Derek Grant scores twice as Ducks defeat Lightning to end four-game skid
Derek Grant scored two goals, John Gibson made 32 saves and the Ducks emphatically snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Vinni Lettieri had a goal and an assist apiece, and Nicolas Deslauriers added a short-handed, empty-netter for the Ducks with 7:37 to play. After back-to-back shutout defeats, the Ducks reclaimed sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division by routing the overall NHL co-leaders for only its third win in 12 games.
Ross Colton scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots for the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning, whose four-game winning streak ended in the teams’ first meeting since Jan. 31, 2020.
Aisha Visram unknowingly became the first woman to stand behind the Kings’ bench and the second to have worked as an athletic trainer in an NHL game.
“There’s no question the right team won tonight,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
Anaheim even did it without coach Dallas Eakins, who missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19. He joined All-Star Troy Terry, forward Sonny Milano and key defensemen Cam Fowler and Josh Manson on the COVID shelf for the Ducks.
Ducks assistant coach Mike Stothers, who turns 60 next month, got his first NHL victory while running the Ducks’ bench in the absence of Eakins and fellow assistants Geoff Ward and Joe Piscotty. Todd Marchant, the Ducks’ director of player development, stepped behind the bench temporarily to help out.
“I think everybody really raised their level, and I think it was sprinkled throughout the lineup,” Stothers said. “It starts with Gibby in net, and it worked its way out. I couldn’t be more impressed and more happy and more proud of the guys for the way they rallied and the way they stuck together. It was a really good game against a really good hockey club.”
Tampa Bay’s Corey Perry got several standing ovations in his first game in Anaheim since the Ducks bought out his contract in 2019. The 2011 NHL MVP spent his first 14 seasons in Orange County, scoring 372 goals and winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 while becoming a franchise cornerstone alongside longtime linemate Ryan Getzlaf.
“To be here to play in front of these fans again, it was pretty special,” Perry said. “This was home for 14 years, and to come back, obviously it didn’t go the way we planned, it was an emotional day, but now it’s out of the way.”
Grant produced his first multi-goal game since December 2019 in the Ducks’ final home game before Feb. 11. Hampus Lindholm also logged more than 30 minutes on defense for the second straight game in the absence of Fowler and Manson.
“You’ve got guys out of the lineup, and you need people to step up,” Gibson said. “Cam stepped up when Hampus was out, and now it’s vice versa. He’s obviously logging a lot of minutes, and we need people to step up. Tonight we got a lot of contributions from everyone.”
Tampa Bay had won six of seven to pull even with Florida atop the Atlantic Division, but fell behind 4-0 early in the third period at Honda Center. The Lightning went 0 for 7 in their worst power play performance of the season, and Deslauriers scored while Vasilevskiy was on the bench to create a 6-on-4 advantage.
“It’s rare to see our team go (0 for 7) on the power play, but we had some great looks,” Cooper said. “We did everything but put the puck in the net. We gave ourselves a chance, but the hole we dug was too deep.”
The Lightning had a full complement of six defensemen after playing with just four blueliners in Los Angeles on Tuesday due to injuries and salary cap constraints.
Forward Ondrej Palat missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury, which meant Perry could play on the top line in his first game at Honda Center since the Ducks bought out the last two years of his contract in the summer of 2019.
Now-departed Ducks general manager Bob Murray paid the biggest buyout in franchise history to cut ties with Perry after he was slow to return to form following major knee surgery. Since the controversial move, the Ducks have been the second lowest-scoring team in the NHL, while Perry has been a steady contributor in Dallas, Montreal and Tampa Bay.
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