked so we kept talking about the process. Throughout our losing streak it was never about the result, it was about how we were going to continue progressing. We were doing so many good things we knew it was eventually going to pay off.”
On Tuesday night, it did.