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Burns: 3 Things from beating the Hurricanes

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes

by Bryan Burns /

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't get off to a good start against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

The third period was "pretty much a fire drill" according to head coach Jon Cooper.

Yet, the Lightning still found a way to win 5-1 on the road against a good team and improve to 8-1-1 on the season, their eight wins and 17 points both league bests.

"We got away with one here, but good teams find a way to win," Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman said following the closer-than-the-score-would-indicate victory.

Tampa Bay, we're finding out with each outing, is a pretty good team.


 Video: TBL@CAR: Vasilevskiy denies Staal on one-timer


Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was the first star in Tuesday's win.

In reality, he could have been first, second and third star following another MVP-like performance.

When the Lightning were slow to the starting gate and needed a few minutes to get into the game, Vasilevskiy was there to keep the game scoreless.

And when the Bolts were under siege for much of the third period, Carolina generating scoring chance after scoring chance and the game-tying goal seemed inevitable, Vasilevskiy made sure the Lightning never surrendered the lead.

"Obviously, 5-1 wasn't very indicative of the game," Lightning center Steven Stamkos said. "It was a 2-1 game. It was tight-checking, and Vasy played great. If you ask anyone in this room, he's one of the best in the world. We're happy he's on our team, and he's a big reason why we've started the way we have."

Vasilevskiy improved to 8-1-0 on the season, the eight victories most in the NHL. He's currently on a seven-game win streak.

Want to know why the Lightning are the hottest team in the league to start the season?

Look no further than the man in the Bolts' net.

 Video: TBL@CAR: Sergachev deposits Stamkos' feed by Darling


No other Lightning player in history has put up more points through the first 10 games of a season than Steven Stamkos.

The Tampa Bay captain picked up two more assists, giving him 20 points (3 goals, 17 assists) on the season to set a new franchise mark.

Whose record did he eclipse?

Well, that would be Steven Stamkos, who had 19 points to start the 2010-11 season (9 goals, 10 assists).

Stamkos, it seems, just can't be stopped so far this season, even during what he called an off night.

"Especially our line, I didn't think we played very well tonight," he said. "But we'll look to improve in the next one."

Stamkos continues to lead the NHL for scoring. On Tuesday, he registered his fifth-consecutive multi-point game, matching a career best he set during the 2009-10 season.

Stamkos is currently on pace for his finest season as a pro.

And just think, some wondered if a knee injury that ended his 2016-17 season after just 17 games would prevent Stamkos from ever getting back to his pre-injury level.

He's more than answered those questions and then some with his start to 2017-18.

Video: TBL@CAR: Callahan seals win with empty-netter


The Lightning were pretty much hanging on for the duration of the third, Carolina cutting into the Bolts' advantage after scoring 3:28 into the final period.

The Canes continued to attack the Bolts' net throughout the third, searching for the game-tying goal. They nearly found it on a couple of occasions if not for the steady play of Vasilevskiy in net.

While continuing to control the action at 5-on-5, though, Carolina inexplicably pulled its goalie with about three minutes to go.

Tampa Bay took full advantage, Vladislav Namestnikov scoring on the empty net about 20 seconds later to wrap up the victory.

Ryan Callahan added an empty-net marker - his first goal and point of the season - for good measure.

"It's great that we got the two points," Cooper said. "As a coach, you're happy with that, but in the end, you just can't keep playing like that down the stretch, not that we have. We've played pretty well the last few weeks here, but we let them back into it and we gave them momentum. We were fortunate to get those empty-netters or who knows what would have happened."

Carolina probably should have gone another minute, minute-and-a-half before pulling goalie Scott Darling for the extra attacker. The way the Hurricanes were dominating play in the third, they had a better chance of scoring the tying goal 5-on-5 than giving the Lightning a giant empty-net target to shoot at for three minutes.

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