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Burns: 3 Things we learned from doubling up Chicago

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts' 6-3 win over the Blackhawks

by Bryan Burns /

The Tampa Bay Lightning won their first road game of 2018-19 after defeating Chicago 6-3 at the United Center Sunday night in a record-setting performance.

More on that in a moment.

The Lightning continued their recent mastery of the Blackhawks. The Bolts have now won six in a row over Chicago. They're 12-0-2 over their last 14 contests against the Blackhawks. And they're 5-0-2 in their last seven games in Chicago.

As it turns out, Chicago is as good a city as any for the Lightning to play a bounce-back game in following a tough overtime loss Saturday night in Minnesota.

Tampa Bay has a couple days off before continuing on its season-long five-game road trip at Colorado on Wednesday.

But how were the Bolts able to continue to find success in Chicago? And what was historic about the night?

We'll delve into both of those topics in 3 Things we learned from doubling up the Blackhawks.

Video: TBL@CHI: Cirelli jams away at puck and scores

According to Michael Scott from The Office (also Wayne Gretzky), you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

The Lightning certainly didn't run into that problem in Chicago.

Tampa Bay set a couple of franchise records for shot volume in the win over the Blackhawks and even established a new NHL mark. In the second period of their 6-3 win, the Bolts sent 33 shots at Chicago goaltender Cam Ward to set a league record for most shots on goal in a period by a single team since shots by period became an official NHL statistic in 1997-98, bettering the old mark of 30 set last season by Montreal and again earlier this season by Dallas. To put the Lightning's shot total in perspective, the 33 shots in the second period were more than the Bolts had in all but one game this season, that coming in the 4-1 loss to Vancouver when they had 34 shots.

The Lightning also scored three times in the middle frame at Chicago to turn a 1-1 game into a comfortable 4-1 lead.

"The more shots you get to the net and you drive downhill on those guys - not just these guys but anybody - and collecting the rebounds, everything went our way that period," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "The good thing for us we scored on some of them because it would have been really demoralizing to get shots like that and not score some goals. Everything went our way."

Tampa Bay wasn't finished rewriting the record book, however. The Lightning finished the night with 55 total shots to set a new franchise record for shots in a game. The previous high was 52 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss versus Florida on November 18, 2008.

"I thought as a team tonight, we did a good job of putting pucks through, getting pucks past their sticks, past their blocks, just getting them on net and good things happen," said Lightning center Anthony Cirelli, who finished with a team-high nine shots, which shattered his previous career high of four shots. "When you get that many shots on net, some of them are going to go in."

Indeed, the Lightning found the back of the net six times thanks to their incredible amount of shots and probably would have had more if not for some stellar goaltending from Chicago's Ward.

 Video: TBL@CHI: Domingue lays out to deny Kane

Despite Tampa Bay's dominant second period, it was a save by Louis Domingue in the first period that kept the game tied and gave the Bolts' the spark they needed to take control in the middle frame.

With the score tied 1-1 and Chicago pushing hard late in the first period on a power play, Patrick Kane got the puck all alone with the go-ahead goal on his stick.

Except Domingue went down to the ground and whipped both of his legs around like a windmill to keep the puck out of the net.

You know that hole at the putt-putt golf course with the windmill where the blade always seems to come around and block you ball from going through?

That's what Domingue looked like against Kane. Domingue's legs were the windmill blades, the puck was the golf ball and Kane was the frustrated golfer with the incredulous look on his face wondering how he didn't get that one past.

If the Lightning go into the first intermission down 2-1, maybe Sunday's outcome is different.

"You need your goalie to make saves. You have to have it," Cooper said. "It was kind of a weird period because we kind of dominated the first half and they took over and dominated the second half. You need your goalie to make a save, and that was the big save for us. He keeps the score close and then we were able to get a few goals."

Domingue, however, was his own harshest critic, saying he didn't feel sharp in the first period and especially on that save against Kane.

"From up (in the press box), the first period looked good on me, but I wasn't happy with my period," Domingue said. "I thought my feet were bad. It's really uncharacteristic of me to make saves like that. I'm a guy that keeps the game simple. That shows that my feet weren't good early on. That'll happen when you don't play often, those things are going to happen. But I found a way to make saves and come back in a tough building tied after one and the team took over."

Domingue admitted instincts took over on that stop and he basically did anything he could to keep the puck out of the net.

"It looks pretty but it's not a pretty save in a goalie's book," he said.

Domingue might not have found the beauty in his save on Kane, but he'll find his 2-0-0 record this season and 8-3-1 mark since joining Tampa Bay pleasing.

Video: Domingue on the Bolts Penalty Kill 

It took a 6-on-4 advantage late in a game the Lightning already had wrapped up and a shot that Louis Domingue initially saved but inside the net for a team to finally break through against the Lightning power play.

Tampa Bay thwarted Chicago's first three power-play opportunities to move its mark of consecutive penalty kills without allowing an opponent power-play goal to start the season to 28. That set a new franchise mark, eclipsing the old mark of 26 set at the start of the 2000-01 season.

But Chicago finally broke through late in the third period on a power play and an empty net with the Lightning up 5-3, Nick Schmaltz sending an open shot from the left circle toward goal, a shot that Domingue saved and was signaled no goal by the closest referee despite the goal horn going off. Video review showed, however, the puck had crossed the goal line while Domingue was in the process of gloving it.

"The PK had a hell of a run, and the fact that it ended on a save, it's all positives for us," Domingue said.

The Lightning are now 28-for-29 on the penalty kill. They were the last team in the NHL to give up a power-play goal this season. And their 96.5 percent success rate on the penalty kill ranks first in the league, ahead of second place Pittsburgh at 92.8 percent.

It's time for the Bolts' penalty kill to go on another run now that they've set the standard early in the season.

"I think we stick to the system," Domingue said when asked what has made the penalty kill so effective. "We did a lot of research and thinking behind it. We've got a couple good coaches that are pushing the system on us day in and day out and practice it, and then we apply it. It was a good run but there's a lot of work to do. Teams are going to look at the way we do things, and we're going to keep looking at how the other team does their own thing and keep improving."

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