THE FINISHING KICK – NOVEMBER 23
By Paul Wales
Lightning Earn Wild Win Against the Wild
On Sunday, the Lightning won a huge bounce-back game against the Wild in a shootout on Hockey Fights Breast Cancer Night at Amalie Arena. Tampa is in the midst of a 4-game home stretch and hosted the Wild on the second night of a back-to-back weekend. After losing to the Devils the night before in a game where they held a 2 goal lead entering the third period, the Lightning prevailed in a shootout despite losing a two goal lead over the Wild with 3 minutes left in regulation and being without injured F Brayden Point and resting G Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning started off hot yet again in an exciting first period with a power play goal as Hedman fired in a wrist shot just inside the blue line that was tipped in front of the net by Cirelli just over a minute into the game. Pat Maroon added another goal for the Lightning later in the period with a backhanded shot after coming from behind the goal to give the Lightning an early 2-0 lead.
The Wild responded with a power play goal of their own as #24 Mathew Dumba fires a snapshot from the right side that was deflected into the net by #17 Marcus Foligno to make it 2-1 Lightning. Before the end of the period, after the Wild killed a late power play, Wild forward Ryan Hartman dropped the gloves upon leaving the box against Bogosain and immediately regretted it after Bogosain punched the helmet off his head as the home crowd went bananas.
The Wild tied it up early in the second period but the Lightning were able to regain the lead after Cirelli crossed over the goalie in front of the net and pushed the puck into the net while falling. This second effort marker was his second goal of the night with 2:53 left in the period. After flying down from Syracuse early Sunday morning, Alex Barre-Boulet came up big for the Lightning halfway through the third period. He collected a rebounded shot from Stamkos and fired it back into the net to give the Lighting a 4-2 lead. The two goal lead proved not to be enough to finish off the Wild in regulation, as Minnesota scored 2 6-on-5 goals in the final 3 minutes of regulation to force an overtime. Despite losing momentum late and allowing the Wild to have a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, the Lightning were able to hold off the Wild and force a shootout. Stamkos was the first and only player to score during the shootout as backup goalie, Brian Elliott, delivered 3 clutch saves to seal the deal for the Lightning to earn 2 points in the standings after overcoming late adversity.
The Lightning have won 3 of their last 4 games and look to continue their recent success as they host the Flyers after previously facing off against them this past Thursday where the Lightning won in a shootout in Philadelphia.