Lightning use 4-goal 2nd period to storm past Ducks
The Tampa Bay Lightning humbled the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks so much that they were booed off the ice after two periods by the standing-room-only home crowd.
Steven Stamkos capped a four-goal second by the Lightning with his 31st of the season, and that was the difference in a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night.
"To be honest, it was just a quiet confidence after the first period," Stamkos said. "I think we realized we had some good chances in the first, but we missed them, and their goalie made some saves.
"I know we were down, but it felt like we had more to give. I think the second was one of our better periods of the year. We really dictated the play."
Anton Stralman, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov also scored and Ben Bishop made 24 saves, helping the Lightning overtake Anaheim and the New York Islanders by a point in the overall standings and tie Montreal and St. Louis for second behind NHL-leading Nashville.
Patrick Maroon scored in the first period for the Ducks, who allowed at least four goals for the fourth time in five games. John Gibson stopped 28 shots in place of Frederik Andersen, who missed his fourth straight game due to an upper-body injury.
"As soon as they got their goal, we turned our game around," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "The mandate in the second period was just to keep getting pucks to the net no matter what. Fortunately for us we did, and they went in."
The Lightning, who lead the league with 195 goals, struck twice during an 84-second span and grabbed a 2-1 lead at 5:55 of the second.
"There’s a reason they’re the highest-scoring team in the league. They turned it up a little bit and we couldn’t match their speed," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We didn’t take them out physically — and when you don’t do that, they’re allowed to skate and get free looks.
"We couldn’t catch them in our zone. We were just chasing them all over the ice, especially in the last five minutes of the second period."
Stralman redirected Brian Boyle’s turnaround wrist shot from the left boards past Gibson’s glove, and Johnson had an easy tap-in after Ondrej Palat got control of a rebound in front of the crease.
"The first period we were playing on our toes, getting the puck deep and playing physical," Anaheim’s Corey Perry said. "They’re a fast-skating club. And when you give them no time and space, they can’t skate around you."
Kucherov and Stamkos increased the lead to 4-1 with goals 1:34 apart. Kucherov netted his 22nd of the season during a goal-mouth scramble as defenseman Cam Fowler failed to clear the puck in front of Gibson. Stamkos connected from the base of the left circle 20.4 seconds before the second intermission.
"They played a pretty consistent game the whole time, and we didn’t," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "We stopped playing. We relaxed and didn’t play nearly as well as we did in the first."
Maroon opened the scoring at 4:17 of the first period, jamming his seventh goal past defenseman Victor Hedman and the outstretched left leg of Bishop from the right of the crease. But Maroon misfired on a breakaway with 4:41 left in the period, as did teammate Rene Bourque with 3 minutes left in second.
"I knew when we missed those breakaways, it could come back to haunt us. And it did," Boudreau said. "We could have regained a little bit of our momentum on that (second) one, and probably would have left after the second period with a 2-2 game.
"I think that’s the first time we’ve had a breakaway in a month, so I’ll take it for a positive."
The Ducks played without left wing Matt Beleskey and defenseman Sami Vatanen, who were injured Sunday during a 5-3 loss to Washington. Beleskey is second on the club with 21 goals, including eight game-winners. Vatanen leads Anaheim defenseman with 12 goals. Both are expected to be sidelined for several weeks.
NOTES: The Lightning had a three-goal first period against the Ducks in their 5-3 home win on Feb. 8. … Johnson is the only player among the league’s top-20 point scorers who wasn’t drafted, and the only one in the top-10 who wasn’t a first-round pick. … Tampa Bay is 18-6-1 when Stamkos has scored a goal. He has 241 since the start of the 2009-10 season, one more than Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for the most in the league. … The Lightning have allowed only four goals in 44 short-handed situations over their last 14 games. But they are 3 for 38 on the power play in the past 13 contests.