fter starting a critical four-game home stand with two-straight losses, the Tampa Bay Lightning desperately needed a win on Saturday to try to remain within striking distance of the last couple playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
They also wanted a win just to remember what it felt like again.
Tampa Bay's effort in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks could go a long way in helping the Lightning turn around their season. They played with passion. They played with physicality. And they played with intelligence.
That formula will lead to more wins down the line should it continue.
What else did the Bolts do right against Anaheim?
We'll recap the highly-entertaining victory in 3 Things we learned from a shootout win over the Ducks.
Video: Cooper on Bolts earning two points
1. BROWN PROVIDES A SPARK
The Lightning and Ducks traded goals midway through the first period, the Ducks connecting first when Brandon Montour drove to the net from the right wing and fired past Bishop from the circle for the first goal of his NHL career.
Jonathan Drouin answered less than two minutes later, making something out of nothing by stopping on a dime in the offensive zone and reversing direction, cutting into the slot to find open space and firing a shot that Jonathan Bernier could do nothing about.
A minute after Drouin leveled the score, J.T. Brown leveled Joseph Cramarossa in their bout at center ice.
Cramarossa sent Brown reeling in the first five seconds of their fight, but Brown recovered in spectacular fashion, firing off a flurry of shots that popped Cramarossa's helmet off his head before getting him in a headlock and taking him down to the ice in a move that would earn a collegiate wrestler two points.
The fisticuffs fired up the AMALIE Arena crowd, and it gave a jolt to the Lightning.
"I thought J.T. Brown set the tone right away when he got in that fight tonight," Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said. "Our team was engaged."
That wouldn't be the end of the physicality. There were numerous post-whistle skirmishes between the two teams. Braydon Coburn and Corey Perry dropped the gloves later in the first period but didn't throw a punch. Brown's willingness to drop the gloves against a guy he was giving up 25 pounds, however, showed the Ducks the Lightning weren't going to be pushed around on Saturday.
Video: ANA@TBL: Drouin circles, beats Bernier with a wrister
2. NO SHOT
The Lightning started to take control of the game in the second period.
And they did it by limiting the number of looks Anaheim got at their goal.
The Ducks, in fact, didn't record a shot in the second until 1:32 remained in the period. Anaheim ended up firing off four shots against Bishop over the final minute and a half to make the shot total at least look somewhat respectable by the time the teams headed into the locker room for the second intermission.
But the Bolts effectively shut down the Ducks attack after the first period.
"I think it's just playing within our structure," Lightning center Tyler Johnson said. "I thought our D did a tremendous job in the D zone, able to get us the pucks and we were able to play in the offensive zone with it. We were just all moving together, and that's what we preach, that's what we want and it was clicking tonight."
The Bolts' stingy D continued in the final period. Anaheim scored on its first shot of the third but only got two more shots the rest of the way. The Ducks went the entire five-minute overtime without a shot on goal.
Anaheim finished with 16 total shots, tied for the lowest amount the Lightning have given up this season (also: Oct. 20 vs. Colorado in a 4-0 loss).
"We were really aggressive with the puck, and we were aggressive without the puck," Cooper said. "If you watched when they tied the game, we actually kind of sat back a little bit there, and it burned us. That was probably the only time of the game, it was about a two minute span, we were a little bit on our heels. As I said, they reset and went back to work. The more aggressive we were, the better we played."
Video: ANA@TBL: Boyle goes five-hole for eventual SO winner
3. ON THE DOT
Anaheim entered Saturday's game as the top face-off team in the NHL, winning 55.1 percent of its draws.
The Lightning, meanwhile, ranked in the bottom third of the league for face-offs in 20th place.
But after the first period, the Bolts owned a 21-7 advantage in the dot.
Anaheim rallied over the second and third periods to close the gap, but the Lightning finished with 36 face-off wins to the Ducks' 31.
"The last time we played them, they really dominated the face-off circle," Bolts forward Alex Killorn said. "Even though it's a small part of the game, it's a lot of possession. I think we were able to get a lot more possession because of it. I think the last time we played them, we played a great game, it just didn't end up our way. Tonight, I think with our shots and scoring opportunities, we put ourselves in a great position to win."
In their 2-1 overtime loss at Anaheim on January 17, the Lightning were dominated in the face-off circle, winning just 19 draws while the Ducks won 40. The Bolts attention to detail on the face-off dot on Saturday night was a big key in their 37 to 16 advantage in shots and their eventual shootout win.