The second half of the Tampa Bay Lighting’s 2023-24 campaign got underway Tuesday night in Tampa as the Lightning earned one of their biggest wins of the season over the Los Angeles Kings. Tampa Bay came back from 2-0 down with less than ten minutes to go in the third before winning in overtime.
Tyler Motte and Brandon Hagel both scored in the third before Nick Perbix found himself in alone and scoring the overtime winner for his first goal of the season. The win also marked the 500th win for Jon Cooper as the head coach of the Lightning.
500 for Jon Cooper
Tuesday night’s victory brought Jon Cooper into a tie for fifth place all time in NHL coaching wins with one franchise. All 500 have come with the Tampa Bay Lightning since taking over in 2013.
“There’s a lot of trust (in the organization). My trust in them and their trust in me. I think that is a big reason why this has worked for a decade.”
Cooper’s success all coming with Tampa Bay has been a special run in today’s NHL. Coaching shelf lives are as short as ever and so many teams are impatient with trying to get where they want to go. To be able to last in one spot for this long and have success throughout the entire tenure has been nothing short of remarkable for Cooper.
Furious Comeback in the Third
The Lightning were playing a fine game for the most part of the first two periods. Los Angeles got two goals in the second period despite the Lightning dictating the terms for a lot of the fist 40 minutes. After going empty on two power play attempts and going up against one of the top defensive teams in the league, 2-0 was a huge deficit with the clock ticking in the third period.
The rally began with Tyler Motte making a great defensive play in the neutral zone before being set up for a one-timer goal by Mikey Eyssimont. Two minutes later, a fantastic individual effort from Brandon Hagel brought the game level at two and sent it into overtime. Emil Lilleberg also collected the secondary assist on Hagel’s goal for his first career point in the NHL in just his second game.
Perbix is the Hero
Nick Perbix was held without a goal so far this season in 39 games. That was before Tuesday night as Perbix would become the unlikeliest of heroes as his first goal of the season ended up as the overtime winner. The defenseman found himself in all alone and made a nice move onto his backhand for the winner.
Hagel had his hands all over this goal as well. His strength on the puck kept the play under control before springing Perbix in by himself. The offensive output has not been there as much for Hagel of late, but with a big goal and an assist Tuesday, he is being rewarded for his hard work on the scoresheet.