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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Bruins 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over Boston on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Congratulations to the Lightning, who won their 62nd game and tied the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most victories in an NHL regular season. And congrats to Nikita Kucherov. With a goal and an assist today, he posted 128 points, the most-ever by a Russian player in the NHL.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 3, Maple Leafs 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 3-1 victory over Toronto on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Compared to Tuesday's performance against Montreal, this was a vast improvement for the Lightning. Heading into this contest, Lightning players stated that they wanted to a) bring a higher compete level and b) play better team defense. They can check both of those boxes. Despite the fact that this necessarily wasn't a high-intensity contest (both teams are locked into their respective playoff positions), the Lightning did compete hard and defended well.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Canadiens 4, Lightning 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-2 loss to the Canadiens on Tuesday

by Dave Mishkin

This was going to be a challenging game for the Lightning. They were playing the second half of a back-to-back against an opponent fighting for a playoff spot. Montreal's desperation level far exceeded the Lightning's and it showed in how the game unfolded.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Senators 2

Bolts radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-2 win over Ottawa on Monday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was an excellent bounce-back performance for the Lightning, who improved to 17-1-1 after a loss. Here are some key takeaways.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Capitals 6, Lightning 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-3 loss to Washington on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was a rare clunker for the Lightning.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Bruins 4

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 5-4 victory over the Bruins on Monday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Certainly, for the Lightning and their fans, this was an exciting, emotional, satisfying comeback win against a heated rival. It also included a four-point night for Steven Stamkos, who eclipsed 40 goals and 90 points in the process. It was Stamkos' fifth career 40-plus goal season and first since the 2014-15 campaign.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Blues 4, Lightning 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-3 loss to the Blues on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Here are the takeaways from this "almost" comeback for the Lightning.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Hurricanes 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over Carolina on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Through the first two periods of this contest, the Lightning looked like a team that had played a tough game the night before in Washington. They didn't have their usual jump and weren't able to produce much of an attack.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Capitals 4 - OT

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-4 overtime win over the Capitals on Wednesday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Before getting into the details of this game, a quick mention of some statistical notables from the Lightning's victory in Washington. The win was the team's 26th road triumph of the regular season - a new franchise record. Nikita Kucherov netted two power play goals, setting the franchise mark for most power play points in a regular season (47). The Lightning allowed 58 shots, the most they've ever allowed in a regular season game. Andrei Vasilevskiy's 54 saves are the most by a Lightning goalie in a regular season game.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 4, Coyotes 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 4-1 win over Arizona on Monday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Obviously, this was a milestone night on two fronts.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Capitals 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over Washington

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Heading into this contest, the first of the season between the teams since they met in last year's Eastern Conference Final, the Lightning had already clinched a playoff berth. The Caps occupied first place in the Metropolitan Division and are well on their way to securing a postseason berth. So this game, #72 in the regular season for both clubs, wasn't necessarily overly significant in terms of the playoff race (although the Caps would very much like to hold off the Islanders and Penguins and finish first in their division). But the temperature of this one was much higher than in your garden-variety regular season game. There was a playoff-like intensity to it - there was plenty of hitting and the game featured some big momentum swings.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Red Wings 4

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-4 win over the Red Wings on Thursday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning overcame a sleepy start and some isolated defensive miscues to rally for their 15th consecutive win over Detroit. Here is how the game unfolded.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Maple Leafs 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-2 win in Toronto on Monday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Similar to their game on Saturday against Detroit, the Lightning thoroughly dominated play. The big difference between that contest and this one, of course, was that their opponent on Monday was the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team near the top of the NHL standings. 

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 3, Red Wings 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 3-2 win over the Red Wings on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

As the regular season winds down, Lightning players and coaches have talked about the need to keep working on their game. They want it to be "playoff-ready."

