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Burns: 3 Things from extinguishing the Flames

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 6-3 win in Calgary

by Bryan Burns /

Tampa Bay started its three-game Western Canada swing in desperate need of a victory after losing seven of its previous eight contests.

Ending the slump wouldn't be easy, however. First up on the road trip was the red-hot Calgary Flames, winners of six straight.

In the end, desperation won out.

The Lightning scored five-consecutive goals after falling behind 1-0 to earn a 6-3 victory over the Flames, matching their season-high for goals set November 1 at the New York Islanders.

The Bolts did a lot of things right against the Flames. We'll highlight the some of the more important ones in 3 Things from Calgary.

Video: Cooper on win over Calgary Flames

With Tampa Bay's penalty kill hemorrhaging goals over the last couple weeks, it was imperative the Lightning stay out of the penalty box against Calgary.

Less than three minutes into the game, however, Joel Vermin was called for holding, and 17 seconds later, Troy Brouwer, redirected a puck at the net past Ben Bishop to put the Flames up 1-0.

The Lightning could have hung their heads having seen this same scenario play out time and time again during their slump.

Vladislav Namestnikov snapped the Bolts out of their funk, though, and changed the course of the game, dropping the gloves after having enough of Sam Bennett's shenanigans.

The fight ignited the Bolts, who would go on to score twice in the first period to take control of the game.

"Great job by Vladdy, right by the bench and standing up for himself," said Brian Boyle, who scored the first two goals for the Bolts. "Also, you know, kind of the way things are going for us, maybe it was a message from Vladdy that we're not going to get pushed around."

Namestnikov hasn't scored a goal since November 14, but he's finding other ways to make an impact, as evidenced by his inspiring fight against the Flames.

"I think it was huge," Bolts forward Alex Killorn said. "If you look at the way the game changed after that, it was definitely a momentum-shifter."

 Video: TBL@CGY: Coburn rips a slap shot past Johnson

The Lightning haven't gotten a lot of scoring from their defensemen this season. Victor Hedman (5) and Nikita Nesterov (2) are the only Bolts blueliners with multiple goals coming into Calgary.

On Wednesday, the Bolts saw Braydon Coburn and Andrej Sustr each light the lamp for the first time this season, and both goals were instrumental in the victory.

Coburn sent a shot from the point through traffic about five minutes into the second period that eluded Calgary goaltender Chad Johnson to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-1 and create some distance from the Flames.

Sustr got in on the scoring with the second period winding down, using a screen from Brian Boyle to put a puck in the back of the net from the point.

Sustr's goal proved to be the game-winner, the second of his career.

"I tell you what it does, it really lifts the guys on the bench because, I don't know, guys are really pulling for those guys," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said about the unlikely contributions. "You can just tell, there's just a weight off their shoulders because it makes them feel part of things. It was a total team effort tonight. You're missing, (Kucherov) is out, and we lost Palat early in the second period and obviously Stamkos is out, you need to get goals from somebody, and when you're getting them from everybody, it was a confidence builder for us. It was really good to see."


Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman played in his 500th career NHL game on Wednesday.

The Swede made sure No. 500 was a memorable one.

Hedman assisted on three of the Bolts' six goals, recording his first three-point night of the season and first of the regular season since the last time the Bolts were in Western Canada (Jan. 8, 2016 at Edmonton).

Hedman entered Calgary needing just two points to reach 250 career points in the league.

He had the mark less than 14 minutes into the game.

Hedman ended a three-game scoring drought in a big way on Wednesday. He now has 17 assists on the season, tying him for the Lightning team lead with Nikita Kucherov, who did not play in Calgary because of a lower-body injury.
Hedman now needs just two points to tie Dan Boyle (253 career points) for most all-time points by a Lightning defenseman.

The way Hedman's playing of late, he'll like own the record by the time the team returns to Tampa on Sunday.

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