The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three goals in the second period to blow open the game on their way to a 6-2 win against the Seattle Kraken at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.
Seattle fell behind early and got back into the game, only to watch the Lightning skate away from them over the second half of the contest.
“We carried the play at the end of the first period,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “We had a great second period, we had one hell of a PK in terms of effort and execution. When that third goal goes in, that took a lot out of us… We did a lot of really good things, we deserved a little bit better in terms of where the scoreboard was.”
Nikita Kucherov had three assists for the 29th time in his career. Andre Vasilevskiy was solid in making 36 saves for the Lightning (18-9-1) who are 3-0-0 all-time against Seattle.
Jared McCann and Ryan Donato each scored a goal for Seattle (16-9-3), which is in a mini-slump having lost four out of the last five games. Philipp Grubauer allowed four goals on 20 shots before being replaced at 14:28 in the second period. Martin Jones came in and allowed two goals and made eight saves.
Tampa Bay struck early in the first period. After Seattle failed to clear the puck, Lightning defenseman Ian Cole flung a shot from the point that found the net to make it 1-0 at 1:31.
With the Kraken still searching for their game, the Lightning got another goal at 7:24 from Erik Cernak.
“The first ten minutes, that was the biggest piece,” Hakstol said. “Our forecheck has to be better, we were a little slow on everything and they’re going to take advantage in a big way. I felt like it should have been a 1-1 hockey game after the first period.”
Over the second half of the period, Seattle got its game going and calmed things down defensively. At 18:39, the Kraken cashed in when Jordan Eberle and Jared McCann broke out with a two-on-one, and Eberle gave it to McCann who scored his 13th with a laser-type wrist shot.
Down 2-1, the Kraken started the second well, matching the Tampa Bay attack and getting good looks. Brandon Tanev was called for tripping behind Tampa Bay’s net at 10:17, and the game took a turn for the worse.
As the ensuing power play was winding down, Corey Perry scored with a wrist shot to make it 3-1 at 12:13, and then Brayden Point made it 4-1 at 13:28 with a great individual effort through the defense. That ended Grubauer’s night, and Jones came in but didn’t fare any better.
Ross Colton got a stick on a Mikhail Sergachev shot and tipped it past Jones to make it 5-1 at 15:36. The Bolts scored three goals in 3:23 of play, and the game was completely changed.
“Our group was really tough today,” Hakstol said. “We need a little better on the second goal from Grubi, we need a little better on the third. Our group pushed back pretty well throughout… If you’re questioning the mental toughness of our group, you’re dead wrong.”
Steven Stamkos made it 6-1 at 5:29 of the third period, and Donato added a cosmetic goal to make it 6-2 at 19:55.
“I thought we worked hard,” Jaden Schwartz said. “We had some decent spurts… I thought for 40 minutes of the game we worked hard, probably didn’t get on the inside enough in the offensive zone, but that momentum swing in the second period really hurt.”
Kraken offensive woes
Seattle was seemingly scoring at will during their seven-game win streak, but the goals have dried up of late. They’ve lost four out of five and only scored six goals in the four losses. Things looked to turn when they scored four Sunday in a win at Florida, but Tuesday it was a struggle again.
The Kraken outshot Tampa Bay 38-30, but 15 of those shots came in the third period when the score was 4-1. Vasilevskiy is among the league’s best goaltenders, which may have been the issue Tuesday, but Seattle needs to find a way to score more than one or two goals per game.
- Seattle defenseman Justin Schultz was a late scratch Tuesday despite looking like he was going to play during morning skate. Gustav Olofsson played 15:20 and had three shots on goal in Schultz’s place.
- Kucherov has the fifth most career three-assist games among active players. He trails Sidney Crosby (59), Nicklas Backstrom (44), Evgeni Malkin (34), and Connor McDavid (33).
- Carson Soucy played in his 200th NHL game.