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Wild 3, Lightning 0

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recap's Tampa Bay's 3-0 loss to Minnesota

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Tip your cap to the Minnesota Wild. They delivered an A-plus defensive performance. Their puck management was nearly flawless, their positional play was solid, their d-zone coverage was air-tight. Protecting the second wildcard position in the West, they played with desperation and a sky-high compete level.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Jets 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-2 win over the Jets last night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The first meeting between these teams was a wide-open, high-scoring affair, a contest in mid-December that featured nine combined goals and 89 shots. As entertaining as that game was, the Lightning wanted a tighter defensive performance in the rematch. This desire dovetailed with their eagerness to improve on some sloppy play that had crept into their defensive game in recent contests.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Senators 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-1 win over Ottawa on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

First, the positives from this win. The Lightning made some creative plays in the offensive zone, sequences that led to dangerous chances and goals. The Lightning's defensemen were integrally involved in the offense. All six d-men contributed points and, for the first time in franchise history, four different defensemen netted goals. On three of those plays, the defensemen - Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak - moved in from the point and scored goals well inside the blue line.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Bruins 4, Lightning 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 4-1 loss to Boston on Thursday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

First of all, high marks to the Boston Bruins, who played an excellent game. They look dialed-in as a team and, in winning this contest, extended their points streak to 15 games (11-0-4). They defended hard and effectively in front of their goalie. At the same time, they repeatedly attacked the Lightning's end with speed and owned most of the puck possession time.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 4, Rangers 3 - OT

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-3 overtime victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Overall, this was not a crisp performance for the Lightning. After a strong first period in which they built a 2-0 lead, they found themselves back on their heels during the final 40 minutes of regulation. But they navigated their way into overtime and Victor Hedman's winning tally gave the Lightning their 10th consecutive victory, a new franchise record.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 4, Kings 3 - SO

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-3 shootout victory over Los Angeles

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

With this victory, the Lightning not only tied a franchise record by winning their ninth game in a row, they became just the fourth club in NHL history to reach 100 points in 63 games or less. But it wasn't easy. They surrendered a two-goal third period lead and had to rally just to force overtime. Then in the shootout's third round, they needed a goal from Nikita Kucherov and a save from Andrei Vasilevskiy to extend the game. They got both - and eventually secured the win in the next round.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 2, Sabres 1 - SO

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 2-1 shootout victory over Buffalo last night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The first period of this game was a slow, plodding, deliberate affair, with lots of stops and starts. By the third period, it had morphed into an intense, emotional, physical, nasty contest. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point met that physical challenge by standing up for themselves against Buffalo's Rasmus Ristolainen and Jeff Skinner. Also notable was how well both teams defended in front of their goalies and how both netminders, when tested, produced terrific saves. In the end, it came down to the shootout, during which the Lightning got goals from Steven Stamkos and Kucherov along with two saves from Andrei Vasilevskiy. The victory was their eighth consecutive win.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Flyers 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-2 win over the Flyers last nigt

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning used an excellent start to build a 3-0 lead and defended well throughout the night to pick up their seventh consecutive win.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Blue Jackets 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on Monday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was a tale of three different periods. In the first, the Blue Jackets dominated play. But thanks to Andrei Vasilevskiy's 20 first period saves and two Nikita Kucherov goals on in-alone chances, the Lightning came out of that period with a 2-0 lead. The second period was much more even, as the Lightning tightened up their game. Eventually, they broke the game open when they cashed in for three goals in a 1:15 span from the end of the second through the beginning of the third. They scored on both ends of a five-on-three power play and added another goal on next shift back at five-on-five. Up 5-0 with over 19 minutes remaining, the Lightning managed the rest of the game well, limiting Columbus' scoring chances. Unfortunately, Vasilevskiy didn't complete what would have been his third consecutive shutout, but that late goal for Columbus had no effect on the outcome.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 3, Canadiens 0

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 3-0 win over Montreal on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Through two periods, this was not only a scoreless game, it was one in which both teams were defending tightly and limiting opposition scoring chances. Then, early in the third, Nikita Kucherov scored to break the tie. That goal changed the complexion of the game. The Lightning dominated the final period - they owned an overwhelming puck possession advantage and nearly doubled their shot total from the first two periods combined. At the same time, they maintained their strong defensive play, holding Montreal to just four shots and nine shot attempts.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Stars 0

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 6-0 win over the Stars last night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Thanks to a four-goal first period outburst, the Lightning broke this game open early. Then, as Ondrej Palat noted during a postgame interview on Lightning Radio, the Lightning "played the right way" all the way to the end and the Stars weren't able to chip away at the Lightning's advantage.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Flames 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over Calgary

