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Burns: 3 Things we learned from blowing out the Devils

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts' 8-3 win over the Devils on Tuesday

by Bryan Burns /

Has there ever been a larger goal discrepancy between two Tampa Bay Lightning games as we've seen over the last four days?

Tampa Bay dismantled the New Jersey Devils 8-3 at AMALIE Arena Tuesday night, this following a 7-1 loss to Arizona on Saturday.

The Lightning certainly bounced back emphatically from a poor performance in the desert, and New Jersey was the unwitting victim.

Seven different Lightning players recorded multiple points on the night, including a career-high five point night from Brayden Point and a two-goal night by newfound sniper Braydon Coburn.

"Our big goal scorer became our savior, single-handedly got us back to even," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper joked following the game.

The Lightning have now won four games in a row at home and closed out October with an 8-2-1 record.

There was plenty to praise about the Bolts' effort against New Jersey. But what were the brightest of the bright spots?

Video: NJD@TBL: Coburn joins rush, pots second goal

If you just read the final box score and didn't watch Tuesday's game, you'd probably believe the Lightning cruised to a relatively easy win.

You would be mistaken.

In fact, there was a moment where the Lightning were almost in danger of getting blown out themselves on home ice.

The first period back after a long road trip has historically proven to be one of the more difficult periods a team will play over the course a season. The Lightning didn't expect that to be a factor tonight. After the team's morning skate, a few of the players said they'd have no trouble getting motivated for the New Jersey game after the debacle in Arizona.

Easier said than done, however.

New Jersey jumped all over the Lightning from the opening puck drop and put one in the back of the net just :61 seconds into the game. Four minutes later, Travis Zajac scored on a breakaway, and the Devils were rolling, up 2-0.

The game could have gotten away from the Lightning rather easily at that point, especially with the way New Jersey was playing.

But that's when Braydon Coburn came to the rescue.

"That was tough, because what happened to us out in the desert," Cooper said about the start. "Having a seven spot thrown at you, I thought we were pretty focused going into this game and then to have two scored on you in the first four minutes, you kind of scratch your head a little bit. The good thing is you look up and there's 56 minutes left. But Coby's answer, I think it was about two-and-a-half minutes after they made it 2-0, everything settled down for us after that."

Brayden Point fed Coburn on the left point, and Coburn fired a puck through traffic that hit the back of the net at 7:30 of the first period to get the Lightning on the board. Six minutes later, Cedric Paquette saw Coburn streaking toward the high slot and fed him with a pass in stride. Coburn calmly put another one past Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid, and the Bolts were back in business, tied 2-2.

The goals were much needed. The fact they came from the unlikely Coburn was enough to spark the Bolts' onslaught.

"To tie the game was huge…It was good to come into the period tied up," Point said. "Obviously if you go in 2-0, it's a whole different game. I think coming from any guy, its exciting. But coming from a guy who battles and blocks shots and works as hard as he does, it's another boost for sure."

 Video: NJD@TBL: Point buries loose puck in the crease

Coburn got the game back to level in the first period.

The Lightning's traditional goal scorers opened it up in the second and the third.

But it was Brayden Point's tally :31 seconds into the second period that proved too much for the Devils to overcome.

The Lightning started the second flying around the New Jersey net thanks to the Point-Tyler Johnson-Yanni Gourde line, and Point finished off the scoring opportunity by jamming Gourde's rebound past Kinkaid to give the Bolts' their first lead at 3-2.

"That was huge. Those guys were buzzing," said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who finished the night with a goal and two assists. "They each bring so much speed out there. That was a tremendous shift just hunting pucks, getting pucks to the net, obviously getting rewarded. That's a big goal anytime you can score the first minute of a period, it gives you some momentum. You could see from there on it was a pretty dominant period by our team."

Point continued to dominate the rest of the game and had himself a historic night.

The third-year center tallied four assists in addition to his goal to record the 11th five-point night in Lightning history. He established a new career high for assists and points in a game.

Oh, and don't forget, he was also part of the Lightning's shut down line tasked with stopping the Devils' reigning league MVP Taylor Hall and current New Jersey goal leader Kyle Palmieri.

Hall didn't score Tuesday night. Palmieri got his ninth marker of the season, but it came on the power play and after the Lightning had taken control of the game.

"He's been doing it for a couple years now, and he's the guy that has to face those big lines more often than not," Cooper said of Point. "It's a bonus for us that somebody, he's such a good two-way player, to be able to have that assignment of not only play a big part in shutting down the other team's big line but then to get the points he was getting on top of that, that's what makes him the player he is today. But he'll be the first to admit he's got two linemates too and they're helping him as well."

Video: NJD@TBL: Stamkos one-times Kucherov's pass for PPG

Holding a 3-2 lead in the second period and with all the momentum, the Lightning were gifted a four-minute power play when Blake Coleman was whistled for high-sticking Ryan McDonagh and drew blood.

The Lightning took full advantage.

Nikita Kucherov scored on a right circle one-timer with :06 remaining in the first minor to extend the Lightning lead to 4-2. In the process, Kucherov (151 career goals) passed Brad Richards for sole possession of fourth place among Tampa Bay's all-time goal scorers.

During the second half of the double minor, Travis Zajac took a slashing penalty, giving the Lightning over a minute of a 5-on-3 advantage.

The Bolts capitalized on the golden opportunity, Steven Stamkos netting his first power-play goal of the season on a one-timer from the top of the left circle to blow the game open and put the Bolts up 5-2.

Stamkos' tally was the 350th goal of his NHL career.

"What was great for us was the power play got going," Cooper said. "We did score that third goal early, but for the PP to get two the way they did and just our attack, our pressure we put on, I think we had 20-something shots in the second period, that can wear a team down. The power play gave our team some confidence and it carried on from there."

Once Stamkos' shot hit the back of the net, the Devils were never really a threat the rest of the way. Palmieri's power-play marker - just the third power-play goal the Lightning have given up this season - cut the Lightning lead to 5-3 going into the second intermission, but the Bolts scored three goals in a span of 2:11 early in the third period cap off the rout.

"We won the special teams," Stamkos said. "And we won the game."

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