TAMPA, Fla. – The wealth was spread throughout the lineup, something that was highlighted by six different goal scorers and with each line chipping in.
After the Lightning were blown out 7-0 and limited to 16 shots on goal in Game 2, Monday night’s 6-2 win over the Avalanche in Game 3 was a thorough about-face with contributions coming from everyone who stepped on the ice.
“Every line contributed in some way,” said Anthony Cirelli, whose team now trails the Stanley Cup final, 2-1. “I don’t think anybody cares who scores the goals. I think we just went out there and everybody is trying to do their job and help the team win in any way they can.”
It was Cirelli who got the goal-scoring parade started at 13:03 of the opening period. After charging out of his own zone, he had a nifty give-and-go with Pat Maroon just inside the attacking blue line, cut to the net and the game was tied at one. The crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena exploded and exhaled at once.
Speaking of Maroon and nifty give-and-go’s, the “Big Rig” stepped out of the penalty box, took a return pass from Nikita Kucherov, and ended Darcy Kuemper’s night with a backhander from in tight that made it 5-2 at 11:15 of the second period.
In the news: Bolts Hedman ‘We Had To Win, Got To Do It Again’
Maroon and Cirelli were joined by Ondrej Palat, Nick Paul, Steven Stamkos, and Corey Perry when it came to the goal-scoring in Game 3. Maroon was one of five players with a two-point night and one of seven who was at least a plus-2.
“We knew our line had to bring its best tonight and we knew we had to find a way to contribute,” he said, also referring to Riley Nash and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. “Just bring energy.”
The level of energy Monday night, fueled in part by the home crowd, was unmistakable. That included the guy between the pipes. While all 19 players who took the ice in the Game 2 debacle shared in the blame, the spotlight often unfairly shines brightest on the goalie. Andrei Vasilevskiy basked in the glow by making 37 saves, several of the highlight-reel variety.
What made it much easier on Vasy is that many of his teammates did something to help the cause at the other end.
“If you are going to go this far in the playoffs, you need that,” said Cooper, whose team once again had to do without Brayden Point. “It can’t be the same guys every single night. Rarely does a team advance if it just the big boys scoring all the time. When everybody is getting involved, it kind of galvanizes the team.”
Much of the same will likely be needed Wednesday night (8:00, ABC) at Amalie Arena when the Lightning look to even the series.