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The Calgary Flames not only are one of the top teams in the league, they also feature - like the Lightning - a dynamic offense. Those two octane offenses were on full display in the first meeting between the clubs, a wide-open affair in Calgary on December 20. That game contained lots of shots and scoring chances for both clubs - it ended up being a 5-4 shootout win for the Lightning.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Panthers 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-2 win over Florida on Sunday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This game had three distinct chapters, one for each period. The Lightning dominated play in the first, owning the vast majority of the puck possession and building a 1-0 lead. The script flipped in the second, as the Panthers controlled play and held the Lightning to just three shots. But each team scored twice in the frame, so the Lightning maintained a one-goal lead after two. Then, in the third, following Brayden Point's early power play goal, the Lightning closed out the game well, snuffing out any potential Florida comeback bid.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Penguins 4

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-4 win over the Penguins on Saturday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Here are the key takeaways from this Lightning victory, their 40th of the regular season.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Blues 1, Lightning 0 - OT

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 1-0 overtime loss to the Blues last night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Similar to the Lightning's shootout loss against Vegas on Tuesday, this was a low-scoring contest that went into overtime. One in which the opponent emerged victorious, so the Lightning settled for just one point. Compared to Tuesday night, however, the Bolts played a much cleaner game, especially as this one progressed. 

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Golden Knights 3, Lightning 2 - SO

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 3-2 shootout loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was not an especially crisp performance for the Lightning. Specifically, they struggled with their puck management. That was certainly on display in overtime, when the Lightning, during the time in which they weren't shorthanded, repeatedly mismanaged pucks and ceded possession time to Vegas. Sloppy puck management plagued their game during much of regulation as well. As a result, the Lightning had difficulty getting into any kind of offensive rhythm. 

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 3, Rangers 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 3-2 win over the Rangers

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

There were some circumstantial elements working against the Lightning for this game. They were playing the second half of a back-to-back against a rested opponent. They were coming off a hard-fought, emotional contest on Friday against the Islanders, a game that went into overtime and a shootout. Additionally, they were without Brayden Point, who was out with a lower body injury.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 1, Islanders - SO

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 1-0 shootout win over the Islanders on Friday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was not only a spectacular goaltending duel, it was an exciting heavyweight battle between two of the top teams in the league. Andrei Vasilevskiy and Thomas Greiss combined to make 77 saves through regulation and overtime. In the end, only one puck went into the net - Victor Hedman's goal in Round One of the shootout. Here are some of the key takeaways …

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Penguins 4, Lightning 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-2 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Heading into this contest, there was a lot of speculation about how the Lightning would handle the start. After all, they were playing their first game after the bye week and All-Star Break, while the Penguins already had a game under their belt. As it turned out, the Lightning did quite well in a number of areas in that first period. They displayed a high compete level, played physically, skated well, forechecked hard and owned the vast majority of the puck possession. But they also had some issues with turnovers and coverage. Three of those errors led to Grade-A scoring chances for Pittsburgh and the Penguins converted on all of them. By the 8:21 mark of the first, the Lightning were trailing, 3-0.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Sharks 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 6-3 win over the Sharks on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Here are some of the key elements that led to this Lightning victory:

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

In some ways, this contest was a mirror image of the first meeting between the clubs, a 4-1 Lightning victory on December 13. In both contests, the winning goalie delivered an outstanding performance. In the first game, Andrei Vasilevskiy tied a Lightning regular season franchise record by making 48 saves. Tonight, it was Frederik Andersen's turn to shine. He stopped 36 of 38 Lightning shots.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 2, Stars 0

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 2-0 victory over Dallas

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

As was the case in some recent Lightning games against Columbus and Carolina, the Lightning had issues with puck management, so the other team enjoyed a stretch of extended puck possession time. But similar to those other contests, the Lightning defended fairly well without the puck, so the opposition wasn't able to translate the possession advantage into lots of shots, scoring chances or goals. The Stars owned most of the puck possession in the second and third periods, but the Lightning limited the number of Dallas' dangerous looks. Andrei Vasilevskiy took care of the Grade-A chances that the Stars did generate. That possession time for Dallas was helped by six power play chances, all of which occurred in the second half of the game. But just like how they handled the five-on-five situations, the Lightning did a pretty good job of keeping their PK structure and denying open chances. And Vasilevskiy stopped all 10 of Dallas' power play shots.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Islanders 5, Lightning 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-1 loss to the Islanders

