LIGHTNING RECAP – DECEMBER 6
By Leo Haggerty

GAMES 21 THROUGH 24

The Lightning garnered seven out of a possible eight points in this four game stretch with a 3-0-1 log.  That puts Tampa Bay in third place with 34 points in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.  The Bolts are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, with two games in hand, and three point behind the division leading Florida Panthers.

Here’s how this week’s contest transpired.  Enjoy.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING  3   ST LOUIS BLUES 4  SO  

Tampa Bay started out strong with three goals in the first period, but St. Louis came back to pull out a 4-3 victory in a shootout at the Enterprise Center. The win advanced the Blues to 12-7-3 and that computes to 27 points. The shootout loss moved the Bolts 12-5-4 and that adds up to 28 points.

The Lightning score three quick first period goals with the last two just five seconds apart. The first was at 2:02 when F Anthony Cirelli (7) tipped the puck past G Jordan Binnington (30 saves on 33 shots) with F Taylor Raddish (2) and D Victor Hedman (16) providing the assists. That gave Tampa Bay an early 1-0 lead.

The second Bolts goal was at 5:24 with F Corey Perry (3) backhanding the biscuit into the basket. Helpers were credited to Cirelli (7) along with F Alex Killorn (11) putting the Lightning up 2-zip.

That count lasted only five seconds as Tampa Bay dented the scoreboard again. D Erik Cernak (1) blasted a slap shot that found the back of the net. Assists went to Raddish (3) and F Ross Colton (3) giving the Lightning a 3-0 advantage.

The Blues cut the lead at 3:15 of the middle period. F Ryan O’Reilly (4) wristed a shot past G Brian Elliott (30 saves on 33 shots) to put St. Louis on the board at 3-1.

The Notes cut into the deficit at 6:13 of the second period. F Logan Brown (1) scored with a wrist shot to move the Blues to within a goal at 3-2.

St. Louis came all the way back 71 seconds into the third period. F Ivan Barbashev (8) recorded the equalizer to knot the score at 3.

Both goalies took over from there until the end of regulation sending the contest to bonus hockey. After a scoreless five-minute overtime session, O’Reilly gave the Blues a big two points with the shootout winning goal.

ST LOUIS BLUES  2   TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 4

In the second tilt of the back-toback, Tampa Bay notched two third period goals to come away with a 4-2 win over St. Louis at Amalie Arena. The victory improved the Lightning to 13-5-4 and that’s good enough for 30 points. The loss dropped the Blues to 12-8-3 and that adds up to 27 points.

It was also the nigh we remembered the passing of a colleague and really good friend in Tommy Gilbert.  May you rest in peace, Tommy G.  You will be missed.

The Bolts scored first at 7:16 of the opening period. F Ondrej Palat (5) deposited a deflected Colton (4) shot behind G Ville Husso (31 saves on 35 shots) from just to the right of the crease. The other assist went to F Steven Stamkos (13) giving Tampa Bay an early 1-0 advantage.

St. Louis tied the game at 14:07 of the second period. While on the power play, F Brandon Saad (9) tipped a shot past G Andrei Vasilevskiy (26 saves on 28 shots) to make it a 1-1 hockey game.

The Bolts retook the lead at 4:26 of the final period. With the man advantage, Cirelli (8) received a perfect pass from Killorn (12) in the medium slot and made no mistake. The other helper went to Hedman (17) putting Tampa Bay up 2-1.

The Blues tied it with a power play goal of their own at 7:16 of the third period. With the Bolts penalty killers exhausted after over a minute without a break, F Pavel Buchnevich (9) went high to the glove side for the equalizer.

The Lightning answered that goal with their own just 53 seconds later. Hedman (4) blister a slap shot top shelf with the assist going to F Pat Maroon (2) putting Tampa Bay back into the lead at 3-2.

The Bolts score again at 10:29 with Hedman (5) doing the honors again this time with a wrist shot from right in front of the crease. #77 skated in all alone on Husso after intercepting a clearing pass to put the Lightning up 4-2 and that would be the final arithmetic.

Caught up with HC Jon Cooper and Hedman along with Cirelli in the postgame interview room.  Here’s their answers to my questions.

LH : At the start of this year, over the last two compressed seasons, the Bolts have played at least 19 more games than any other NHL team.  Is fatigue something you have to consider this year?

