After three solid games, the fourth and finale of the Anaheim Ducks road trip served as a stark reminder how much work remains for the club to compete with other top flight teams.
Steven Stamkos scored a pair in a three-goal second period for Tampa Bay as the Lightning defeated the Ducks 4-0 Saturday at Amalie Arena.
Anaheim returns from a road trip through the southeast with four points after knocking off the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers, sandwiching a tough-luck loss to the Nashville Predators.
"We didn't get enough from the high scoring chance areas. They collapse really well, they clog up that area in front of the net. A lot of times you need to be stubborn, have to get pucks back to the point, have to find ways to get inside them and get traffic to the net and try to win some of those battles in front," Shawn Horcoff said to Kent French on Prime Ticket.
After a scoreless first period, the Lightning took control in the second period. First Andrej Sustr connected up the middle of the ice with a stretch pass that slice between Clayton Stoner and Korbinian Holzer, springing Nikita Kucherov for a breakaway that was converted for the 1-0 lead.
Then it was Stamkos' time to take over. In a 1:14 span the Tampa Bay captain tallied twice, first sniping the far corner over the blocker shoulder of Frederik Andersen from the top of the far circle. Then with Andrew Cogliano in the box for tripping Kucherov zipped a pass through the slot to find Stamkos all alone to hammer home the power play goal and the 3-0 lead that the hosts would hold at the break.
Brian Boyle and Jonathan Marchessault (power play) added to the score line in the third period, completing the 5-0 final. The Lightning have out-scored Anaheim 15-4 in the last three games at Amalie Arena.
The Ducks outshot Tampa for the game 30-24, with a 48-43 edge in even strength shot attempts. However Tampa Bay ended up with more scoring chances over the whole course of the game 33-28 as the teams each created 12 high danger chances. Ben Bishop earned his first shutout of the season.
"We had a really good first period, kind of controlled the play a bit, we just weren't able to get that goal. For some reason we sag a bit when we don't get that lead or when we give up a goal," said Horcoff.
Anaheim returns to southern California to play seven of the next eight at Honda Center, beginning with the Calgary Flames visiting on Tuesday at 7 PM.