The Tampa Bay Lightning have a season-high six-game winning streak. Next up: their Stanley Cup Final opponents, the Chicago Blackhawks, who have won 12 in a row for a franchise record.
Brian Boyle scored a go-ahead, short-handed goal in the third period to lead the Lightning over the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 on Tuesday night. The Lightning will host Chicago Thursday night in the Blackhawks’ first game in Tampa since beating the Lightning in last season’s final.
“We turned the page on last year,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “But the storyline is going to read, the Stanley Cup Finals a year later. Eighteen wins between the two. So, somebody’s streak is going on.”
The Blackhawks downed Nashville 4-1 Tuesday night to set the new team victory streak record.
“They’re probably the best team in the NHL right now,” Palat said. “It’s going to be tough. I think we’ve got to play better than today against them.”
The Lightning also got goals from Nikita Nesterov, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn. Zack Kassian, Mark Letestu, Leon Draisaitl and Iiro Pakarinen scored for Edmonton.
“We’re not going to win many games giving up six,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “I thought some of our grinders did their thing tonight. I wasn’t overly impressed with a lot of our skilled players.”
The Oilers said centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, hurt blocking a shot in Monday’s 4-2 win at Florida, will miss six to eight weeks with a hand injury. Edmonton right wing Nail Yakupov needed help skating off the ice 5 minutes into Tuesday’s game, but returned later in the period.
Boyle gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead when he beat goalie Anders Nilsson to the puck and scored from the left circle at 7:42 of the third. Killorn added an empty-netter.
“We beat ourselves,” Letestu said. “Tonight we gave easy offence.”
After Draisailt scored during a two-on-one breakaway at 2:10 of the third, Pakarinen got Edmonton even at 4 when he beat Andrei Vasilevskiy from the right circle 2:19 later.
Namestnikov extended the Lightning lead to 4-2 at 17:12 of the second when he reached from the behind net with his stick and knocked in the puck after Palat’s left circle shot went high into the air off Nilsson and behind the goalie.
Palat gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead at 6:09 of the second. Namestnikov set up the goal with a backhand pass while falling to the ice.
Kucherov put the Lightning up 2-1 with 3:03 to go in the first on his 19th goal this season that extended his point streak to six games.
Letestu made it 2-2 on a short-handed goal with 33.3 seconds left in the first.
After Nesterov opened the scoring at 3:57 of the first, Kassian tied it just 88 seconds later.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had an eventful game, getting two assists and making an errant pass that lead to the first Edmonton goal. He got a tripping penalty midway through the second for kicking the leg of Kassian
Notes: Edmonton placed Nugent-Hopkins on injured reserve and recalled C Rob Klinkhammer from Bakersfield of the AHL. … Oilers LW Lauri Korpikoski sat out his second straight game with a sore foot, the result of a blocking a shot Saturday against Calgary. … Letestu has both of the Oilers short-handed goals this season.