LIGHTNING RECAP – GAMES 16 TO 20
By Leo Haggerty

Upon their return from across the pond, Tampa Bay posted a 3-2 record in this five-game segment for 6 points.  It started with a home win over the Rangers that was followed by a home loss to Winnipeg and a defeat at St. Louis.  The final two contest were both wins for the Bolts at Chicago and back home over the Ducks.

How did this transpire?  Check out my recap below to find that out.

NEW YORK RANGERS (W 9-3)

If there was any concern about whether the Lightning would have any fatigue hangover or staleness from their participation in the Global Series in Sweden, that was dispelled quickly with a 9-3 shellacking of the Rangers at Amalie Arena.  The win moved Tampa Bay to a 9-5-2 (20 points) log while the loss dropped New York to 8-7-2 (18 points) on the campaign.

The Bolts were on fire in the opening portion of the first period.  In a space of just under seven minutes, the Lightning had amassed a 4-0 advantage.

The first goal came just 2:39 into the contest.  D Luke Schenn (1) scored his first goal of the season with assists from F Nikita Kucherov (9) and F Brayden Point (8).

Then, Tampa Bay took it to another level with three goals in the space of just over a minute.  F Alex Killorn (4) started the barrage with a power play marker at 5:41 with assists going to Kucherov (10) along with F Steven Stamkos (11).

The onslaught continued just 39 seconds later with another power play score.  Kucherov (6) found the back of the net with helpers from D Victor Hedman (9) as well as Killorn (6) to push the score to 3-zip.

The margin when to 4-0 in just 22 seconds.  F Ondrej Palat (6) lit the lamp with the only assist going to D Ryan McDonagh (5) and that led to the exodus of Rangers G Alexandar Georgiev.

The Rangers finally cracked the scoring column at 14:27.  F Chris Krieder (5) slipped the puck past Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy to cut the margin to 4-1 and that’s how the first period would end.

The break didn’t slow the Lightning down one iota as the Bolts continued to attack New York backup goalie Henrik Lundqvist.  Tampa Bay posted another four goal period beginning at 7:07 with another power play score. Stamkos (6) found the back of the net with assists going to Hedman (10) and Kucherov (11).

The Bolts made it 6-1 at 10:19.  F Pat Maroon (4) scored with helpers from D Kevin Shattenkirk (10) along with F Yanni Gourde (5).

The Lightning scored their third goal of the second period at 14:17 when Shattenkirk (5) put the biscuit in the basket.  Assists went to Gourde (6) as well as F Cedric Paquette (4).

The final goal of the period was scored by Tampa Bay just 59 seconds before the end of the middle stanza.  Killorn (5) received credit for the goal with the assists being credited to Stamkos (12) and Hedman (11).  Both teams headed to their locker rooms with the Lightning holding an 8-1 advantage after 40 minutes of play.

The Rangers dented the scoreboard at 2:22 of the final period.  F Filip Chytil (5) scored to cut the margin to 8-2.

The Bolts countered at 12:24 when Gourde (5) put the puck over the goal line for their fourth power play goal of the contest.  Assists were given to F Tyler Johnson (6) and D Mikhail Sergachev (9).

Chytil (6) rounded out the scoring for New York with his second goal of the game at 15:28.  That made the final arithmetic 9-3 when the final horn sounded.

Vasilevskiy (7-4) stopped 20 of 23 shots to secure the victory.  Goalies Georgiev (4-4-1) and Lundqvist combined to save 26 of 35 shot in the loss.

The Bolts continue their home stand hosting Winnipeg this coming Saturday.  Let’s see how the Lightning deal with the Jets.

WINNIPEG JETS (L 4-3)

Winnipeg marched into Amalie Arena and stopped the Tampa Bay winning streak at three games with a 4-3 triumph.  The Jets improved to 12-8-1 (25 points) while the Bolts fell to 9-6-2 (20 points).

The Jets dented the scoreboard early in the opening period.   F Mathieu Perreault (5) lit the lamp to give Winnipeg a 1-0 advantage at 1:59 of the opening period.

Tampa Bay tied the contest at 1-all with just 49 ticks left in the opening stanza.  Hedman (4) found the back of the net with an assist from Stamkos (13) to send both clubs to the dressing room with the score all tied.

Winnipeg owned the middle period posting two goal.  The first came at 7:18 when F Jack Roslovic (4) put the biscuit in the basket at 7:18 to go up 2-1.

The Jets increased their lead just 21 seconds later with a power play marker.  F Nikolaj Ehlers (9) managed to get the puck past G Vasilevskiy with the man advantage. That put Winnipeg up 3-1 and that was how the second period ended.

Tampa Bay closed the gap to 3-2 when Stamkos (7) got the puck behind Jets G Connor Hellebuyck at 17:44.  Helpers went to Hedman (12) and F Anthony Cirelli (7) and that gave the Lightning hope of a late comeback.

That dream was eliminated 48 seconds later with an empty net tally.  F Kyle Connor lit the lamp to give the Jets a commanding 4-2 advantage.

The Bolts managed to cut the deficit to a goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation.  Cirelli (2) was credited with the score with Killorn (7) and Kucherov (12) notching the assists but it was too little and too late as Winnipeg held on for the road win.

G Hellebuyck (9-6-1) stopped 31 of 34 shots to post the victory.  #88 (7-5) took the loss saving 23 of 26 shots.

Now, the Lightning head to St. Louis to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues.  Expect this to be a low-scoring affair as well as a possible prelude to the 2020 Cup finals.

