One more goal would have set the franchise record for goals in a game.
They didn't get it, but you won't hear any one in the Tampa Bay dressing room complain.
The Tampa Bay Lightning continued their red-hot play of late, scoring six unanswered goals in the first and second periods following a cavalcade of penalties by the Winnipeg Jets to put away the game before it was even halfway over.
Cory Conacher, Steven Stamkos, and Vincent Lecavalier all scored power play markers in the first after Winnipeg's Chris Thorburn started a team-wide vacation to the penalty box after he boarded Sami Salo.
The hit on Salo knocked the Finnish defenseman out for the rest of the first period and cost Thorburn a 5 minute major, which the Lightning capitalized on.
Salo later returned for the second period.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher was asked about the hit after the game.
"To be honest with you, I didn't see it. So I'll look at it, but, 5 minute power play, there is no problem for me there. He came back to play. If he didn't come back to play, I would have had a problem."
The Lightning extended the lead to 6-0 in the second off even strength goals from Conacher, Nate Thompson, and Teddy Purcell, but by that point the Jets had totally lost their composure.
Winnipeg managed a small rally in the third, scoring a pair of power play goals on great plays by rookie Paul Potsma, who deserves to stick in Winnipeg full-time even when injured Zach Bogosian and Dustin Byfuglien return to the lineup.
Tampa Bay closed the scoring for good measure with third period tallies by Ryan Malone and Benoit Pouliot.
After the game, Guy Boucher was asked if he was surprised by the play of Sami Salo, acquired as a UFA from the Vanocuver Canucks this off season. When asked if Sami Salo has been "more than he bargained for" in a good way, Boucher hesitated, in respect for the great career the 38 year old Finn has had.
Although Salo has been everything advertised and more (5 assists, league-leading +11, 21:14 TOI/game), Boucher gave the diplomatic answer.
When asked the same question about rookie sensation Cory Conacher, Boucher immediately and bluntly remarked:
"No. Plain and simple. No. You don't know how many points he is going to get, but his play, that's what I thought we would get…Maybe his consistency is the thing that might be a surprise, but I'm not surprised to be honest with you."
Conacher now leads all rookies in the NHL in scoring with 12 points.
Boucher admitted that it was a difficult game to manage and coach, especially with the New York Rangers coming to the Tampa Bay Times Forum tomorrow to finish up the longest home stand for the Bolts this season.
"I'll be honest this was a weird game to coach. You're up 6-0 early. If we didn't have a game tomorrow, we would have played differently…and continued to push the pace [...] If it's a closer game, it would have been easier to manage, but we would have left more energy on the table."
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