Lightning’s third line getting it done early

TAMPA — They’ve often started games this year, and the Lightning depend on their third forward line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow to provide a spark out of the gate.

In Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Red Wings, the line not only scored on its first shift of the game, but also on the first shift of the second period.

Since debuting last season after the Lightning acquired Coleman and Goodrow at the trade deadline — and shining through Tampa Bay’s postseason run — the Gourde line only continues to provide disciplined and determined hockey.

“They’ve got a better part of three quarters of this year, a lot of the playoffs last year,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “So, for all intents and purposes, they’ve had a full year of games to get to know each other and they’ve got a lot of chemistry. They know where each other is; they’ve got a lot of attributes that blend with each other.”

Lightning center Blake Coleman, center, tries to beat the Red Wings’ Michael Rasmussen, left, and Sam Gagner, right, to the puck during the first period Sunday. [ DUANE BURLESON | Associated Press ]

They’re known for making life hard on opponents with their forecheck, and Sunday, they utilized their aggressiveness to manufacture both Lightning goals in a low-scoring game.

“There’s going to be off nights,” Coleman said. “That’s life and that’s hockey, and the more good…

Click here to read the full article at Tampa Bay Times >