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

In each of their last two games, the Lightning did not have a particularly strong first period. Those starts ultimately didn't hurt them and they ended up beating both Carolina and Buffalo. Tonight was a different story, as the Lightning's sluggish start proved to be very costly. The Islanders tallied three goals in the opening five minutes and the Lightning saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Sabres 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday night

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Here are my key takeaways from this Lightning victory, their 16th consecutive triumph against an Eastern Conference opponent.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 3, Hurricanes 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 3-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

For much of this contest, the Lightning struggled to get into any kind of rhythm. First, the Hurricanes effectively bottled up in the Lightning, particularly in the neutral zone and the Carolina defensive end. Second, the Lightning looked a bit flat and weren't executing with the puck as crisply as they normally do. As a result, they had difficultly stringing together clean passes and enjoying extended offensive zone shifts.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 4, Blue Jackets 0

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 4-0 win over Columbus on Tuesday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Here are the key takeaways from the Lightning's shutout win over Columbus:

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Sharks 5, Lightning 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-2 loss to the Sharks

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Well, all good things eventually come to an end. The Lightning saw their 16-game point streak come to an end with this loss to the Sharks, who delivered a strong, defensive performance.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Kings 2

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-2 win over LA

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The big turning point in this game occurred early in the first period, when the Lightning converted on back-to-back five-on-three power play chances and built a 2-0 lead. For the rest of the first period, the Lightning thoroughly dominated play and added a third goal before the frame ended. A fourth goal came in the opening minute of the second. Then, over the final 39 and a half minutes, the Lightning managed the game well. The Kings made strong pushes at different points, but the Lightning navigated their way through those moments and kept LA's scoring chances to a minimum. It was a solid win for the Lightning, who extended their point streak to 16 consecutive games (15-0-1).

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Kings 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-2 win over Los Angeles on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com
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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Canadiens 5

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-5 win over Montreal on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

For the vast majority of the first two periods, the Montreal Canadiens decisively carried play. They owned most of the puck possession and enjoyed an advantage in shots, shot attempts, scoring chances and goals. But the Lightning reversed the script in the third and used their strong final period to rally for a regulation win.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Flyers 5 - OT

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 6-5 overtime win over the Flyers

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

I guess we should just expect wild and crazy games when the Lightning and Flyers meet. For the second time this year between the clubs, the Flyers rallied from a big third period deficit to tie the game at five and force overtime. Then in the OT, the Lightning prevailed.

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Burns: 3 Things we learned from outlasting Philly

Beat writer Bryan Burns recaps Tampa Bay's 6-5 overtime win over Philadelphia

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Well, where do we start with this one.

Tampa Bay played almost a carbon copy of its first meeting against Philadelphia Thursday night at AMALIE Arena in the opening game from the Holiday Break.

In both games, the Lightning scored five goals through two periods and established a multiple-goal lead.

In both games, the Flyers stormed back in the third period in quick-strike fashion to tie the game, leaving the Bolts bewildered at how a seemingly comfortable victory was suddenly in danger of slipping away.

And in both games, the Lightning rebounded in overtime to bank two more points.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Oilers 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over the Oilers on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

What a road trip this was for the Lightning. They went 3-0-1 over the four games and are now on an 11-0-1 point streak, the third-longest in franchise history. Here are the takeaways from this victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Flames 4 - SO

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-4 shootout win over the Flames on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Similar to the game in Winnipeg last Sunday, this was a very exciting, edge-of-your-seat contest between two of the top teams in the league. Unlike Sunday's game, which also went past 60 minutes, the Lightning were able to prevail.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Canucks 2

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-2 win over Vancouver on Tuesday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

With this victory, the Lightning improved their record to 8-1 in games after a loss. Here are the key takeaways from their win in Vancouver.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Jets 5, Lightning 4 - OT

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 5-4 overtime loss to the Jets on Sunday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was a highly entertaining, exciting game between two of the top teams in the league. The fact that the Lightning weren't able to bank a second point (and extend their winning streak to what would have been a franchise-record-tying nine straight games) doesn't diminish how well they played for much of the night. Especially in the second half of the game.

