LIGHTNING RECAP – MARCH 19 
By Leo Haggerty

GAMES 25 TO 28

After one game earlier this season, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper said it is of major importance to make sure you attain a point a game.  Well, that’s exactly what the Bolts did in the last four game set.

Here comes the funny part.  That “point a game” mentality, which comes out to four points in four games for the mathematically challenged, is now considered a bad quartet of games by the Bolts.

Below is the recap of the last four Tampa Bay tilts.  Enjoy.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4  DETROIT RED WINGS 6
On the last leg of their longest road trip of the season, Detroit bested Tampa Bay 6-4 in The Motor City.  The Red Wings moved to 8-16-4 while the Bolts fell to 18-5-2.

Both teams combined for five goals in the opening 20 minutes.  Detroit dented the scoreboard at 8:31 when D Troy Stecher (1) notched his first score of the campaign.

The Lightning answered that marker with one of their own at 10:55.  D Mikhail Sergachev (2) found the back of the net to tie the score at one all.

Detroit regained the advantage at 12:12.  F Dylan Larkin (6) put the biscuit in the basket behind Tampa Bay G Curtis McElhinney (17 saves on 22 shots) to give the home team a 2-1 lead.

The Bolts scored just 1:43 later.  F Steven Stamkos (12) converted a power play opportunity on Red Wings G Jonathan Bernier (40 saves on 44 shots) to knot the score at 2-2.

The final goal of the first period came at 14:56.  Detroit F Anthony Mantha (7) put The Motor City guys back on top by a 3-2 count.

The Red Wing extended their margin with two goals in the middle period.  F Luke Glendening (3) put the biscuit in the basket just 33 seconds into the second period.  F Robby Fabbri (5) made it 5-2 at 4:20 and that score held up as the teams went to their dressing rooms for the second intermission.

The Bolts closed the gap to 5-4 with two late third period goals.  F Brayden Point (9) scored at 15:51 and F Ondrej Palat (11) lit the lamp 1:14 later to make it interesting.

The Red Wings closed out the scoring with an empty netter with just 20 left in regulation.  F Vladislav Namestnikov (5) made the final arithmetic 6-4 and gave Detroit a much needed two points.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS 3  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 6
The Lightning returned home after a successful five game road trip and defeated the Predators 6-3.  The Bolts improved to 19-5-2 and the Preds fell to 11-16-1.

It marked the first night Tampa Bay could open up Amalie Arena for limited fan attendance.  Also, the Bolts raised the 2020 Stanley Cup Championship banner.  That gave the home team a lot of extra motivation and it showed in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Lightning jumped to an early lead in the first period.  F Tyler Johnson (6) maneuvered the puck past Nashville G Pekka Rinne (22 saves on 27 shots) at 6:55.  That was followed by a marker by F Mathieu Joseph (6) at 18:35.

Tampa Bay extended its lead in the middle period.  F Alex Killorn (7) scored on a power play at 2:24 to make it 3-zip in favor of the Bolts.

Nashville finally got on the scoreboard at 12:02 of the second period.  F Yakov Trenin (2) managed to get the puck behind Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy (28 saves on 31 shots) to cut the lead to 3-1

The Bolts increased their margin with just 1:12 left before the second intermission.  Point (10) lit the lamp to give Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead going to the dressing room.

The Preds cut the lead to 4-3 early in the final period.  D Alexandre Carrier (1) scored at 3:17 and that was followed 1:47 later with a power play tally by F Erik Haula (3) to trim the Lightning lead to 4-3.

Tampa Bay quenched any thoughts of a Nashville comeback with two late third period goals.  F Blake Coleman (6) struck gold at 10:02 and that was followed by an empty net marker by F Anthony Cirelli (8) with 1:34 left in regulation giving the Lightning a hard fought two points.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS 4  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 1
Nashville flipped the scrip to spit the two game series with a 4-1 victory over Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena.  That advanced the Preds to 12-16-1 with the loss dropping the Bolts to 19-6-2.

After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Predators erupted for three second period tallies.  The first came at 3:58 when F Eeli Tolvanen put Nashville on the board.  Then, F Viktor Arvidsson (4) slid the puck past McElhinney (22 saves on 25 shots) to post a power play score at 9:14.  The Preds finished off the middle period barrage at 11:46 when F Calle Jarnkrok (7) notched a shorthanded goal to make the score 3-nil at the second break.

The Lightning got on the board at 10:03 of the final period.  Stamkos (13) managed to get the puck behind Rinne (38 saves on 39 shots) but that was all the Preds netminder was going to allow.

D Mattias Ekholm (5) finished off the scoring with an empty netter with just 20 seconds left in regulation.  That allowed the Predators to come away with a split an two valuable points.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4  DALLAS STARS 3 SO
The Lightning travelled down to The Lone Star state and came away with a 4-3 Shootout victory over the Stars.  That put Tampa Bay at 20-6-2 on the season and Dallas tumbled to 9-9-7.

The Bolts scored first at 3:55 of the opening period.  Point (11) found a way to direct the disc past Stars G Jake Oettinger (33 saves on 36 shots) to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 advantage.

Dallas got on the board in the second period.  D Miro Heiskanen (3) placed a power play goal past Vasilevskiy (24 saves on 27 shots) to tie the score at 1 all.

The Lightning retook the lead at 14:20 of the middle period.  Joesph (7) put the biscuit in the basket to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.

The Bolts widened the gap at 11:49 of the final period.  Stamkos (14) converted a power play opportunity to stretch the Tampa Bay lead to what seemed to be an insurmountable 3-1 count.

But, just when you thought the Stars were done, the Big D Crew struck for two late third period markers.  The first was by F Jamie Benn (5) at 17:54 and the equalizer came from F Alexander Radulov (4) just 41 seconds later.

After a scoreless overtime period, the teams moved on to the Shootout phase.  F Jason Robertson of the Stars scored first but Tampa Bay rookie F Ross Colton matched that.  Vasilevskiy stoned Pavelski and Point scored for the Bolts.  #88 stopped Radulov to give the Lightning a much harder than needed two points.

Now, the Bolts return to Amalie Arena for a two game home stand with Chicago and Florida.  Then, it’s back to Texas for two more contests with Dallas.

Look for our next LIGHTNING RECAP around the end of March.  Until then, stay safe.