LIGHTNING RECAP – APRIL 27
By Leo Haggerty

GAMES 45 THROUGH 48

Another good four game stretch for the Bolts.  A 3-1 log and that equates to six points but it was a struggle as you will see below.

So, without further adieu, let’s get at it.  Enjoy.

CAROLINA HURRICANES 2  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3 OT
The Bolts took the first game of the two game series with a 3-2 overtime conquest of the Canes at Amalie Arena.  That advanced Tampa Bay to 30-13-2 on the campaign and dropped Carolina to 29-10-5.

The Lightning scored first at 14:42 of the opening period.  F Alex Killorn (12) lit the lamp to put the home team up 1-0.

The Bolts extended their lead at 2:08 of the middle period.  F Brayden Point (19) put the puck behind Carolina G Petr Mrazek (33 saves on 36 shots) with the man advantage to put Tampa Bay up 2-zip.

The Hurricanes cut the lead in half at 10:03 of the second period with a power play score of their own.  F Andrei Svechnikov (13) put the biscuit in the basket to cut the leading lead to 2-1.

Carolina came all the way back at 1:08 of the third period.  D Brady Skjel (2) maneuvered the disk past Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy (25 saves on 27 shots) to knot the score at two apiece.

Both goalies took charge from there and the contest went to extra time where F Yanni Gourde (16) ended the fray at 2:50 of overtime.  That gave Tampa Bay a hard earned two points over one of the other teams that’s dueling with the Bolts for the top spot in the Central Division.

CAROLINA HURRICANES 4  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 1
The Hurricanes split the two game road set with a 4-1 triumph over the Lightning.  That moved the Canes to 30-10-5 in 2020-21 and the Bolts fell to 30-14-2.

Both goalies owned the first 20 minutes but Carolina posted two scores within 25 seconds in the middle period.  F Nino Niederreiter (16) lit the lamp at 7:48 and that was followed by a marker from F Jordan Staal at 8:13 to put the Hurricanes up 2-0.

The Canes weren’t finished in the second period.  F Steven Lorentz (2) put the rubber disk past Vasilevskiy (32 saves on 35 shots) at 16:45 to give the Hurricanes a 3-0 advantage.

Point (20) cut the Carolina lead to 3-1 at 17:03.  Sadly for Tampa Bay, that was the only puck the Lightning would get behind Canes G Alex Nedeljkovic (26 saves on 27 shots) and Jordan Martinook (3) added an empty net tally with just 3 seconds left in regulation to make the final arithmetic 4-1.  That gave the Hurricanes a much needed two points as the race for the top spot in the Central Division comes down to the last 10 games.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 1  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3
Tampa Bay got back on the winning track with a 3-1 home triumph over Columbus.  The Lightning advanced to 31-14-2 while the Blue Jackets dipped to 15-25-9.

The Jackets dented the scoreboard first at 9:36.  D Seth Jones put the puck behind Bolts G Curtis McElhinney (24 saves on 25 shots) to give Columbus an early 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay tied the score at 14:51 of the middle period.  F Blake Coleman (9) lit the lamp to even the score at one all.

The Lightning took the lead for good at 8:14 of the final period.  F Ondrej Palat (13) beat Blue Jackets G Elvis Merzlikins (25 saves on 27 shots) and Coleman (10) added an empty netter at 19:35 to give the Bolts a 3-1 victory and two big points in the standings.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 3  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4 OT
It took the Lightning extra hockey but the Bolts prevailed over the Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime at Amalie Arena.  The win pushed Tampa Bay to 31-14-2 and the loss sunk Columbus to 15-25-9 on the campaign.

The Bolts cracked the scoring column first at 11:50 of the first period.  Palat  (14) lit the lamp to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

Columbus answered that goal with two of their own before the end of the opening 20 minutes of play.  F Mikhail Grigorenko (3) scored at 17:16 and F Eric Robinson (6) slid the puck past Vasilevskiy (19 saves on 22 shots) with just 31 seconds left to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 advantage going into the first intermission.

Tampa Bay pulled even at 6:09 of the second period.  F Mathieu Joseph (12) redirected a pass into the net to tie the score at two each.

The Blue Jackets took the lead just 55 seconds into the final period.  Robinson (7) notched his second goal of the night to give Columbus a 3-2 advantage but the lead would be short lived.

The Bolts tied the score at 2:41 of the third period.  F Alex Barre-Boulet (1) registered his first National Hockey League goal beating Joonas Korpisalo (23 saves on 26 shots) and that was the end of the night for the Columbus netminder.

Both goalies pitched shutouts the rest of the way and that meant bonus hockey but it didn’t last long.  D Victor Hedman wristed the puck from the slot past Merzlikins (7 saves on 8 shots) just 10 seconds into overtime to add two more points to the Bolts total.

The next eight games will be crucial as Tampa bay battles Carolina and Florida for the top spot in the Central Division.  Look for the next LIGHTNING RECAP in early May.