On Saturday night in a rout of the San Jose Sharks, the Tampa Bay Lightning gave their fans a glimpse of how they are supposed to be playing.
The Lightning, who won 62 games last season and were victorious 32 times at Amalie Arena, blitzed the visiting Sharks in a 7-1 win, pulling away by way of a four-goal third period.
Tampa Bay hosts the New York Islanders in a 7 p.m. ET start on Monday.
On Saturday, the home side led 3-0 after one period, and the Lightning chased San Jose starting goalie Martin Jones out of the contest early in the last frame. Captain Steven Stamkos was among those scoring in the period as he posted a second power-play goal.
Stamkos said the Lightning, who play eight of their next 10 games at home, have suffered from a touch of complacency.
"We've had a tendency this year when we've had the lead to sit back a little too much," Stamkos said. "Our team is built to continue to press, use our speed, and then the skill takes over. We kept pouring on the goals. It was a great way to come out in the third period, score one early, and we just kept going."
Verhaeghe's goal to round out the Lightning's seven-goal output was the rookie's first in the NHL.
"That's a pretty special moment for me and the family and everyone," he said. "It's nice."
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was masterful for Tampa Bay, allowing just a meaningless goal to Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the third period.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Vasilevskiy set a franchise record with his 228th appearance in goal. Current Dallas goalie Ben Bishop previously held the mark.
Bishop, meanwhile, proved to the Islanders' biggest problem on Saturday night in Dallas.
The netminder stopped 34 of 35 shots as the host Stars topped the Metropolitan Division club 3-1 in their only visit to the Lone Star State.
Bishop had his shutout intact deep into the third period before New York's Mathew Barzal, camped just to the goalie's right, redirected in a long shot for his 12th goal with just over four minutes remaining.
Barzal has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games.
New York also saw Nick Leddy, one of its top defensemen, leave the game with a lower-body injury late in the contest.
The Islanders lost for the second time in three games, and second-year coach Barry Trotz said the Stars' pair of power-play goals sunk his club in the end.
"I thought we came out and had a really good start in the first seven or eight minutes," Trotz said. "They got some chances towards the end of the period, took it over, and got a goal. I thought we were really good in the second for a good stretch, and we were good in the third.
"At the end of the day, it was the two power-play goals. They have a good hockey team, and I thought it was a well-played game."
--Field Level Media