By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – Professional & Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bolts have two more games before they complete their six-game road adventure.  The first will conclude their Eastern Canadian swing with a tilt in Montreal then back to the States for a foray in Boston.

Then it’s home for three contests with teams that made the 2019 playoffs.The only Eastern Conference opponent will be Pittsburgh and the Penguins are sandwiched around Western Conference adversaries Colorado and Nashville.

A very difficult stretch of five games to say the least.  Let’s see how Tampa Bay performed, shall we?


The Lightning went into Centre Bell in Montreal and beat the Habs 3-1.  The win moved the Lightning to 3-2-1 on the season and that adds up to 7 points.  The loss dropped the Canadiens to 2-2-2 on the campaign and that’s good for 6 points.

Montreal struck first at 15:46 of the opening period.  That 1-0 count would stand until right before the first intermission.  Bolts D Braydon Coburn (1), with assists from F Stephen Stamkos and F Nikita Kucherov, got his first marker of the campaign just seven seconds before the horn to end the first period.

Tampa Bay took the lead just 64 ticks into the middle period.  Stamkos (4) notched a power-play marker, with the help of Kucherov and D Victor Hedman, to give the Lightning their first lead at 2-1.

The Bolts extended the advantage to 3-1 less than a minute later.  F Tyler Johnson (2) lit the lamp at 2:01 with assists from F Ondrej Palat and D Ryan McDonagh.  The score remained at 3-1 as both teams went to their respective locker rooms after 40 minutes of play.

The third period belonged to both guys between the pipes.  G Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Bolts and G Carey Price for the Habs both pitched shutouts in the last 20 minutes to keep the arithmetic at 3-1 in favor of the Lightning.

#88 (3-1) made 33 saves in securing the victory for Tampa Bay.  Price (2-2-1) stopped 19 of 22 shots in absorbing the loss for the Canadiens.

With the victory, the Bolts head out of the Great North with a 2-1 log.  Now, it’s off to Beantown to take on the Bruins.


The Bolts overcame a questionable penalty call late in the contest to beat the Bruins 4-3 in a Shootout at the TD Garden.  Tampa Bay improved to 4-2-1 (9 points) with the win.  Boston fell to 5-1-1 (11 points) with the loss.

Both teams scored in each period of regulation.  The Bruins dented the scoreboard first at 9:34 of the opening period with a power-play goal to take a 1-0 lead.  The Bolts tied it when F Brayden Point (3), with assists from F Yanni Gourde and Hedman, lit the lamp with one tick left in the first period.

In the second stanza, Boston took a 2-1 lead at 7:36 with another power-play marker.  Tampa Bay evened the count when F Mathieu Joseph (2), with help from F Alex Killorn, and  put the biscuit in the basket at 10:32 to knot the score at 2-all.

The Bolts took their first lead of the contest at 13:53.  D Kevin Shattenkirk (4) found a way to get the puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with assists from Stamkos and Point.  The Bruins drew even at 16:55 with their third power-play score of the contest and it stayed tied at three’s at the end of regulation.

There was no scoring in the overtime period so both teams went to the shoot out.  After both teams were stopped by Rask and Vasilevskiy in the first three rounds, Stamkos managed to find the back of the net at the beginning of the fourth round and #88 sealed the deal with a save.

Vasilevskiy (4-1) made 33 saves to secure the victory.  Rask (3-0-1) stopped 37 shots in taking the loss in the shoot out.

The Lightning now finally head back south to take on Colorado.  Let’s see how the Bolts do getting to play a home game at Amalie Arena.


As is usually the case when a hockey teams come home after an extended road trip, they experience a clunker.  That’s what happened as the Bolts were buried by the Avalanche 6-2.

The win moved Colorado to 7-0-1 (15 points) on the campaign.  The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-3-1 (9 points) for the regular season.

Colorado jumped ahead at the 3:09 mark of the first 20 minutes of play.  Tampa Bay matched that goal with one of their own by Gourde (1) with the assists going to McDonagh and Shattenkirk at 17:35.

Sadly, the middle period was all Avs.  Early in the second period, Colorado found the back of the net three times in less than three minutes to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes of play.

The Avalanche increased their margin to 5-1 at the 6:30 mark of the final period.  The Lightning got one back at 11:48 when Hedman (1) got that elusive first goal of the year.  The assists were credited to Shattenkirk and Killorn.