ST. LOUIS BLUES (L 3-1)

In a game that truly resembled a playoff caliber encounter, St. Louis beat the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1.  The win put the Blues at 13-4-5 (29 points) while the loss dropped the Bolts to 9-7-2 (20 points) on the campaign.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring at 16:36 of the opening period.  Cirelli (3) managed to slide the rubber disc behind Blues G Jordan Binnington.   Both Killorn (8) and Hedman (13) provided assists and both teams left the ice at the first intermission with the Lightning up 1-0.

The Blues tied the score at 1-all at 17:24 of the middle period.  F David Perron (9) put the biscuit in the basket behind Lightning G Vasilevskiy and that’s how the scored remained going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.

St. Louis took the lead at 6:16 of the final period.  F Oskar Sundqvist (4) gave the Blues a 2-1 lead and F Jaden Schwartz (5) tallied an empty net goal at 19:55 to make the final count 3-1 in favor of the home team.

#88 (7-6) took the hard luck loss for the Lightning saving 31 of 33 shots.  G Binnington (10-3-4)  earned the victory turning away 17 of 18 shots.

Now, the Bolts travel up I-55 to The Windy City for an encounter with the Chicago Blackhawks.  Let’s hope for a better outcome than the one in The Gateway City.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (W 4-2)

The Bolts blew into The Windy City and blew away the Blackhawks 4-2.  The win moved Tampa Bay to 10-7-2 (22 points) and the loss dropped Chicago to 9-9-4 (22 points).

The Lightning dented the scoreboard first at 16:10 of the opening period with a power play marker.  Sergachev (1) posted his initial goal of the campaign with assists going to Gourde (7) and Maroon (4).  The period would conclude with Tampa Bay holding a 1-0 lead.

The middle period belonged to the goaltenders.  Blackhawks G Corey Crawford turned away 10 shots while the Bolts G Curtis McElhinney stopped 8 shots.

Chicago tied the contest at 1-all at 8:27 of the final period.  D Brent Seabrook (3) found the back of the net but that score wouldn’t stand up for long.

Cirelli (4) put the Bolts back in front at 9:44.  The helpers went to Hedman (14) and Killorn (9).

Tampa Bay extended the lead to 3-1 at 12:23.  Point (5) put the biscuit in the basket with a single assist going to Palat (5).

The Blackhawks got within a goal at 17:17 when F Dylan Strome (5) lit the lamp and made things very interesting for the last just under three minutes of regulation.

Paquette (2) ended the suspense with an empty net goal with just a minute left in regulation.  Assists went to Cirelli (8) and Killorn (10) and that would be enough to give the Lightning a hard earned 4-2 triumph.

G Crawford (4-5-2) saved 31 of 34 shots in absorbing the loss.  G McElhinney (3-1-2) stopped 32 of 34 shots in garnering the victory.

Tampa Bay now travel back to The Right Coast to take on Anaheim to complete the five-game segment of their schedule.  Let’s see how the Bolts fare against another team from the Pacific Division.

ANAHEIM DUCKS (W 6-2)

To say the Bolts showed no drawback from their two-game road trip would be an understatement.  Tampa Bay broke a 2-2 tie midway threw the second period with four unanswered goals the rest of the way for a 6-2 triumph over Anaheim.  That moved the Lightning to 11-7-2 (24 points) on the season and the loss dropped the Ducks to 10-11-3 (23 points) on the campaign.

Both teams spent most to the opening period on the defensive until the Bolts broke into the scoring column at 16:08.  Point (6) gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead with assists going to D Jan Rutta (2) and F Cory Conacher (1).

The Ducks answered at the 18 minute mark.  With Tampa Bay on a power play, F Derek Grant (6) had a puck deflect off of one the referees to him all alone in the crease.  He made no mistake as he found a way to get the puck past Vasilevskiy for an unassisted marker.

Tampa Bay retook the lead at 5:28 of the middle period.  Kucherov (7) put the biscuit in the basket with helpers going to Cirelli (9) and Killorn (11).

Anaheim knotted the score at 2-all at 7:57.  F Richard Rakell (8) found the back of the net to make it a brand new hockey game.

At 12:39, the Lightning jumped back in front with a power play goal by Point (7) that was the second of the evening for #21.  He was sent in all alone on Ducks G Ryan Miller when he received a perfect rink long banked pass off the boards from Hedman (15).  The second assist went to, of all people, Vasilevskiy (1).

Tampa Bay extended the lead at 14:25.  Maroon (5) scored with assists from Paquette (5) and Sergachev (10) to make it 4-2 Bolts.  The score would not change when the horn sounded to end the second period.

It was all Lightning in the third period with two power play goals.  Cirelli (5) lit the lamp at 6:20 with the assists going to Kucherov (13) and Hedmon (16).

The Bolts final tally came at 17:17 and it went to Palat (7).  The assists were credited to Shattenkirk (11) and Gourde (8).  That made it 6-2 Tampa Bay and that would be the final count after 60 minutes of hockey.

G Vasilevskiy (8-6) recorded the victory making 36 saves out of 38 shots.  Miller (3-2-2) stopped 21 out of 27 shots in taking the loss.

In the next five-game sequence, Tampa Bay hosts Buffalo and St. Louis.  Then, it’s a quick trip up to DC to take on Washington in the first of back-to-back contests.  That’s followed by a quick turnaround back to Amalie Arena to host Carolina before heading up to Nashville to complete the five-gamer.

Can the Bolts build on their two-game winning streak?  Meet you at the TV to find out.