By Dory LeBlanc
19 seconds after the puck dropped, the Bolts took a 1-0 lead on the visiting L.A. Kings and Martin St. Louis picked up his 900th point as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sami Salo's shot was redirected by Ryan Malone and found the net, but St. Louis was credited was the secondary assist, making his tally at the time 338 goals and 562 assists in the blue and white.
12 minutes later, Teddy Purcell recorded a point for the fifth straight contest when he went high past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with a wrister that extended Tampa Bay's lead to 2-0 through two periods.
Shortly after play resumed, Jeff Carter fired a shot form the right faceoff circle that found the net, but the goal was waved off after the officials called "contact with goaltender" after Carter's teammate was camped in front of Ben Bishop and had indeed made contact with the Lightning netminder.
With a little over three minutes left in the second stanza and on a delayed penalty call, Steven Stamkos' shot on Quick rebounded past a Kings defenseman and St. Louis recorded point 901 when he slapped it in for a 3-0 Lightning lead. Following the goal, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter opted to pull Quick in favor of Ben Scrivens.
Los Angeles would not get on the board until 10:27 was left on the clock, when Slava Voynov took a slapshot from the right circle that careened off Bishop's left shoulder as he tried to block it.
Two minutes later, Stamkos' pass to Malone was then passed on to St. Louis who was waiting patiently beside the net on Scrivens' glove-side and angled the shot high between Scrivens and the net, giving last year's Art Ross Trophy winner three points on the night: two goals and one assist.
Tampa Bay's special teams looked much-improved, killing all five penalties through 60 minutes (Salo was given a double-minor for high-sticking at 3:08 in the second), but did capitalize on one of their three man-advantages. (*See explanation below)
The Kings, known more as a defensive team, outshot the Lightning 31-25, a sign that the defense is still a work in progress, but thanks to Bishop's continued outstanding play between the pipes and the offensive effort through all three periods, the Lightning were able to pull out the 5-2 victory.
Next up for the Bolts: Tampa Bay will host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Tune in to 970 WFLA to hear Hall of Famer Phil Esposito and Dave Mishkin's call.
TB - 25
LA - 31
TB - 0/3 (*Because St. Louis' first goal was a delayed penalty, it was not offically scored as a power play goal)
LA - 0/5
Three Stars Of The Game:
1. Martin St. Louis
2. Victor Hedman
3. Ben Bishop