TAMPA — As this Lightning team tries to establish itself with some new personnel and new systems, Thursday night was exactly what it needed.
Sure, the Lightning can always use the two points that came with their 6-0 win over the Sharks at Amalie Arena, but they also got the chance to work on their game.
“These are games that hopefully build some confidence in what you want to achieve going forward, work on some system things,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “We’ve been talking a lot about some changes we’ve made, and this was a game that, four- or five-nothing kind of halfway through the game, you just don’t want to cheat out there. And I thought we did a good job of sticking to our structure.”
That structure is what the Lightning hope will help settle down what has been a rocky start to the season.
Tampa Bay (4-2-2) won its second straight game, the first time it has put together back-to-back wins this season, and also got its second straight shutout. The Sharks remain the only winless team in the NHL at 0-6-1.
The Lightning got goals from Stamkos, Brayden Point, Mikey Eyssimont, Brandon Hagel, Nick Paul and Luke Glendening, who scored his first goal in a Lightning uniform. Defenseman Victor Hedman had his 39th career multipoint period with two assists in the second, tied for second in franchise history with Marty St. Louis and one behind Stamkos.
The defensemen combined for eight points on the night, all assists.
“We kind of switched it up this year, but we’re coming into our own right now,” said defenseman Nick Perbix, who had two assists. “And we’re trying to focus on keeping it that way.”
The Lightning aren’t judging themselves against a winless Sharks team, but coach Jon Cooper appreciated his team’s defense.
“I liked the way we played in our end again. We’re not spending a whole ton of time in there, but when we do, we’re not really giving up a whole lot,” he said. “And if we do give something up, the goalie is there for us, and so there’s kind of those three layers, and it’s been working pretty well.
“It was one of those nights where we got the lead early, and I always like that. … You just don’t want to see your work ethic get lost in a game when you have the lead, and we kept working, and so it was good on the guys.”
Stamkos, who missed two games with a lower-body injury this month, had just one shot on goal over the previous two games.
He started out wide on his first three attempts Thursday, but the third was deadly. With a two-man advantage and 42 seconds left in the first period, he took a pass from Nikita Kucherov at the circle and buried the puck for his third goal of the season and a 3-0 lead.
It was Stamkos’ franchise-leading 196th career power-play goal. He is four shy of becoming the 20th player in NHL history with at least 200 career power-play goals and the second active behind Alex Ovechkin.
Stamkos also had 10 attempted shots that went wide or high, but it is something he can build off of.
“It’s just one of those things; they happen throughout the course of a long season. I missed (Thursday) a couple of times, too,” Stamkos said. “But in these games, you touch the puck a little more and you can get some confidence offensively, and hopefully that’s the case.”
Contact Kristie Ackert at email@example.com.
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