5 Takeaways from Tampa Bay’s 3-2 Win over New Jersey

Not too often do you find yourself with four days off in between games in the National Hockey League, but that was the latest test thrown the way of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thursday’s meeting with the New Jersey Devils got off to a bit of a slow start for the Lightning but they were able to come into form on the way to their third straight win on home ice.

Another challenge now is being without Nikita Kucherov for a couple games after entering the NHL’s COVID protocol. Anthony Cirelli slid up to the top line with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. Cirelli would go on to score the game winning goal for Tampa Bay with less than ten minutes to go in the game to push the Lightning to a 3-2 win.

Let’s break down what happened.

1. Any Way you Want

All three Lightning goals on Thursday night came in different ways. They scored a powerplay goal, a shorthanded goal and an even strength goal. The special teams proved to be the difference maker as Tampa Bay was +1 on the night in the special teams’ battle. Good teams find new ways to win every night, and the special teams helped make a big difference in this one.

2. Cleaning Up the Mess

While each of the Lightning’s three goals came in different situations, they were all scored off rebounds. The New Jersey goaltending situation has been a bit of a mess of late. Jon Gillies made his seventh start of the season for the Devils and was solid. All three goals against came on rebounds after Gillies made the save on the initial shots. The Lightning were getting bodies and pucks to the net, and they were in the right place at the right time and took advantage of some of the rebounds allowed by Gillies.

3. Joseph’s Shorthanded Goal

Mathieu Joseph has had a number of chances shorthanded in recent weeks. He has been banging on the door of a shorthanded goal and he finally knocked the door down Thursday night. Joseph called his own number on the rush with a shot and followed up his own rebound for an unassisted, shorthanded tally. Joseph has carved out a solid role for himself on Tampa Bay’s PK unit along with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and the pair have three shorthanded goals between them on the year. Joseph’s goal was huge as well because it was scored during a double-minor penalty to Tampa Bay.

4. Sergachev’s Big Night

He might not have shown up on the scoresheet, but Mikhail Sergachev had his fingerprints all over this one. Sergachev has been taking on more minutes of late with Erik Cernak out of the lineup. Sergachev has also been skating on his opposite side alongside Ryan McDonagh. Sergy totaled over 24 minutes of ice time to go along with five hits and four blocked shots.

5. Answering Right Back

Tampa Bay surrendered their 2-1 lead just after the midway point of the third period as Jack Hughes scored on a bounce off the end boards. The Lightning did not let the deadlock last long as they answered back exactly a minute later with Cirelli’s goal. The tally would go on to be the game winning goal as Tampa Bay held it down over the final minutes for what would be their sixth win in their last seven games.