JC : To be honest, I don’t think so.  When you win Stanley Cups, that comes with the territory. I can’t sit here and say that we won back-to-back Stanley Cups so now we’re tired. I don’t buy it. Let’s go try and win another one and there shouldn’t be any excuses for that. As a staff, we just have to monitor that and put guys in position to succeed. I can’t sit here and say that we’re worried about fatigue.

LH : You had a good look at getting a hat trick after your second goal.  That’s no easy feat especially for a defenseman. Have you ever had one before in the NHL?

VH : Yeah, when I was nine, maybe. I had ten goals in one game. Never three in the NHL but I was close and you’re still driving toward that. At the end of the day, we got two points and that the most important thing. Yeah, I had some good looks.

LH : On the Blues power play goal, the first penalty killers were out a shift for over a minute and Cernak blocks a shot and you can’t get off the ice.  Were you just exhausted then?

AC : Yeah, I mean, when you’re out there for over a minute on the PK, you’re trying to push down and skate all over the ice. I think we just have to be a little bit tighter there. We were a little bit unlucky there when it hits the stick and goes in. I think, after that, we just forgot about it and kept going. We had a 2-2 game then and we came out with a win. I’m happy the way we played tonight.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 3  BOSTON BRUINS 2  OT 

In a game that Cooper officially labeled “a stinker” due the poor play of the Lightning, #88 bailed out the Bolts with some spectacular goal tending and gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 overtime victory over Boston at the TD Garden.  The Bolts improved to 14-5-4 and that equates to 32 points.  The Bruins with the extra hockey loss moved to 12-8-1 and that adds up to 25 points.

The visitors scored first at 14:13 of the opening period.  With Boston on the power play, Raddish (1) found the back of the net with an assist from D Mikhail Sergachev (10) putting the Lightning up 1-0.

The Bolts stretched their lead at 3:36 of the middle period.  Palat (6) put the biscuit in the basket past G Jeremy Swayman (22 saves on 25 shots) with Cirelli (8) and Hedman (18) getting the helpers.  That put the Lightning up 2-zip.

Boston dented the scoreboard at 16:30 of the second period.  F Charlie Coyle (7) maneuvered the puck past Vasilevskiy (37 saves on 39 shots) to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.

The Bruins came all the way back at 4:44 of the third period.  F Curtis Lazar (1) tied the score at 2 all and that score would stand after 60 minutes of play.

Tampa Bay would put this contest in the win column at 1:31 of overtime.  Stamkos (12) lit the lamp with an assist from Sergachev (11) to give the Bolts a big two points to start their five-game road trip.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 7  PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 1

After a klunker the night before in Beantown that the Lightning still managed to salvage an overtime win, Tampa Bay blew out Philadelphia to the tune of 7-1 at the Wells Fargo Center.  With the victory the Bolts advanced to 15-5-4 and that computes to 34 points.  The loss shot down the Flyers to 8-10-4 and that added up to 20 points.

The visitors were the first on the scoreboard at 8:24 of the opening period.  D Ryan McDonogh (2) started the scoring onslaught with Stamkos (15) and F Mathieu Joseph (5) being credited with the assists.  That gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay increased their margin exactly one minute later.  Perry (4) whistled one past G Carter Hart (10 saves on 15 shots) with McDonagh (7) and F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (4) getting the helpers.  That gave the Bolts a 2-0 advantage.

The Lightning broke the game open with three middle period markers.  The first came at 2:56 when Raddysh (2) scored with Hedman (19) and Colton (5) providing the assists making the score 3-nil.

The second came at 6:47 when F Boris Katchouk (1) got on the scoresheet with Colton (6) and  Hedman (20) providing the assists.  That put the Bolts up 4-zip.

The final goal of the second period by Tampa Bay came at 8:34.  With Philly having the man advantage, Joseph (4) netted an unassisted shorthanded goal that put the Lightning up 5-0 as well as spelled the end of the evening for Hart and the rout was on.

The Bolts made it 6-0 at 5:29 of the third period.  Maroon (5) put the rubber disk by replacement G Martin Jones (10 saves on 12 shots) with Hedman (19) and Colton (5) getting the helpers.

Philadelphia finally dented the scoreboard at with a power play marker at 7:04 of the final period.  F Cam Atkinson (8) found a way to slide the puck past Elliott (38 saves on 39 shots) but that was the only score the Flyers would post this evening.

The Lightning finished out the scoring at 14:15 of the third period.  With Tampa Bay having the man advantage, Perry (5) scored again with McDonagh (8) and Colton (7) providing the assists that made the final arithmetic 7-1 in favor of the Bolts.