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Mishkin's Musings: The Bolts are imposing their will on the opposition

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin on the Lightning's dominant start to this season

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning have stormed out of the gates this season, amassing a league-leading 51 points in their first 33 games. That number eclipses last year's record-setting pace by one point (the 2017-18 Bolts had 50 points after 33 games). It's not just the point total that's been eye-popping, though. It's how they've done it.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

In simple terms, this was a goalie win for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who tied a franchise regular season record with 48 saves, delivered a virtuoso performance and was the main reason why the Lightning were able to win their eighth consecutive game. Certainly, there were other factors that contributed to the triumph. But Vasilevskiy, playing his first game in over a month, stole the show.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Rangers 3

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 6-3 win over the Rangers

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

In their 7-1 victory over Colorado on Saturday, the Lightning delivered one of their most complete performances of the regular season. This one wasn't as complete - Jon Cooper conceded that there were "holes in our game" - but the Lightning still prevailed, winning their seventh straight.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 7, Avalanche 1

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Lightning's 7-1 win over the Avalanche on Saturday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning entered this game as the top point team in the East. The Avalanche were tied with Nashville for the most points in the West. In a matchup between these Conference-leading clubs, the Lightning won a laugher.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 3, Bruins 2

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 3-2 win over the Bruins on Thursday

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was a game of big momentum swings in which one team dominated play for long stretches. It was also a contest in which both clubs forechecked effectively in the offensive zone and, conversely, struggled with turnovers in the defensive zone. In the end, the Lightning emerged victorious because they broke a 1-1 tie with two goals early in the third during one of their strong segments. The Bruins got one back late in the frame, but thanks to some strong saves from Louis Domingue in the closing minutes, the Lightning won their fifth straight game.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Red Wings 5 - SO

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 6-5 shootout victory over the Red Wings

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Here are the key takeaways from one of the more memorable games so far this season.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Devils 1

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-1 win over the Devils

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

This was a solid, workmanlike victory for the Lightning. They withstood an early surge from the opposition, built a multi-goal lead before the end of the first period, then effectively managed the final 40 minutes to secure a regular season series sweep of the Devils.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Panthers 4 - OT

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 5-4 overtime victory over the Panthers

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Down 4-1 halfway through the game, the Lightning rallied with four unanswered goals. That's the big storyline from this contest, but it wasn't the only one.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Sabres 4

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps Tampa Bay's 5-4 win over Buffalo

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The fans at Amalie Arena were treated to an entertaining, seesaw contest that featured multiple lead changes and playoff-type intensity. Thanks to a late third period Cedric Paquette tally, the Lightning were able to prevail and end the Sabres' 10-game winning streak. Here are some of the key takeaways.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Ducks 3, Lightning 1

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 3-1 loss to the Ducks

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Give high marks to the Anaheim Ducks, who played a magnificent game tonight. Their positional play was sound, they were effective with their sticks defensively, they greatly limited turnovers, they were hard on pucks and they used their size and strength to enjoy long, sustained shifts in the offensive zone.

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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 5, Devils 2

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin recaps the Bolts' 5-2 win over the Devils

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

As they did in the first two games in the homestand, the Lightning again jumped out to a big, early lead and made it stand up. Similar to Friday's contest against Chicago, the Lightning netted four first period goals and took a 4-1 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes. But the two periods weren't identical. Against the 'Hawks, the Lightning dominated puck possession in the opening frame, posted 19 shots and applied relentless pressure. In terms of possession time, this first period was more evenly played. The Lightning outshot the Devils, 11-10, while the Devils actually had an edge in shot attempts, 20-14. But what was similar between the two first periods (besides the score) was the Lightning's ability to execute high-skill plays and finish Grade-A scoring chances. The line of Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov continues to sizzle - they teamed up on a brilliant passing sequence that resulted in Johnson's goal. Kucherov also set up Point during a first period power play for a goal from the slot. Two other lines also contributed first period goals - Mathieu Joseph's speed on the forecheck forced a turnover from New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider and Alex Killorn banked a shot off Schneider as the netminder was scrambling back into the crease. And the Cedric Paquette line added another goal - Paquette scored from the slot shortly after the Devils had gotten on the board.

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