Here are the takeaways from this Lightning blowout win, one in which they matched the franchise record for goals in a game (9) and power play goals in a game (5).
- Teams sometimes struggle in the first game back home after a long road trip. That didn't happen to the Lightning, who came storming out of the gates and built a 4-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old. They were skating well, passing crisply, and defending hard. By the time Ondrej Palat netted the fourth Lightning goal at 6:42 of the first, the Lightning were outshooting the Rangers, 9-0. While there was still a lot of hockey to be played after the four-goal outburst, the Lightning had set the game's narrative - one in which they'd be playing with a big lead.
- The Lightning's power play was lights-out. They scored on their first four opportunities and finished the game going 5-8 on the man advantage. The Rangers took two penalties at 5:36 of the first, putting the Lightning on a two-minute five-on-three. But they didn't need all two minutes to convert on both ends of the two-man advantage. The Lightning won an offensive zone faceoff win to begin the five-on-three. Five seconds later, Nikita Kucherov took a shot that Alex Killorn deflected in. The quick and early goal helped their confidence, which grew with each successive power play goal. They had a shooting mentality, firing 15 shots on goal during their power play chances. And a consistent net-front presence - both of Killorn's power play goals in the game came on tips.
- Those early four goals were a big key. So was a stretch in the middle part of the second period. The Rangers had scored late in the first, cutting the deficit to three. Had New York netted the next goal (making it 4-2), the game might have followed a different trajectory. Instead, the Lightning extended the lead during this second period segment. Steven Stamkos tallied a power play goal at 7:07. On the next shift, the Lightning took a penalty. But they killed it off, preserving the 5-1 lead. Then, less than a minute after getting back to full strength, the Lightning added a sixth goal.
- That sixth goal came from Pat Maroon. His line, with Cedric Paquette and Yanni Gourde, followed up their excellent weekend in Stockholm with another strong game. They were on the ice for two even-strength tallies (goals six and seven) - the line contributed four points.
- These blowout games are the exception, not the rule. It's not always easy to maintain a laser-like focus when playing with such a big lead. And it's true that the Lightning's coverage wasn't as tight as the evening progressed. But as a whole, they managed the game well after building the large early advantage.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Alex Killorn - Lightning. Two goals and assist.
- Nikita Kucherov - Lightning. Goal and three assists.
- Kevin Shattenkirk - Lightning. Goal and assist.