CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Led by a big night by Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay took advantage of a rare off-night by Mike Smith.
Killorn had two goals and two assists to tie a career high for points as the Lightning struck for five unanswered goals, including four in the third period, in a 7-4 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Down 4-3 after two periods, Tampa Bay tied it 12 seconds into the third when Killorn pounced on a loose puck near the Flames face-off dot, spun and sent a backhander on net that slipped past Smith.
“The puck hasn’t really been falling my way for a lot of the season, so to have a game like this, it’s great and gets my confidence back,” said Killorn, who had just three points over his previous 16 games.
Killorn’s line with rookies Matthew Peca (one goal, two assists) and Yanni Gourde (two assists) combined for nine points.
“Early in the game, that line was really engaged,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “And you know how it is, they get one and all of a sudden, it’s like the balloon pops and now they’ve got the vibes going.”
Cory Conacher scored on a sharp angle at 5:16 to give the Lightning the lead for good at 5-4.
Just over a minute later, Steven Stamkos scored his 19th of the season and that was it for Smith. As he got the hook from coach Glen Gulutzan for David Rittich, Smith smashed his stick across the goalpost.
“It was disappointing to let your teammates down like that and lay an egg,” Smith said. “Just too many bad goals. It’s plain and simple.”
Smith entered the night sixth in the NHL with a .925 save percentage.
“What are we in, game 51? It’s the first time our goaltending couldn’t be considered a star in the game,” Gulutzan said.
Conacher’s second of the night at 8:26, on a shot from below the goal line, capped the third-period surge. Braydon Coburn and Matthew Peca also scored for Tampa Bay, which maintained its one-point lead over Vegas atop the overall standings.
Micheal Ferland, Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Matt Stajan scored for Calgary. After a seven-game winning streak, the Flames are winless in their last six (0-4-2).
“We’re going through a tough patch right now. There’s no doubt about it,” Stajan said. “Adversity has hit. We have to stick together in these walls and get through this.”
The Lightning improved to 4-2-0 on this stretch of eight straight games on the road. They play in Vancouver on Saturday.
“We needed to have a look in the mirror,” Stamkos said, “and come out with a lot more urgency and compete after the Winnipeg game (3-1 loss) and I thought we did that.”
Tied at 1, the Lightning took their first lead 2:04 into the second period when Killorn scored on the power play.
The lead was short-lived with Calgary roaring back with three straight goals to open up a 4-2 advantage.
After sitting in the penalty box on Killorn’s goal, Backlund made up for it on his next shift with a beautiful solo effort to tie it at 2 at 3:38. After crossing the Lightning blue line, he deked around Mikhail Sergachev with a nifty toe-drag, then promptly ripped a wrist shot into the top corner.
Less than two minutes later, Monahan gave Calgary the 3-2 lead, and Stajan added his second of the season at 14:27.
Smith stopped just 21 of 27 shots to fall to 20-15-6. Rittich made three saves.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, who improved to 30-9-2, had 42 saves.
NOTES: Calgary was 50-0-3 when leading after two dating to last season, but has lost two games in a row in regulation in which it led after 40 minutes. … Calgary has had the lead in each game in its skid. … Ferland has scored the first goal in a game five times, which leads the team.
Lightning: at Vancouver on Saturday night.
Flames: vs. Chicago on Saturday night.
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