The Tampa Bay Lightning bounced back Tuesday night following a disappointing OT loss against Toronto on Monday. Tampa Bay rolled to a 5-3 win over Montreal behind a four goal first period and the first career win in the NHL for goaltender Matt Tomkins.
The Lightning have now gotten points in nine of their last 10 games and collected five out of eight possible points on their four game road trip. Despite their struggles, the Lightning are still in a fine spot.
Perfect Fist Period
For the second straight night, the Lightning scored four goals in the opening period. And the period had everything you could possible want: depth scoring, a power play goal, two penalties killed off and allowing just five shots on goal. On the four goals they scored, 10 different Lightning players factored in on the scoring. With another big first period, Tampa Bay now leads the NHL in first period goals this season.
As we were reminded on Thursday, 20 minutes is nowhere near enough to win. Tampa Bay had a much better second period Tuesday and did not allow Montreal to get back in the game the way Toronto did. Montreal did push hard in the third and got two goals back and added another in the dying seconds. A win is a win in the NHL and the Lightning found a way to get to the finish line after not doing so the night before.
Kucherov is Really Good
This road trip was a reminder that Nikita Kucherov is still one of the best players in the NHL. Kucherov added another goal and an assist Tuesday night with his first period goal being the fastest in NHL this year at 22 seconds in.
On the four game road trip, Kucherov collected 11 points. His hot streak of late now his him leading the league in the scoring race. Few can orchestrate a power play the way Kucherov does and that is where he has been collecting a lot of his points. They all count just the same.
Tomkins Gets the W
Matt Tomkins got his first win in the NHL Tuesday night. At 29 years old, the rookie made his NHL debut this year while getting the chance with the Lightning and got his first career win in his third start. Tomkins was not called upon a ton in the first two periods but he was especially strong as Montreal was surging to begin the period. The Canadiens would get a few pucks by him later but they were never a real threat to come all the way back at that point.
You could tell the Lightning players wanted to get that first win for their journeyman goaltender. Tomkins is definitely one of the cooler stories in the NHL this year by making his debut 11 years after being drafted. Now, he has his first win in the NHL and there are not many better places to get that in than Montreal