By Leo Haggerty

GAMES 8 & 9

Again, I must apologize to you, our loyal readers, but we have another change in plans. Nothing major but a small adjustment in the schedule.

Our original thought process was to report on every Bolts home game the day after it is played. We would add in any away contest to the next home tilt. A good plan but, after the first couple of weeks, we saw that with our plethora of columns, we were going to have to make some changes.

So, here’s our plan moving forward. Our columnists will stay in their same order and that’s THE FINISHING KICK by Paul Wales on Tuesday followed by GAME ON by Rob Kriete on Wednesday finishing up with SZNAP CHAT with Adam Sznapstajler on Thursday.

Now, here’s where we’re going to do some experimentation. Friday will be my column and, until the end of the football season, that will consist of LEO’S LOSERS. Saturday will be reserved for our BULLS RECAP with football leading into Men’s and Women’s Basketball as well as the other intercollegiate sports that come into play. Sunday will be the BUCCANEERS RECAP and, with the NFL morphing into a 12-month activity, that will continue for the entire year.

That brings us to Monday and that will be our LIGHTNING RECAP.  When there’s a break, like a bye week or the pause for the Winter Olympics, there will be a copulation of YOU TALKIN’N TO ME along with our ever-popular POLL QUESTION as well as other compelling content on current topics as they occur.

So, without further delay, let’s get to the LIGHTNING RECAP. Enjoy


Tampa Bay exploded for three first period goals in route to a 5-1 triumph over Arizona at Amalie Arena. The win propelled the Lightning to 4-3-1 totaling 9 points for the Bolts. The loss was the first for the Coyotes in seven games and kept the Desert Cats at 12 points.

Tampa Bay scored first at 5:39 of the opening period. F Alex Killorn (5) wristed one past G Ivan Prosvetov (23 saves on 28 shots) with assists going to F Steven Stamkos (7) and D Jan Rutta (2) to give the Bolts a 1-0 advantage.

The Bolts padded their lead at 7:40 of the first period. Again, it was Killorn (6) with another wrister that was unassisted and advanced the Tampa Bay lead to 2- zip.

The Lightning finished of the first stanza scoring trifecta at 10:41. With the Bolts on the power play, Stamkos (5) did the honors putting the biscuit in the basket with helpers from D Victor Hedman (8) and F Brayden Point (2) increasing the Tampa Bay lead to 3-nil going into the first intermission.

The Bolts scored the only goal of the middle period at 13:38. F Alex Barre-Boulet (1) tipped the rubber disk into the back of the net with an assist to D Mikhail Sergachev (4) giving the Lightning a commanding 4-0 advantage.

Arizona finally dented the scoreboard at 12:36 of the third period. F Lawson Crouse (2) managed to get the puck past G Andrei Vasilevskiy (24 saves on 25 shots) cutting the Bolts margin to 4-1 but it was too little and too late for the Coyotes.

The Lightning finished off the scoring with 1:37 left in regulation. D Andrej Sustr (1) blistered a slap shot into the net with the help of F Anthony Cirelli (4) and Killorn (3) making the final arithmetic 5-1 in favor of the Bolts.

I big thank you to Peter Blake for manning the Its Sports Magazine seat at Amalie Arena while I was in flight to New Orleans to cover the Bucs game with the Saints on Halloween.  Thanks, Peter.


After giving up a fluke goal early in the contest, Tampa Bay stormed back with three unanswered markers and held off Washington by a 3-2 count at Amalie Arena.  The win moved the Lightning to 5-3-1 giving the Bolts 11 points.  The loss dropped the Capitals to 5-1-3 keeping the Caps at 13 points.

Washington scored on its first shot of the tilt with an assist from the Lightning just 1:13 into the first period.  F Brett Leason (1) sent a puck on net that Hedman tried to deflect away but inadvertently tipped it over the shoulder of Vasilevskiy (33 saves on 35 shots) giving the visitors an early 1-0 advantage.

Tampa Bay tied to score at 3:18 of the middle period.  Killorn (7) found the back of the net with an assist going to Cirelli (5) knotting the score at 1 all.

The Lightning took the lead at 8:40 of the second period.  During a 5-on-3 power play, Cirelli (2) slid the rubber disk past G Vitek Vanecek (26 saves on 29 shots) with the helpers going to Barre-Boulet (3) and Hedman (9) to push the lead to 2-1.

The Bolts lit up the scoreboard again at 2:56 of the final period.  Point (4) found the back of the net with the assists going to F Taylor Raddysh (1) and Cirelli (6) stretching the lead to 3-1.

The Capitals answered with a power play counter of their own at 11:38.  F Conor Sheary (1) redirected the puck into the net to cut the Tampa Bay margin to 3-2.

That was a close as the Caps would get as both goalies pitched a shutout from that point of the game.  That gave the Lightning a hard fought two points.

Before I get to the post game Q & A, a quick explanation on the featured photo.  Want to welcome our good friend Gabrielle Shirley to the Lightning media corps.  She will be joining in game between periods host JP Peterson as well as handling player interviews.  A great hire by the Bolts and welcome aboard, Gabby.

Had a chance to talk with Cooper and Point and Cirelli after the contest.  Their responses to my questions are below.

LH : You recorded two back-to-back wins at home over two pretty good hockey teams record wise.  What does that do for the confidence of the team?

JC : Well, I don’t think our confidence had been shaken.  It’s execution. That’s the big thing.  A lack of execution has been the problem.  Turning pucks over but we’re slowly working through that.  We were able to take points, like you said, playoff teams.  It’s good for us and, like you said, they’re confidence builders.

LH : Does #88 ever do anything that surprises you now?

AC : No, not any more.  The past couple of years he’s never out of the play.  He’s always there making that second effort to come around and make the big save for us.  He’s a rock back there each and every game.  He bailed us out this game and I’m really happy to have him back there.

LH : Take us through your goal.  What did you see and what were you thinking?

BP : Just a puck that our guys jumped on and Radd finds me.  Had a chance to break in and I just tried to pull the goalie over and then throw it back.  I didn’t pull him over.  He stopped moving so I didn’t pull him over much.  It was luck that it found a spot under his arm and bounces in for a goal.