LIGHTNING RECAP – GAMES 56 T0 60
By Leo Hggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – Professional and Tampa Bay Lightning

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (W 2-1)

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (w 2-1 OT) 

EDMONTON OILERS (W 3-1)

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (W 5-3)

After Tampa Bay jumped out to 3-0 and 4-1 leads, Philadelphia made it interesting with two late goals with the man advantage in a little less than a minute to cut the deficit to 4-3.  Philly pulled their goalie again for the extra attacker but the Lightning withstood the Flyers onslaught and scored a late empty netter to claim an extremely physical 5-3 victory.  The win advantaged to Bolts to 39-15-5 (83 points) while the Broad Street Bullies fell to 32-20-7 (71 points) with the defeat.

The Bolts put the first marker on the scoreboard at 3:17 of the opening period on their first shot of the afternoon.  After a rush down the right side, the puck was centered and Killorn (22) managed to bank a pass off Philly D Ivan Provorov back to himself.  #17 then deposited the ricochet into the back of the net.  Assists were credited to Shattenkirk (22) along with Sergachev (21).

Tampa Bay went up 2-zip at 14:55 of the first period.  After a faceoff, the Lightning managed to take possession of the puck behind the Flyer goal.  The circular piece of rubber found its way to Paquette (6) who was planted in front of the crease and #13 made no mistake.  Credit Johnson (15) with a perfect feed from behind the net and Maroon (13) for prying the puck loose.

Tampa Bay increased their lead to 3-zip at 2:35 of the middle period. Verhaeghe (8), who was streaking down the middle of the ice on a late rush, took a perfect pass from Hedman (38) and found a way to put the biscuit in the basket behind Philadelphia G Carter Hart.  The second assist was given to Gourde (15).

With the Bolts Kucherov in the penalty box for hooking, the Flyers cut the margin to 3-1 with a power play goal at 8:57.  Provorov (11), with Hedman playing without a stick, fired a slap shot from the left point that could have got just a small piece of Cirelli’s stick as it eluded Vasilevskiy.  The rest of the period was spent with the Lightning whistled for five penalties and Philly four with three coming after the horn to end the second period.

The score didn’t change until 12:34 of the final period.  Point (21), after taking a pass from Stamkos (34), faked a slap shot from the high slot and skated toward the right circle where #21 wristed a perfect shot top shelf on the stick side.  Kucherov (44) was given the other assist.

Then, at 15:31, the craziness began.  Flyers F James van Riemsdyk (18), with Tampa Bay F Mitchell Stephens in the penalty box for hooking, scored a power play goal at 15:31 to make the count 4-2 Bolts.

Then, just 44 seconds later with G Hart off for the extra skater, Provorov blistered a slap shot that hit the post.  The ricochet went to F Claude Giroux (16) who slid the puck past a diving Vasilevskiy.

The Flyers continued to press for the tying goal and pulled the goaltender again.  The Lightning weathered the storm and F Nikita Kucherov (28) found the empty net at 19:38.  Assists went to F Steven Stamkos (35) and D Victor Hedman (40)

Head Coach Jon Cooper expressed some concern that all three Philly goals were scored with the man advantage.  The bottom line was that, in a even strngth situation, Tampa Bay was the much better team.

G Vasilevskiy () saved 30 of 33 shots on goal to record the victory.     G Hart () stopped 19 of 23 shots in a losing effort.

COLORADO AVALANCH (W 4-3 OT)

LAS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS