By Leo Haggerty


A good week for the Bolts.  Not a great week but six points out of a possible eight is nothing to sneeze at.

So, after a dozen games, the Lightning are sitting atop of the Central Division with a 9-2-1 log.  That equates to 19 points and that’s one better than the Panthers with Florida still with a game in hand.

So, without further adieu, here’s how the Bolts fared in Games 9 through 12.  Enjoy.

The Lightning finished off a short home stand with a 3-1 triumph over the Red Wings at Amalie Arena.  Tampa Bay moved to 7-1-1 with the victory while Detroit fell to 2-8-2 with the loss.

The Motor City Guys scored first midway through the opening period.  Former Bolt F Vladislav Namestnikov (2) slipped the puck behind Tampa Bay G Andrei Vasilevskiy (23 saves on 24 shots) at the 10 minute mark.

The Lightning answered at 13:26 of the first period.  F Pat Maroon (1) lit the lamp to tie the score at 1 all.

The Bolts took the lead at 17:29 of the middle period.  F Barclay Goodrow (1) put the biscuit behind Detroit G Thomas Greiss (29 saves on 31 shots) to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 advantage.

Goodrow (2) added an insurance goal with just 28 ticks left in regulation.  It was an empty netter and that insured the Lightning of a hard fought two points before head off to Nashville for a two game series with the Predators.

The Bolts continued their winning ways with a 4-1 road victory against the Predators.  The win advanced Tampa Bay to 8-1-1 while Nashville slipped to 5-7.

The Lightning dented the scoreboard at 9:07 of the first period.  F Anthony Cirelli (3) lit the lamp to give the Bolts an early 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay increased the lead to 2-0 at 13:02 of the second period.  Again it was Cirelli (4) sliding the puck behind Preds G Pekka Rinne (31 saves on 33 shots) to convert a power play opportunity.

Nashville cut the lead in half with a power play score of their own at 11:08 of the final period.  D Dante Fabbro (1) beat G Curtis McElhinney (23 saves on 24 shots) to close the gap to 2-1.

The Lightning sealed the deal with two empty net scores late in the third period.  F Blake Coleman (3) did the honors at 18:32 and F Steven Stamkos (5) closed out the scoring with two seconds left in regulation to earn another two points for the Bolts.

Tampa Bay swept the two game series with a 6-1 dismantling of homestanding Nashville.  With their sixth consecutive victory, the Bolts improved to 9-1-1 while the Preds dropped to 5-8 in 2021.

The Predators scored first 4:43 into the opening period.  F Rocco Grimaldi (2) maneuvered the puck past Vasilevskiy (32 saves on 33 shots) but that was the only puck that would elude #88.

The Bolts responded to that goal with three of their own in the first period in less than a three minute span.  Stamkos (6) tied the score at 10:28.  Then F Ondrej Palat (5) notched a power play marker at 12:31.  F Mathieu Joseph (2) finished off the three goal barrage at 14:03 to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 going into the first intermission.

After a scoreless second 20 minutes, the Lightning tacked on three more goals in the final period.  F Yanni Gourde (4) started the scoring at 6:40.  Tampa Bay tallied two more goals against Predators G Juuse Saros (24 saves on 30 shots) with both being of the power play variety.  Palat (5) and Joseph (3) each put the biscuit in the basket at 12:31 and 14:03 respectively to post another two point victory as the Lightning now travel to South Florida to play the Panthers.

The Bolts winning streak came to an abrupt end with a 5-2 road loss to the Panthers.  Florida advanced to 8-1-2 and Tampa Bay slipped to 9-2-1.

The Lightning were a step behind the Cats in the opening period and they paid the price.  F Frank Vatrano (2) put Florida on the board at 8:56.

The Panthers increased their margin at 8:31 of the middle period.  F Alex Wennberg (3) made it 2-0 and it looked like Florida was in complete control.

The Bolts showed signs of life at 10:55 of the second period.  F Brayden Point (5) fired a power play laser that got by Cats G Sergei Bobrovsky (19 saves on 21 shots) to cut the Panthers margin to 2-1.

Florida answered the Bolts score with one of their own just 1:59 later.  D Aaron Ekblad (4) power play blast eluded Vasilevskiy (24 saves on 28 shots) putting the Panthers back up by a pair of goals at 3-1.

Just a tick under two minutes later, the Cats increased their lead to 4-1.  This time it was former Lightning F Carter Verhaeghe (7) doing the honors against his former team.

Point (6) got Tampa Bay closer with another power play marker just 54 seconds into the final period.  The Panthers extinguished any comeback hope by the Lightning with one minute left in regulation.  Again it was a former Bolt, thus time F Brett Connolly (1), finding the empty net to close out the scoring.

With no deviation in the schedule, both teams will go at it again on Saturday in Sunrise before heading to Tampa Bay for the finale of this unusual trifecta.  Then it’s off to Big D for a two game set with the Stars.

Look for the next LIGHTNING RECAP then.  Stay safe.