NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Begin Jon Cooper Era With a Comeback Win

Alex Killorn Skates With Puck Against New Jersey Devils

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It took over 65 minutes, but the Tampa Bay Lightning earned two points in Jon Cooper‘s NHL coaching debut, beating the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in a shootout.

Steven Stamkos led the way with two goals and an assist — the primary one — on rookie Alex Killorn‘s game-tying goal with 15 seconds left. Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman then beat Martin Brodeur in a shootout while Mathieu Garon stopped both shots he faced. This marked Tampa Bay’s fourth consecutive home-ice victory and second on their current three-game homestand.

Tonight gave Lightning fans a sense of pride though. No, the game didn’t clinch a playoff spot, but the team showed lots of fight in coming back from a two-goal deficit twice. Not bad for a team that just last weekend seemed to be spiraling out of control.

The second period was a scoring and penalty fest, with New Jersey getting two of their three goals off of Lightning penalties. Of course, Garon proved to be a lifesaver during that time, making numerous big saves which kept things close.

There were also some fisticuffs, as Radko Gudas had no problem laying a beatdown on the Devils’ Tom Kostopoulos. He later received a goaltender interference penalty for making contact with Brodeur.

Now, the Lightning will try to make it five straight wins at home when they face off against the Florida Panthers next Tuesday night, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. It will definitely be a challenge, but Tampa Bay’s proven they can handle those.


Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning and NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook and join her Google network.