Dominating. Complete. Therapeutic.
All words to describe Tampa Bay's 9-3 dismantling of the Rangers at Amalie Arena on Thursday night.
After a slow start to the season, the Bolts set out to prove that last weekend's pair of wins at the Global Series in Stockholm was a sign of things to come instead of a fluke. Thursday certainly proved that they're headed in the right direction with their best all-around performance of the season to date.
It took the Lightning less than seven minutes to chase Alexandar Georgiev from the game with four goals right out of the gate.
Luke Schenn scored his first goal as a Bolt 2:39 into the game to open the scoring. After Tampa Bay was handed a full two-minute 5-on-3 power play, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov scored in rapid succession to build a 3-0 lead. 22 seconds later, Ondrej Palat made it 4-0, streaking down the left wing and firing a shot past Georgiev.
Video: NYR@TBL: Lightning explode for four goals in the 1st
The Rangers turned to veteran Henrik Lundqvist in goal but things didn't get any better.
After Chris Kreider got New York on the board late in the first, Tampa Bay responded with another four-goal outburst in the second period to put the game away.
Steven Stamkos scored his sixth goal of the year on a power play seven minutes into the period. Pat Maroon and Kevin Shattenkirk quickly followed with a pair of goals before Killorn added his second tally of the game with less than a minute remaining in the period.
Yanni Gourde scored the Bolts' ninth goal midway through the third period to tie the franchise record for goals in a single game.
Video: NYR@TBL: Gourde goes top corner on Georgiev for PPG
Players put up big numbers up and down the Lightning's lineup. Nikita Kucherov led the way with four points on a goal and three assists. Victor Hedman led the defensemen with three assists and Shattenkirk continued his resurgent season with a goal and an assist against his former team.
The team stats were just as impressive. Tampa Bay outshot New York 45-23, went 5-for-8 on the power play and was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Not only did the Bolts put on an offensive display, they showed grit and physicality that has been absent in years past. On several occasions, play carried on past the whistle with the Lightning routinely sticking up for one another. Most notably, Ryan McDonagh came to the aid of Andrei Vasilevskiy and fought Brendan Lemieux after Lemieux went crashing into the crease.
The victory pushed Tampa Bay's winning streak to a season-long three games. Whereas last year a streak of that length would have seemed routine, things haven't come as easy to the 2019-20 Bolts.
Tampa Bay will look to keep the momentum going when they host the Jets on Saturday evening.
TBL | 2:39 Luke Schenn (1) - Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point
TBL | 5:41 Alex Killorn (4) - Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos - PPG
TBL | 6:20 Nikita Kucherov (6) - Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos - PPG
TBL | 6:42 Ondrej Palat (6) - Unassisted
NYR | 14:33 Chris Kreider (5) - Artemi Panarin, Ryan Lindgren
TBL | 7:07 Steven Stamkos (6) - Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov - PPG
TBL | 10:19 Pat Maroon (4) - Kevin Shattenkirk, Yanni Gourde
TBL | 14:17 Kevin Shattenkirk (5) - Yanni Gourde, Cedric Paquette
TBL | 19:01 Alex Killorn (5) - Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman - PPG
NYR | 2:22 Filip Chytil (5) - Libor Hajek, Artemi Panarin
TBL | 12:24 Yanni Gourde (5) - Tyler Johnson, Mikhail Sergachev - PPG
NYR | 15:28 Filip Chytil (6) - Pavel Buchnevich