(Photo credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports)
The Tampa Bay Lightning return home for a three-game series, starting with Saturday afternoon's clash with Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, and hope to continue the trend from Thursday's win in Chicago.
Against the Blackhawks and phenom Connor Bedard, they righted the ship a bit, getting athird-period goal from Victor Hedman and earning a split in the season series with the Central Division club in a 4-2 win.
The victory was much needed, as the Lightning were triumphant for just the seventh time in 17 matches and first in four outings (1-3-0).
Despite their poor performance so far in third periods this season, the Lightning kept their cool when former teammate Corey Perry knotted it at 2-2 just 2:09 into the final frame.
"We kept plugging, and overall we were the better team," Hedman said after putting in a hard rebound off the end boards that popped out front. "Obviously, giving up that second goal, with the way things have been going the last few games, it's easy to take a step back. But I thought we took over the game."
Brayden Point, who had two assists, netted his seventh goal on the power play at 4:40 of the second period.
That tally was Tampa Bay's first in 146 minutes and 50 seconds -- a span across back-to-back shutouts. It ended the franchise's seventh-longest drought in history.
Tampa Bay's speedy Anthony Cirelli blocked a shot in the second period, left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return.
"He's a tough kid. The fact that he couldn't come back, that's a little worrisome," coach Jon Cooper said.
In Alberta, Edmonton has undergone a major change on the bench in order to jump-start its dismal beginning.
The Oilers dismissed coach Jay Woodcroft Sunday after a 3-9-1 start that had the Pacific Division team gridding just above the lowly, last-place San Jose Sharks.
The Sharks were ultimately part of Woodcroft's pink slip. They beat Edmonton 3-2 last week in a victory that represented half of San Jose's NHL-low win-total this campaign.
Under new coach Kris Knoblauch, the Oilers have won two straight games. That plus the triumph in Woodcroft's final match have left them with a season-high three-game winning streak -- much better than the pair of four-game losing skids that led to Woodcroft's firing.
Though a two-game stretch is a small sample size, there is some newfound excitement that grew Wednesday in a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Seattle Kraken.
Evander Kane recorded Edmonton's final three tallies, producing the equalizer with 46 seconds remaining in regulation and hitting the net in the extra session for a thrilling win.
The 32-year-old left wing said there is confidence around the dressing room.
"Going into a long road trip here, to get a couple wins finally at home in a row is nice. We've come back before, down going into the third period," said Kane after the natural hat trick. "It was nice to be able to do that for the first time this year.
"I think we're starting to find our groove here a little bit."
Tampa Bay is 2-0-1 against the Pacific Division and 4-2-1 versus the Western Conference.
--Field Level Media