The Lightning's performance in Wednesday night's 7-6 overtime win was very far from ideal.
Issues that have plagued the Bolts so far in 2019-2020 still crept into their game. Tampa Bay was outshot 42-23, gave New Jersey five power play opportunities and continued to have issues with defensive coverage.
But in the end, the Bolts found a way to get a victory they absolutely needed, rallying from two goals down in the third period for a win that moves them to 6-4-2 on the season.
Things got off to a tough start for Tampa Bay as Kyle Palmieri opened the scoring just over a minute into the game. Tampa Bay responded, however, with goals from Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn to take a 2-1 lead in the dressing room through 20 minutes.
Video: TBL@NJD: Killorn roofs power-play goal from circle
Tampa Bay struggled in the second period, surrendering three New Jersey goals.
Jesper Bratt tied the game at two six minutes into the period with his second goal of the year. After Brayden Point gave the Bolts the lead once again, the Devils responded with goals from Kyle Palmieri and Bratt to take the lead right back.
The third got off to a similar start with Sami Vatanen beating Curtis McElhinney on his backhand just over a minute into the period to stretch New Jersey's lead to 5-3.
Tampa Bay would battle back, however.
Anthony Cirelli pulled the Bolts within one less than two minutes later, deflecting a Jan Rutta point shot for his first goal of the season. The Lightning tied the game at five midway through the period when a Mathieu Joseph pass deflected off a New Jersey defender in the slot and past Corey Schneider.
The Bolts took the lead with less than four minutes to play on Palat's second goal of the game. Palat spun around at the top of the right circle and fired a wrist shot past Schneider to give Tampa Bay the lead.
It wouldn't last as Palmieri finished off his hat trick with seven seconds remaining in regulation. Palmieri cleaned up a loose puck in the slot, sweeping it past McElhinney to tie the game and force overtime.
The Bolts would respond once again on Tyler Johnson's fourth goal of the season in overtime. After Ryan McDonagh was robbed by Schneider's stick at the far post, the Bolts kept the pressure up and cycled the puck to Johnson at the right circle who wired home the game-winner.
Video: TBL@NJD: Johnson one-times the game-winner in OT
McElhinney's final stats don't accurately reflect the performance he put forth in net for the Bolts. Despite allowing six goals, McElhinney finished the night with 36 saves to earn his first win for the Lightning. McElhinney had to battle through a constant barrage of pressure from New Jersey but also an apparent injury after needing some attention from the medical staff after stretching out his right leg trying to make a save early in the first period.
Six different Bolts recorded multi-point nights, with Palat, Point and Johnson leading the way with three each.
The Lightning wrap up their three-game swing through the New York City area on Friday night when they face the Islanders. Friday's game will be Tampa Bay's last stateside before traveling to Sweden for the 2019 NHL Global Series that begins late next week.
NJD | 1:10 Kyle Palmieri (4) - Wayne Simmonds, Taylor Hall - PPG
TBL | 9:28 Ondrej Palat (4) - Kevin Shattenkirk, Brayden Point
TBL | 17:15 Alex Killorn (2) - Kevin Shattenkirk, Tyler Johnson - PPG
NJD | 6:05 Jesper Bratt (2) - Pavel Zacha, Nico Hischier
TBL | 11:48 Brayden Point (4) - Tyler Johnson, Mikhail Sergachev
NJD | 12:17 Kyle Palmieri (5) - Will Butcher, Taylor Hall
NJD | 13:16 Jesper Bratt (3) - Andy Greene, Nico Hischier
NJD | 1:13 Sami Vatanen (3) - Wayne Simmonds, Andy Greene
TBL | 2:45 Anthony Cirelli (1) - Jan Rutta, Mathieu Joseph
TBL | 7:45 Mathieu Joseph (3) - Anthony Cirelli
TBL | 16:03 Ondrej Palat (5) - Brayden Point
NJD | 19:52 Kyle Palmieri (6) - Wayne Simmonds, Will Butcher
TBL | 1:16 Tyler Johnson (4) - Ondrej Palat, Ryan McDonagh