Break out the champagne, the Tampa Bay Lightning have won back-to-back games for the first time in a month and a half.
After outlasting the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday in a 3-2 shootout victory, the Lightning followed Tuesday with a 5-0 demolishing of the Los Angeles Kings in perhaps their finest full-game performance of the 2016-17 season. Ten different Bolts got in the boxscore, including guys who don't normally figure in the scoring like J.T. Brown, Andrej Sustr, Luke Witkowski, Gabriel Dumont, Braydon Coburn and Joel Vermin.
Ben Bishop turned in his second-straight strong performance in goal, making all 28 stops for his first shutout of the season.
The Lightning close out their four-game home stand with two crucial wins after dropping the opening two games to Atlantic Division foes. They'll try to keep that momentum going Friday when they open a road back-to-back set against the Minnesota Wild, arguably the hottest team in the NHL.
Can the Bolts extend their win streak to three games?
We'll break down the beat down of the Kings and look at how the Lightning were able to put it all together in one dominating 60-minute performance in 3 Things we learned from defeating the Kings
Video: LAK@TBL: Kucherov finishes Namestnikov's great pass
1. THAT OLD TIME FEELING
Fans longing for the Lightning team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final two seasons ago and made a return trip to the Eastern Conference Final last year finally got a glimpse of that brand of hockey in the 5-0 win over the Kings.
The Lightning got strong goaltending from Bishop, particularly in the first period when the Bolts' net was under siege. After weathering the storm in the first 20, the Bolts took control in the second period with three goals, their speed and rushes into the zone befuddling the Kings.
And the defensive effort, which has been hit or miss much of the year, limited the Kings to just three shots in the second period and nine shots in the final 40 minutes to give Bishop a breather.
"The guys made it pretty easy in the last two periods," Bishop admitted.
Squint your eyes a bit and you might have thought you were watching the 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightning, who ran roughshod through the league in the regular season. That team regularly put up performances like Tuesday's, but those efforts have been few and far between this season.
"Bish played extremely well in the first period when we needed him," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "To look up at the shot clock and see we've given up 19 shots and, I don't know, we had six or something like that, we felt extremely fortunate to come to the room with the lead. Clearly Ben Bishop had a big part of that, but then, once that happened, we gave up nine shots the rest of the game. That's the team helping each other out. Ben bailed us out in the first and the team said, "Ben we're not going to try and need you here in the last few periods," and that's how it went. It seemed like a few times this year if the goalie played well, we couldn't score. If we were scoring, we maybe weren't playing that great defensively. But in all facets of the game tonight, the keys, we played well defensively for the most part, our goaltender looked great and our penalty kill was strong. Usually those add up to favorable results."
Rarely this season have the Lightning been able to put together every phase of its game in one performance.
Hopefully, Tuesday's effort against the Kings will carry over into the final 28 games of the regular season.
Video: LAK@TBL: Drouin cuts to net, beats Budaj upstairs
2. JONATHAN DROUIN DOING JONATHAN DROUIN THINGS
Jonathan Drouin has been scorching since December 1.
Before that date, the Lightning forward put up just seven points in 17 games and missed seven games with an injury.
But since, Drouin has recorded 13 goals and 14 assists in 29 games and leads the Lightning for scoring over that span.
Tuesday night against Los Angeles, he added to his total, scoring the opening goal of the game 7:46 into the first period.
And he added another clip for his ever-expanding highlight reel.
Taking control of the puck deep in his own end, Drouin saw a chance to get a two-on-two rush into the offensive zone, glided through the neutral zone while switching sides of the ice and hit the turbo button to blow past Tyler Toffoli.
From a sharp angle at the bottom of the left circle, Drouin threaded a shot in the only sliver of space he could find, beating a bewildered Peter Budaj.
"I was running out of angles," Drouin recounted. "I shot it high, and it hit the post and went in. I didn't even know it went in. It's nice to get the first one at home."
Drouin's goal came against the run of play as the Kings outshot the Bolts 19-6 in the opening period. The Kings had multiple chances to grab the game's first goal and put the Lightning on their heels, but Drouin's wonder goal gave the Bolts a spark they would take into the first intermission and build off of in the second period.
"We felt extremely fortunate to come to the room with the lead," Cooper said.
Drouin added an assist on the Bolts' fifth goal for his seventh multi-goal game of the season and sixth since December 1.
Video: LAK@TBL: Dumont sweeps in Brown's perfect feed
3. PUCK LUCK
There haven't been too many games this season where it seemed the Lightning caught the majority of the breaks.
Whether by missing an open net, hitting a post, letting in a fluky goal or a bad ricochet that puts the opponent in an opportune spot, luck just hasn't been on the Lightning side this season.
But on Tuesday, all the bounces were going the Bolts' way.
The Kings hit two posts in the game at a time when a goal would have tested Tampa Bay's fortitude. They had numerous other chances, particularly in the opening period, where a scramble in front of Ben Bishop's net resulted in a puck squirting just wide of the goal.
"We didn't feel like we played poorly against Ottawa," Cooper said. "Our scoring chances were even. They scored four, we scored two. But they were battling, and you can see that. They've been rewarded here the last two games, which makes you feel good and feel good for them. It's tough when you play well and don't get points…Fortunately for us, we had a strong game against Anaheim, and Bish bailed us out here in the first period and we played strong after that. Hopefully, we keep building on that."
The Lightning, meanwhile, were capitalizing on everything. Despite recording just six shots on goal in the first period, three were Grade-A scoring chances, Peter Budaj making a pair of miraculous saves to keep it a one-goal game after 20 minutes.
In the second, Budaj could do nothing as the Bolts simply overwhelmed the Kings' net with one prime scoring opportunity after another, set up mainly by Tampa Bay's overwhelming speed and tape-to-tape passing.
"The last few games, it seems like we could have scored five and we just weren't," Bishop said. "Obviously tonight, it kind of felt like a breakout. We've been getting a lot of good opportunities here in these last few games and just coming up with bad puck luck. So it was nice to kind of have on (our) side tonight."