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Lightning defeat Ducks 4-3

Palat, Cernak, Cirelli and Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay in Friday's victory over Anaheim

by Jacob Lynn @TBLightning /

The Lightning improved to 2-0-1 since the All-Star break with a 4-3 victory over the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Friday night.

A persistent forecheck by Anthony Cirelli got the Lightning on the board just over four minutes into the game. Cirelli forced a turnover behind the net and fed Ondrej Palat from below the goal line who beat John Gibson to open the scoring.

After Rickard Rakell tied the game at 8:42 of the first period, Erik Cernak, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov combined on a beautiful passing play to put Tampa Bay back in front. Kucherov left a drop feed for Point who then found Cernak streaking to the net for a tap-in goal.

Video: TBL@ANA: Cernak sends puck through Gibson's five-hole

Once again the lead wouldn't last as Michael Del Zotta scored from the high slot late in the period to make it 2-2 through 20 minutes.

It took nearly the entire second period, but the Lightning managed to grab the lead back on Cirelli's 13th goal of the year. Jan Rutta fired a shot from the right point that deflected off Cirelli in the crease and past Gibson.

The Bolts got an insurance marker midway through the third to stretch the lead to two. Kucherov was able to muscle through the check of an Anaheim defenseman and beat Gibson with a backhand shot to the glove side to make it 4-2.

Video: TBL@ANA: Kucherov slices defense, nets backhand

Troy Terry scored for the Ducks with less than a minute to play in regulation but the Lightning managed to kill off the remaining 13 seconds to secure the victory.

Tampa Bay has now won two-straight games and have collected points in four-straight dating back to the victory over Winnipeg before the bye week and All-Star break. 

Cirelli led the way for the Lightning with a goal and an assist. He also drew a key penalty that erased an Anaheim power play opportunity early in the third period when the Lightning led by just a goal.

The victory marked Andrei Vasilevskiy's 150th of his career. Vasilevskiy didn't face a ton of pressure on Friday but finished the night with 23 saves on 26 shots.

Tampa Bay is back in action on Saturday night against the Sharks in the finale of the four-game road trip.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
TBL | 4:07 Ondrej Palat (13) - Anthony Cirelli, Tyler Johnson
ANA | 8:42 Rickard Rakell (13) - Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Getzlaf
TBL | 14:43 Erik Cernak (5) - Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov
ANA | 18:29 Michael Del Zotto (2) - Unassisted

2nd Period
TBL | 18:58 Anthony Cirelli (13) - Jan Rutta, Pat Maroon

3rd Period
TBL | 10:56 Nikita Kucherov (23) - Steven Stamkos
ANA | 19:47 Troy Terry (4) - Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf

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