By Leo Haggerty


Editor’s Note : With Its Sports Magazine having a dedicated press credential for all Lightning home games, we are going to change our format just a wee bit.  Instead of covering the Bolts in four-game segments, we will cover ALL home games individually.  We will add the away games to the next home game as we have done below with the road tilts in Detroit and Washington, DC respectively.

We hope you enjoy the extended compelling content that we at ISM is providing.  Enjoy.


Tampa Bay stormed back from an early 3-0 deficit and defeated Detroit 7-6 in overtime.  The win moved the Bolts to 1-1-0 on the season and that adds up to a couple of points in the standings.  The opening night loss dropped the Red Wings to 0-1-0 and that equates to 0 points so far in 2021-22.

The Motor City Guys scored first at 14:00 of the first period.  F Dylan Larkin (1) lit the lamp giving Detroit an early 1-0 lead and it would stay that way as both teams went to their locker room after 20 minutes of play.

The Red Wings increased their margin early in the middle period.  F Todd Bertuzzi (2) netted both of the markers with the first just 18 seconds after the first intermission and the second coming at 7:52.  That gave Detroit a commanding 3-0 advantage.

The Bolts finally dented the scoreboards just 18 ticks later.  F Ondrej Palat (1) put the biscuit in the basket with D Victor Hedman (2) and F Nikita Kucherov (1) credited with the assists. That cut the Red Wings lead to 3-1.

Detroit answered at 12:29 of the second stanza.  Again, it was Bertuzzi (3) with the hat trick as he beat G Andrei Vasilevskiy (20 saves on 26 shots) with a power play marker to extend the Motor City Guys lead to 4-1.

The Lightning came back with two goals before the end of the middle 20 minutes.  F Steven Stamkos (2) did the honors on both occasions with Tampa Bay having the man advantage.  The first came at 15:19 with the helpers going to Kucherov (2) and D Mikhail Sergachev (1) trimming the lead to 4-2.  The second came 1:12 later with both assists going again to #98 and #86 pulling the Bolts to within a goal at 4-3.

The home team came out on fire for the third period and quickly posted two more scores.  For the fourth time this evening, Bertuzzi found the back of the net at 4:35 and that was followed at 7:10 when former Bolts F Vladislav Namestnikov (1) slid the puck past #88 giving Detroit a 6-4 lead.

Tampa Bay was not finished and put up three goals of their own to send the contest to overtime.  The first was scored by F Ross Colton (1) at 13:43 with D Erik Cernak (1) garnering the only assist.  The second came at 16:25 when Kucherov (1) beat G Alex Nedeljkovic (41 saves on 48 shots) with Tampa Bay on the power play and helpers going to Hedman (3) and Stamkos (3).  The final third period goal by the Lightning went to F Alex Killorn (2) just 1:16 later with assists going to Hedman (4) and F Anthony Cirelli (1) that tied the score at 6 all forcing overtime.

Palat (2) notched his second goal of the contest 2:43 into the extra session.  The assists went to Hedman (5) and F Brayden Point (1) giving the Lightning a hard fought initial victory in 2021 and their first two points of the campaign.


In a complete reversal of the previous contest when it came to goal scoring, Tampa Bay came from behind again to notch a 2-1 victory over Washington.  That improved the Bolts to 2-1-0 on the season for four points in the standing.  The extra time defeat left the Caps at 1-0-1 putting them at 3 points for the campaign.

After a scoreless first period. the Capitals struck first with just 69 seconds left before the second intermission.  F Alex Ovechkin (2) maneuvered the puck past Vasilevskiy (32 saves on 33 shots) to give Washington a 1-0 lead and that stood up going into the third period.

The Lightning got on the scoreboard at 4:23.  Sergachev (1) deposited the rubber disc behind G Vitec Vanecek (22 saves on 24 shots) with Stamkos (4) and Cernak (2) recording the assists.  That knotted the score at 1 apiece and it stayed that way forcing bonus hockey at the end of regulation.

Stamkos (3) provided the game winner at 4:55 of overtime.  The lone helper went to F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (1) and gave the Bolts a huge two points.


For the second straight home encounter, Tampa Bay came out on the wrong side of the scoreboard.  This time the Lightning fell to the Florida Panthers to the tune of 4-1.  The win kept the Cats unbeaten at 3-0-0 for 6 big points in the standings.  The loss dropped the Bolts to 2-2-0 and kept them at 4 points on the campaign.

Tampa Bay has given up the first goal in all three of their previous games and this one was no exception.  After a scoreless first period, Florida broke the ice at 6:12 of the middle period.  D Brandon Montour (1) put the puck behind Vasilevskiy (28 saves on 31 shots) with the Cats on the power play giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

The Lightning got on the scoreboard early in the final period. Point (1) found the back of the net behind G Spencer Knight (30 saves on 31 shots) with Hedman (6) and D Jan Rutta (1) getting the helpers to tie the contest at 1 each.

The Panthers would need only 56 seconds to break the tie.  F Aleksander Barkov (2) poked a loose puck in front into the net at 3:40 to put the Cats back on top 2-1.

Florida extended its lead at 13:19 of the third period.  F Anton Lundell (1) put the biscuit in the basket to increase the margin to 3-1.

The Panthers scored the final goal of the game and it was of the empty net variety.  F Anthony Duclair (3) deposited the puck into an unguarded net at 17:54 and that finished out the scoring with Florida winning by a 4-1 count.

Had a chance to catch up with F Steven Stamkos and F Brayden Point as well as HC Jon Cooper after the game.  Here’s what they had to say to my questions.

LH : Is the good news that this is happening in Game #4 and you have a chance to make adjustments rather than in Game #82?

SS : I guess, yeah.  There’s always a positive in certain cases.  We can’t go on the fact the Kutch isn’t here.  It’s a big loss for us.  Yeah, bad things are going to happen and that will be a problem for us for a while.  At least it’s happening now.  We just have to weather the storm like we did last year and put ourselves in a good position.

LH : Is it possible that you could be overpassing instead of shooting?

BP : Sure, that’s definitely something to look at.  I think that with Kutch in there on that spot on the power play, we’re used to having pucks move around and guys getting open and getting the pucks.  Kind of those tic-tac-toe plays but, like I said earlier, we just need to grind some out and get some greasy ones.

LH : You talk about the importance of playing to the process. 

JC : Well, Mr. Couch.  You’re in the building tonight, Mr. Couch.

Coach, what can I say?  With all the new faces and the rash of injuries, is the process now a work in progress?

JC : No, it’s not.  Like I said, Florida is a heck of a hockey team and we’re a good team as well.  Two good teams went at it and it turned out to be a one goal game whenever the lead changed with twelve of thirteen minutes left in the game.  Unfortunately, we gave up that third one but we’re going to get in games like this and we’re going to be in them a lot.  We just have to find a way to turn the tables.  We did it the other night in Washington but we didn’t do it tonight.  Like I said, there’s a lot of positives to take out of this game.  The one negative is that we didn’t win.