The defending Stanley Cup Champions took center stage in a light evening of NHL action.
Anthony Cirelli picked up the game-winning tally against the road weary Islanders to lift the Lightning. In Columbus, Zach Werenski scored in the waning minutes to give the Jackets a big win.
Lightning 4, Islanders 1
Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli scored the go-ahead goal in the first period as the host Lightning scored three unanswered against the New York Islanders, beating the road-tested Metropolitan Division club 4-1 on Monday.
New York’s Zdeno Chara and the Lightning’s Pat Maroon set the tone immediately, squaring off and fighting right at the drop of the puck.
Outscored 9-2 in two straight defeats, the visitors went up 1-0 at 2:53 when Hedman turned over the puck in the offensive zone, Parise fed Barzal on a breakaway and the speedy center backhanded in his fourth tally.
Joseph matched the marker 23 seconds later by zipping home a wrister toward the far post — his second goal — in tight against Varlamov.
“I thought we needed a good shift,” Joseph said via NHL.com. “Pretty good bounce in the middle of the zone. I had some time and space and tried to shoot it. I thought it was good to get that first goal back.”
Shortly after the Lightning failed on the first power play, Cirelli — who briefly left the game after taking a puck to the face in the third period — grabbed a rebound and beat goalie Semyon Varlamov (24 saves) to break a 1-all tie with 38 seconds left in the first.
Brayden Point posted a goal and an assist, and Mathieu Joseph and Steven Stamkos found the net.
Victor Hedman produced two assists as the Lightning stretched their point streak to eight games overall (6-0-2) and six on home ice (4-0-2).
Andrei Vasilevskiy (7-2-3) improved to 5-0-3 in regulation games by stopping 25 of 26 shots.
Mathew Barzal scored and Zach Parise produced an assist for the Islanders, who played for the 12th time in a season-opening 13-game road stretch.
Andy Greene skated in his 1,000th career game while Jean-Gabriel Pageau was in his 500th.
The meeting between the Eastern Conference teams was their first since Tampa Bay beat the Islanders 1-0 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals on June 25.
They did not play each other during last regular-season’s realignment but met in the postseason for the second straight campaign.
The clubs will play two more times — on March 27 and April 28, both in New York’s new arena.
Blue Jackets 5, Red Wings 3
Zach Werenski scored with 79 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Columbus Blue Jackets the lead in a 5-3 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
After Yegor Chinakhov’s first career NHL goal equalized for the Jackets at 15:42 of the final frame, the stage was set for Werenski’s game-winner. The defenseman’s slap shot from just inside the blue line found its way past traffic in front of the net for Werenski’s third goal of the season.
Chinakhov and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, while Gustav Nyquist had two assists. Adam Boqvist and Alexandre Texier also scored for Columbus, with Texier scoring an empty-netter in the final three seconds of play.
Lucas Raymond scored at 13:31 of the third period to give Detroit a 3-2 lead. The 19-year-old also had an assist, giving Raymond 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his first 17 NHL games.
Dylan Larkin also had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings. Michael Rasmussen scored Detroit’s other goal.
At 14:45 of the first period, the Blue Jackets couldn’t clear a loose puck in front of their net. Raymond got a stick on the puck and threaded a pass to an open Larkin on the left side, and Larkin converted for the opening score.
It was Larkin’s seventh goal of the season, and his fourth goal in as many games.
Elvis Merzlikins looked generally sharp in stopping 24 of 27 shots, but the Columbus goalie was visibly dismayed after Rasmussen’s goal in the second period. Rasmussen fired a seemingly innocuous shot from outside the circle that beat Merzlikins for the Wings forward’s first goal of the season.
Trailing the Red Wings 2-0 despite a big advantage in shots, the Jackets’ pressure eventually paid off with two quick goals later in the second period. Jenner scored his team-leading seventh goal at 13:07 of the second frame, and Boqvist followed up with the equalizer less than two minutes later.
“For us, it’s belief in the room,” Werenski said. “We are going to find ways to win. That’s what we’ve been doing. When they took the lead, nobody panicked. If we stick to our game plan, we are going to win.”
–Field Level Media