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Burns: 3 Things we learned from obliterating the Rangers

Beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Lightning's 9-3 victory over the Rangers on Thursday

by Bryan Burns /

The Tampa Bay Lightning hadn't played at AMALIE Arena in 19 days when they finally came home to host the New York Rangers Thursday night.

It's like the Lightning jammed seven games worth of action into one to make up for their absence.

Tampa Bay scored four goals by the first media timeout and never looked back in a dominating 9-3 victory over the Rangers. The Lightning went 5-for-8 on the power play, didn't surrender a power-play goal to their opponent for a fourth-consecutive game and outshot New York 45-23 to improve to 9-5-2 (20 pts.) on the season.

The Bolts have won three games in a row for their longest win streak of the season to date.

"I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of just kept attacking," said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who netted the 399th goal of his career and finished with three points in the contest. "We took advantage of our power plays, and we just want to keep this thing rolling."

Tampa Bay will try to extend its win streak to four games when it hosts the Winnipeg Jets Saturday at AMALIE Arena (4 p.m. puck drop).

But before turning the page on the New York massacre, let's examine how the Lightning were able to pull off such a lopsided victory.

Video: Shattenkirk on Bolts defensive performance

Teams returning home following a long road trip often struggle to gain their footing in that first game back in their own rink, at least for a period or so.

Somebody forgot to tell the Tampa Bay Lightning they were supposed to be sluggish to start their game against the Rangers.

The Lightning scored four times in the first 6:42 of the opening period to take control of the contest before the Rangers even knew what hit them. The Bolts set a franchise record for the fastest four goals to start a game in franchise history, obliterating the old mark of 11:25 set last season against the New Jersey Devils on November 25.

The Bolts' four goals in the first 6:42 was also the sixth-fastest four goals to start a game over the last 25 years in the NHL.

"Luke Schenn's goal I think really started putting the wheels in motion for us," Kevin Shattenkirk said of the Lightning's opening goal at 2:39 on a shot from the point through traffic by Schenn for his first goal as a member of the Bolts. "Maybe the first few shifts weren't our best but a simple play like that that gets to the net and goes in kind of sparked us and told us let's start playing the way we know how, playing simple hockey and good things will come from it."

The Lightning had three days off following their second of two wins in Sweden to recover from the long flight home. They practiced Wednesday and played Thursday.

It was almost like the Lightning couldn't wait to take the ice again for a game to show their fans their improvement since the trip Sweden. 

"We haven't been home in a while and it's nice to play in front of your home crowd," said Alex Killorn, who netted a pair of power-play goals and added an assist in the win. "I think we wanted to have a better start tonight. A lot of times when you come back from a long road trip it seems like it's tough to get into these games. But we had four days and a couple good practices and we had a great start which helped out."

Video: NYR@TBL: Killorn redirects feed for power-play goal

Tampa Bay's power play has been heating up of late with three goals over the last two games.

On Thursday, that special teams unit was downright scorching.

The Lightning scored on their first four power plays of the game and finished five-for-eight overall with the man-advantage, the five power-play goals matching a franchise record for most in a game set previously on March 19, 1995 in a 6-1 win at Buffalo.

Tampa Bay is now 7-of-11 over the last two games on the power play.

"Our power play, we've been kind of producing, but we haven't had the best runs where it seems like it's kind of taken momentum out of our team," Killorn said. "But tonight, it seemed like it was clicking. Once Stammer gets shooting from over there, it's tough for teams to defend that."

The Lightning got an early 5-on-3 after going up 1-0 when Brendan Lemieux was sent to the box for cross-checking and Tony DeAngelo was hit with a slashing call before the Rangers had a chance to get a whistle on the call to Lemieux, Killorn doing a good job of not letting DeAngelo bait him into a matching minor.

"I heard the ref give DeAngelo a penalty, and once I heard that, I just got out of there as quick as possible," Killorn said. "There's no need to be a tough guy when you know you have a 5-on-3."

Just five seconds into the 5-on-3, Killorn netted the first of his two power-play goals, tipping Nikita Kucherov's shot past Rangers starting goalie Alexandar Georgiev.

With another power play remaining, Kucherov sent a wicked wrister from the top of the right circle to the top far corner past Georgiev to make it 3-0 Lightning and open the floodgates.

"Anytime you get an opportunity like that, especially at the beginning of the game, you want to take advantage because sometimes you get a 5-on-3 and you don't score, it kind of puts a damper on things," Stamkos said. "So we were able to get one, you get some touches early, you get some good mojo and we were able to take advantage of some power plays, so that kind of set the tone for the rest of the night."

Video: NYR@TBL: Gourde goes top corner on Georgiev for PPG

The Lightning weren't finished setting franchise records Thursday night.

Not by a long shot.

The nine goals scored by Tampa Bay tied the record for most goals in a single game set almost 16 years earlier to the day in a 9-0 rout of Pittsburgh on November 8, 2003.

The Lightning tallied 17 total assists, bettering the previous mark for most assists in a game of 16 set twice previously, the last time occurring last season on October 30 in an 8-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.

The six-goal margin of victory was tied for the third largest in franchise history.

"These are unique games because in this league, nobody is 9-3 better than the other," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "It's one of those nights where pucks were going in for one team. In 82 games, you're going to see one or two of these. It can be tough on both sides of it because guys are feeling it on your side and I've been on the other side as well and it's frustrating. But it's one of those, especially for us, we're trying to get a little traction and to come back and have all these road games and now to get some at home, it's good to do that in front of the home fans."

And somewhat lost in the shuffle but no less significant, Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 20 of the 23 shots he faced to earn his seventh win of the season and, more importantly, victory No. 131 for his career to tie Ben Bishop for most goalie wins all-time for the Bolts.

At just 25 years old and entering the prime of his career, Vasilevskiy is sure to add many more wins to push that total significantly higher to make it considerably more challenging for the next goalie in the line of succession to approach his mark.

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