LIGHTNING RECAP – MARCH 25
By Leo Haggerty
The Bolts completed this quartet of contests winning all four. That equates to eight big points and that’s the best you can do.
So, without further adieu, here’s how the Lightning completed a perfect four game victory sweep. Enjoy.
GAMES 29 TO 32
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 2 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4
Tampa Bay won the opener of a two game home set over Chicago by a 4-2 count at Amalie Arena. The Bolts improved to 21-6-2 on the season and the Blackhawks dropped to 14-12-5 on the campaign.
Both teams scored twice in the opening period and The Windy City Guys did it first at 2:10. F Mattias Janmark (10) capitalized on a early man advantage to notch a power play marker that gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The Lightning tied the score at 13:15 and took the lead at 17:02 of the first period. F Alex Killorn (8) got the equalizer and F Yanni Gourde (9) gave the home team a 2-1 advantage by matriculating the puck past Chicago G Kevin Lankinen (19 saves on 22 shots) for a power play goal.
The lead was short lived as the Blackhawks knotted the score a two all. F Dylan Strom (5) deposited a power play score behind Tampa Bay G Andrei Vasilevskiy (19 saves on 21 shots) just 75 seconds before the first intermission.
Both netminders pitched shutouts in the middle period. The Bolts went ahead for good at 5:32 of the final period. Rookie F Ross Colton (2) put the biscuit in the basket to put Tampa Bay up 3-2. D Victor Hedman (6) added an empty net score with 16 ticks left in regulation to seal a hard earned two points for the Lightning.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 1 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4
The Lightning finished the two game home series with the Blackhawks with an impressive 4-1 victory. Tampa Bay moved to 22-6-2 while Chicago fell to 14-13-5 this season.
The Bolts opening the scoring at 6:21 of the opening 20 minutes. F Brayden Point (12) maneuvered the disk past Chicago G Malcolm Subban (25 saves on 29 shots) to put the Lightning up 1-0.
Tampa Bay broke it open with three unanswered goals in the middle period. F Anthony Cirelli (9) made it 2-zip at 1:53. Gourde (10) increased the margin to 3-nothing at 14:15. F Steven Stamkos (15) made it a four goal lead with a power play marker at 18:21.
The Blackhawks averted the shutout at 4:50 of the final period. F Alex DeBrincat (16) slid the puck past Vasilevskiy (30 saves on 31 shots) but that’s the only goal #88 would give up as the Lightning posted two more points with a convincing victory.
FLORIDA PANTHERS 3 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 5
In a battle of Central Division leaders, the Bolts won their fourth straight game with a hard fought 5-3 victory over the Panthers. That advanced the Lightning to 23-6-2 in 2020-21 and the Cats fell to 20-7-4 this year.
Florida scored first at 3:28 of the opening period. F Carter Verhaeghe (12) found the back of the net to give the Panthers an early 1-0 advantage.
Tampa Bay evened the count just 32 seconds later. Gourde (11) knotted the score at 1-all with his third goal in three consecutive games.
Both teams scored in the middle period as well. Killorn (9) would give the Bolts a 2-1 lead at 11:23 but the Cats answered that with just 1:36 left before the second intermission when D Gustav Forsling (2) beat Bolts G Curtis McElhinney (29 saves on 32 shots) with the Panthers on the power play.
The Lightning regained the lead at 5:22 of the final period. F Mathieu Joseph (8) lit the lamp to give the Bolts a 3-2 lead but Florida tied the score 1:03 later. Again on the power play, F Patrick Hornqvist (12) deposited to disc in the net to even the score at 3 each.
Tampa Bay took the lead for good at 10:56 of the third period with a power play goal of their own. F Tyler Johnson (7) beat Panther G Sergei Bobrovsky (19 saves on 23 shots) put the Lightning up 4-3.
Point (13) added an empty net insurance marker with 15 second left in the contest. That gave the Bolts a much needed two points and kept Tampa Bay on top of the Central Division.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 2 DALLAS STARS 1
In a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup finals, Tampa Bay took to the road and again emerged victorious by a 2-1 count over Dallas in Texas. The win propelled the Lightning to 24-6-2 while the Stars 10-11-8 plummeted to 10-11-8 in the opening game of the two game series.
This was the Bolts fifth consecutive victory. It was also the 12th consecutive win for Vasilevskiy which is a franchise record but it was not an easy victory to say the least.
Dallas opened the scoring at 4:32 of the first period. F Roope Hintz (9) slid the puck past Vasilevskiy (16 saves on 17 shots) on the power play. That turned out to be the only puck that got past #88 all night.
Tampa Bay posted two goals in the middle 20 minutes of play. Stamkos (16) lit the lamp at 8:08 with the Lightning on the power play. That was followed at 12:44 when Gourde (12), who is on fire with his fourth goal in four games, cashed in his own rebound putting the puck behind Stars G Anton Khudobin (24 saves on 26 shots) and that proved to be the game winner.
Both goalies were superb in the final period as the Stars pressed hard for the equalizer but to no avail. The victory gave the Bolts a hard earned two points.
Look for the next LIGHTNING RECAP the first week in April. That’s after Tampa Bay finishes out one more road game in Dallas and a single tilt against Carolina in Raleigh. Then its home for a two game soiree with Columbus to finish off the next quartet of games.
Until then, Happy Easter. Above all, STAY SAFE.