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Burns: 3 Things we learned from drilling the Oilers

Bryan Burns on Gourde getting hot, Bolts showing off their depth and another stellar defensive performances

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

Tampa Bay tied a franchise record for home wins after collecting its 10th-consecutive win at AMALIE Arena following a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night.

The streaks don't end there, however, for the Lightning.

The Bolts have won nine in a row overall and are one win away from matching the franchise record for longest win streak set last season and again earlier this season.

The Lightning have collected points in 11-straight games. They still have some work to do to match their all-time record of 18 games from 2003-04 in this category. 

Tampa Bay extended its perfect run against Pacific Division teams to 10 games this season and has won 13 in a row over the Pacific dating back to last season.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29-of-30 shots to win his seventh-consecutive game and push his franchise record goalie point streak to 20 games (18-0-2). He's getting closer to Pete Peeters' NHL record 27-game point streak from the 1979-80 season.

And Brayden Point made it nine games in a row with an assist and point with the helper on Cedric Paquette's game-clinching empty-net goal with 56 seconds remaining. Point set new career marks for an assist and point streak Thursday and now owns the second-longest assist streak in the NHL this season, three games shy of Brad Marchand's 12-game streak from the first month of the season.

Here's how the Bolts kept all their streaks alive and continue pushing toward the top spot in the NHL standings.

Video: EDM@TBL: Gourde roofs shot on breakaway for SHG

The proverbial weight was lifted off the back of Yanni Gourde when he scored his overtime game winner Tuesday night in Pittsburgh to send the Lightning to a 2-1 victory.

Now, the goals are coming in bunches for the 28-year-old forward.

Gourde scored his second goal in as many games Thursday against Edmonton, intercepting a puck at the blue line on a penalty kill and racing the other way to pull away from Oscar Klefbom for a breakaway, depositing the puck over the blocker of Oilers goalie Mike Smith to put the Lightning back in front 2-1 moments after Edmonton tied the game.

Gourde's goal held up as the game-winner, his second-consecutive game-winning goal and fifth of the season.

Following the win, Gourde said ending his 35-game goal drought in Pittsburgh has given him a lot of confidence.

"It definitely helps having that goal out of the way," he said. "I think I was really focused the past weeks and month how I could really help this team win. I knew I wasn't going to score every night and literally I was not scoring at all and I was just trying my best to help this team win by playing hard to play against, finishing my hits, getting to the front of the net, getting in traffic, playing on the PK. Those are little things I've got to bring every single night, and I just kept thinking all those things."

Gourde never waivered in his approach to the game, even when the puck wasn't going in the back of the net for him. He remained a relentless player on the ice, making life difficult for the opposition while setting up his linemates Carter Verhaeghe and Mitchell Stephens for scoring chances.

Now he's being rewarded for his tireless effot.

"Yanni's been really, really consistent for us these last 20, 30 games," Pat Maroon said. "He's not scoring, but he's being physical. He's being hard to play against. He's getting to the dirty areas. Unfortunately, that's how the game works. Sometimes the bounces don't go your way and that's the nature of the business. You're going to go through times where it stinks playing this game, but he kept his head up high. He's been working so hard, and he's a guy that takes pride in scoring in this league. He scored back-to-back 20-goal seasons in this league for a reason. He's got that scoring touch. He's been working very hard in games. He's being heavy, winning puck battles, getting opportunities to score. We knew it was going to come."

Video: EDM@TBL: Maroon banks shot off Smith from tough angle

No scoring leader Nikita Kucherov.

No captain Steven Stamkos.

No Selke candidate Anthony Cirelli.

No problem for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay didn't miss a beat in the 3-1 win over Edmonton, even though it was without three of its top forwards, plus defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Jan Rutta, who remain week-to-week with lower-body injuries.

The Bolts just plug in a new player, rinse, wash and repeat.

On Thursday, Cameron Gaunce made his season debut. A defenseman by trade, Gaunce played as a forward instead against Edmonton and registered an assist on Pat Maroon's game-opening goal at 4:39, Maroon collecting a rebound behind the net and banking it in off the back of the legs of Smith.

Luke Schenn also got an assist on the play. After playing just twice since December 21, Schenn has skated in the last four games in place of the injured McDonagh. Against Edmonton, he provided the second assist on Maroon's scoring play for his first helper of the season and he remained a physical presence in the Lightning's own end.

Braydon Coburn has been solid and efficient filling in for Jan Rutta. Mathieu Joseph made his return to the Lightning in Columbus and filled a second-line role versus the Oilers. And Alexander Volkov saw his first action since January 16, registering a team-high three takeaways.

No matter who the Lightning insert in their lineup of late, they're able to play within the team's structure and contribute to their success. Bolts head coach Jon Cooper often says it's not the 23 on your roster that are going to win a Stanley Cup, it's the 30 or so players who you'll need throughout the season that help you achieve your ultimate goal.

Right now, the Bolts' 30 are getting the job done, even with injuries hitting the Lightning hard of late.

Video: Cooper on Bolts 3-1 victory over Oilers

Another saying of Cooper's? If you only give up two goals or less, you're giving yourself a chance to win the game.

The Lightning have given up two or less goals in seven-consecutive games now following the 3-1 win over Edmonton. The Bolts have won all seven of those games.

In fact, in games this season where the Lightning give up two or fewer, they've gone a perfect 27-0-0.

Tampa Bay has held its opponents to three or less goals in every game since the calendar turned to 2020, a stretch of 20-straight games. The Lightning are 17-2-1 in those games.

"You don't want to be in a situation where you're trying to score your way out of games," Cooper said. "You've got to defend to win games. It's something that I think our guys have really attached themselves to, and they take pride in it. It's something we've been working on from training camp on. I know it wasn't pretty early on, but we had to go through some growing pains and fortunately for us it's clicking now for us. And then when we do break down, goaltending's been there for us."

The Lightning are limiting the number of quality scoring chances against to basically nothing. They're not giving up the middle of the ice and making it hard for teams to get inside of them. They're clearing rebounds from in front of their net before the opposition can cash in on them. They're turning the puck over less. The penalty kill remains one of the strongest units in the NHL. And Andrei Vasilevskiy has been absolutely stellar, his play over the last couple months maybe the best of his career.

Add it all up and the Lightning have been the NHL's stingiest team defensively in 2020, allowing a League low 1.65 goals per game since January 1.

"We're manning up and we're focusing on how we're going to play good defense every night and how we're going to break out fast and how it's alright to get pucks out at the blue line, it's alright to get pucks in at the blue line, little things like that," Maroon said. "I think that goes a long way, and I think it leads into our game. We know we have offense. We know we can hem teams in when we need to. We know we can hurt teams off the rush, but I think with that being said you've got to defend. Once you defend, it leads into good offense."

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