Colorado closed out the scoring at 14:27 and the Avs remained unbeaten behind G Pavel Francous (2-0) who stopped 44 of 46 shots. Vasilevskiy (4-2) made 18 saves in the loss.

Next up for Tampa Bay is another home encounter with Pittsburgh.  Let’s hope the Bolts have a better result.


 The Lightning got back on the good foot with a 3-2 win over the Penguins.  Tampa Bay improved to 5-3-1 (11 points) on the campaign and Pittsburgh fell to 6-5 (12 points) for the regular season.

The Bolts struck first at 9:46 of the opening period.  Killorn (1) recorded his initial goal with assists from Kucherov and D Mikhail Sergachev.

The Pens notched two goals of their own in the middle period.  That gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.

The Bolts managed to tie the score at 7:07 of the final stanza.  F Cedric Paquette (1) did the honors with help from McDonagh and F Luke Witkowski and that goal seemed to energize the Lightning.

After the Pens were whistled for a penalty at 17:55, the Tampa Bay power-play went to work.  At 19:03, Hedman (2) deposited the winner behind Penguins G Tristan Jarry.  Stamkos and Johnson were credited with the assists.

#88 (5-2) turned away 37 of 39 shots to record the victory.  Jarry stopped 45 shots and took the hard-luck loss.

Now, the home stand concludes with a contest with Nashville.  See if the Bolts can put together back-to-back home victories.


You may notice that this column is a little more in-depth than all the others.  That’s because this is the first contest that I have been able to attend in person with many to follow.

Nashville drew first blood at 14:24 of the opening period with a power-play marker.  After a tripping penalty to the Bolts Palat at 13:54, the Predators F Calle Jarnkrok (3) shot the puck from the right wing.  The rubber disk deflected off the stick of the Tampa Bay D Erik Cernak and popped over the right shoulder of Lightning G Curtis McElhinney.  The first period came to a close with the Preds holding a 1-0 lead.

Just 32 seconds into the second period, Tampa Bay knotted the score at one apiece with a power-play goal of their own.  After Nashville F Ryan Johansen was whistled for slashing 26 seconds into the period, Stamkos (5) got the puck in the slot courtesy of Palat and Kucherov.  #91 wasted no time in banging the puck behind Predators G Juuse Saros.

The Bolts went up 2-1 at 10:35 of the middle period.  Johnson (3) jumped on a loose puck in front of the Preds net and deposited the biscuit in the basket.  Point and Hedman were credited with the assists.  There was no other scoring in the second period and both teams went to the locker room with Tampa Bay holding a slim one-goal lead.

There was no scoring in the final 20 minutes until 14:47.  At 14:31, McDonagh was called for interference and that put Nashville on the power-play.  After 44 seconds, D Roman Josi (5) as able to find the back of the net and tied the contest at 2-all.  There was no more scoring in regulation so the tilt moved to the overtime phase.

The Bolts were penalized for too many men on the ice at 1:11 of OT.  The oddity was that was the second too many Bolts on the pond penalty and that’s an infraction that you probably won’t see twice in two or three months.  To have it called twice in one game has to make one wonder if the lineman were not alerted to that before the puck dropped.  I’m just saying.

Nashville capitalized on the 4-on-3 man advantage scoring just four seconds after the penalty expired.  The Bolts weren’t able to get their skater on the ice to make it even strength before D Ryan Ellis (2) ended the contest from point-blank range.

Both goaltenders were stellar.  Preds G Saros (1-3) turned away 28 shots in preserving his first victory of the season.  Bolts G McElhinney (0-1-2) stopped 38 shots in taking the loss.

Ok, not a bad five-game segment.  Seven points out of a possible ten.  If the Bolts keep that up, the arithmetic at the end of the season will add up to be another triple digit campaign.

Now, it’s back to the road for the Bolts and it starts with the Big Apple Trifecta.  That can only mean a three-game swing through the greater New York metropolitan area.  First the Rangers, and then the Devils,  finishing up with the Islanders before the Lightning head across the pond for back-to-back contests with the Sabres at the NHL Global Series in Stockholm.

How will Tampa Bay fare in this five-game roadie to NY and Sweden?  Check out my column in a little over a week to find out.