Is it too late for the Tampa Bay Lightning?
The Lightning certainly hopes not. And Monday in Los Angeles, for once, the Lightning didn’t play like it. They ground out a 2-1 victory over the Kings that once again put them on the right side of .500 at 21-20-4.
The Kings scored first on a goal by Kyle Clifford. But the Bolts charged back with goals by Tyler Johnson and by Brian Boyle.
The goal by Johnson was particularly nifty, as he went top shelf after a dazzling pass from Jonathan Drouin.
“That’s what elite offensive-minded players can make, and Jo is elite in that regard. A lot of good things happen when he has the puck on his stick, and when you get yourself open, there’s a good chance he’s going to be able to find you. He did a great job protecting the puck. He beat his man, and now you give him a little bit of open space to make a play and Johnny opened up. The key was, it’s not so much he found Johnson, he put it right in Johnson’s wheelhouse. When you’re able to do that, give the guys a chance to score, and that’s what Jo did.”
The Bolts had lost five of their previous six games.
However, Ben Bishop won for the second time since returning from injury. In those two games, he has stopped 52 of 55 shots.
The Lightning played without Victor Hedman.
“It’s happened so often this year, you kind of don’t blink an eye. That was unfortunate, but then we found out Kopitar wasn’t playing like two minutes after that, so I thought, ‘Okay, that’s a one-for-one.’ Fans pay to see guys like Hedman and Anze Kopitar play, so it’s unfortunate they couldn’t. But it was still an entertaining hockey game.”