The Tampa Bay Lightning showed the Winnipeg Jets just why exactly they lead the National Hockey League in goals scored this season.
Scoring came all throughout the lineup, including a pair of goals from Cory Conacher, as the Bolts earned their fifth consecutive victory following an 8-3 win over their division-rivals Friday night.
The Lightning, which have scored five or more goals in each of their past four outings, now lead the NHL with a total of 37 goals on the season.
“We need those contributions from everyone to win hockey games all year long,” forward Adam Hall said. “Our big guys lead the way, but to see everyone score like they did tonight, it speaks to how well everyone is sticking to the system. All the lines can score goals, even the defensemen, and everyone is contributing.”
Anders Lindback won for the fourth straight time and for the fifth time in six starts on the year, making 26 saves.
Winnipeg, playing in the second half of a back-to-back set after also skating in a 6-3 loss at Florida on Thursday night, got goals from Tobias Enstrom, Paul Postma and Andrew Ladd.
The Jets have now dropped three straight after earning wins in each of its three games prior.
“Obviously it wasn’t by design,” Jets head coach Claude Noel said. “We got off on the wrong foot.”
Ondrej Pavelec, playing in his second game in as many nights, allowed five goals on 14 shots and was pulled in relief of Montoya after Thompson made it 5-0 at 4:43 of the second period.
Montoya, however, didn’t fare much better, as the first shot he saw was Purcell’s that beat the Winnipeg netminder to put the Bolts up 6-0.
He turned aside eight of 11 shots faced on the night.
After approximately 46 minutes following the opening puck drop, Enstrom finally got the Jets on the board at 5:34 of the final frame.
Postma cut the deficit to four just 61 seconds later, and Ladd’s goal while on the power play made it 7-3 after Malone notched his fourth of the season at 8:46.
The three third-period goals, which sparked somewhat of a rally, didn’t prove to be enough.
Costly infractions took too much of a toll on the Jets from the onset, as Winnipeg racked up a total of 25 penalty minutes, including 23 in the first period alone.
Tampa Bay, though, used Winnipeg’s poor start to its full advantage, as each of its first three goals in the game came while on the power play, and all within a span of 16:55.
Conacher put the game’s first goal on the board while with the man advantage, deflecting Matt Carle’s shot from inside the blue line past Pavelec at 7:57 for an early 1-0 lead.
Stamkos doubled the lead, again with the man advantage, when he took a feed from Purcell and fired one home from the left circle.
A third power-play goal put Tampa Bay up 3-0 at the 16:55 mark of the opening frame. With Mark Stuart in the penalty box, Martin St. Louis sent a feed to Lecavalier, who one-timed a slap shot from the right circle into an open cage as Pavelec attempted to get back across the crease.
Conacher’s second of the night came just 26 seconds into the second frame and put Tampa Bay up 4-0.
Conacher, the NHL’s leading rookie in points, now has three goals and five points in his past two games.
“Another good game and a fast start for the team,” Conacher said. “It was a shame we gave up those three goals late, but it was one of those games when our power play was insane again tonight and our weapons came out to play.”
Pouliot’s goal with 1:25 left capped the scoring, leading the Lightning to remain perfect on home ice this season at 5-0-0.
The victory regained the top spot in the Eastern Conference for the Lightning, which now have 12 points and look to sweep their season-high five-game home stand on Saturday in the finale against the New York Rangers.
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