Anton Stralman scored twice.
Ondrej Palat scored twice.
Tyler Johnson? Well, he almost scored twice.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won its 10th game in its last 11 Friday night, burying the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 at Amalie Arena. It was the eighth game in a row the Bolts have won at home, and it left the team in second place in the Atlantic Division, five points behind the Panthers.
One of the nicest parts of the streak for the Lightning has been the suddenly invigorated Johnson, a dazzling performer a year ago who sizzled in the post-season. But a wrist injury has limited Johnson until lately.
Johnson scored one goal Friday night and another tick off of teammate Alex Killorn on its way to the net. Officially, Johnson had a goal and two assists. Defenseman Stralman had two goals, including an empty netter. Palat scored a goal and then added one while Tampa Bay was shorthanded.
“I think Pittsburgh stretched the game out a little bit,” Johnson said. “They try and go for those longer passes and more chips whereas Detroit is a little more closer support, kind of slowing the game down a little bit. I think that’s what is great about our team, we can play any kind of style. You know we have the skill and the guys able to do that, and our system works for it.”
Goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 27 of 30 shots for the win.
The Lightning has averaged 3.5 goals per game in its eight-game streak, meaning the offense is coming to life at the right time.
“I think that’s what we stress every year to be a good defensive team,” Killorn said. “It’s one of those things that we kind of just think the offense is going to come, and it has the past two years. I think this year was a little bit different. We weren’t scoring at the beginning, but we were there defensively. We had to find ways to score, and it’s nice to kind of find it at this point of the season.”
Tampa Bay travels to Ottawa Monday and Montreal Tuesday.