For the Lightning, Saturday's game versus Anaheim can broken into two halves: the first forgettable and the second much improved.
In the end, the Bolts emerged with a 6-2 victory over the Ducks despite a sloppy start.
The Bolts took the lead late in the first period, with Brayden Point cleaning up a rebound in the crease. Jan Rutta took the initial shot from the point and Point was stationed on the doorstep to tap the puck over the line after Ryan Miller made the initial save.
Video: ANA@TBL: Point knocks in loose puck
Anaheim tied the game at one less than two minutes later as a bounce went against Tampa Bay. With the Lightning on a power play, Nikita Kucherov tried to start a breakout up the boards but had the puck deflect off a referee and right to Derek Grant who scored.
Kucherov responded with a goal of his own early in the second period. Anthony Cirelli was the hero on the play for the Bolts, forcing a turnover on the forecheck and feeding Kucherov for the shot.
Once again Tampa Bay's lead wouldn't last, as the Ducks equalized just as a power play expired less than three minutes later. With the Bolts already shorthanded and Ryan McDonagh's stick broken, Ryan Getzlaf sent a cross-ice feed to Rickard Rakell who wired a one-timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
From there on out, the Lightning were dominant, closing the game with four unanswered goals.
Point scored his second goal of the game on a power play midway through the period. Point had a step on the Ducks defensemen and fired a shot that just trickled through Miller's equipment and into the net.
The Bolts doubled their lead less than two minutes later on Pat Maroon's fifth goal of the year. As he's done so many times this season, Maroon used his size to gain position in the slot and was on hand to clean up a rebound after Miller made a save on a shot from Mikhail Sergachev.
The Lightning continued to add on with a power play goal early in the third period. Sprawled in the crease after being hit by a shot from Kucherov, Cirelli managed to force the puck over the line to push Tampa Bay's lead to three.
For good measure, Ondrej Palat added a late power play goal to round out the scoring.
Video: ANA@TBL: Palat collects puck, lifts backhanded shot
Despite a lopsided final score, Saturday's performance wasn't Tampa Bay's strongest of the season. Especially early in the game, the Bolts had issues generating sustained offensive pressure and committed too many turnovers. Anaheim ended up outshooting Tampa Bay 38-27, including a 28-13 advantage through two periods.
Following Rakell's goal, however, the Lightning managed to flip the script. Not only did the Bolts erupt to turn a tie game into a comfortable cushion, Tampa Bay was much improved defensively down the stretch. Even as the Ducks pushed men forward, the Lightning took away their scoring chances and ended up with a 14-10 shot advantage in the third period.
Vasilevskiy finished the night with 36 saves, a win and a new franchise record. The victory was the 132nd of Vasilevskiy's career, moving him past Ben Bishop into first in all-time wins.
TBL | 16:08 Brayden Point (6) - Jan Rutta, Cory Conacher
ANA | 18:00 Derek Grant (6) - Unassisted - SHG
TBL | 5:28 Nikita Kucherov (7) - Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn
ANA | 7:57 Rickard Rakell (8) - Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler
TBL | 12:39 Brayden Point (7) - Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy - PPG
TBL | 14:25 Pat Maroon (5) - Cedric Paquette, Mikhail Sergachev
TBL | 6:20 Anthony Cirelli (5) - Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman - PPG
TBL | 17:28 Ondrej Palat (7) - Kevin Shattenkirk, Yanni Gourde - PPG