LIGHTNING RECAP – DECEMBER 21
By Leo Haggerty
I know you’re tired of hearing this, and so am I, but we’re calling another audible. With the National Hockey League closing down shop from December 22nd through the Christmas holiday and resuming team activities on December 27 due to a Covid outbreak, the Lightning will on play only one game during this seven-day span. No sense waiting until Monday to post a recap when there’s only one contest, right?
So, with that being said, let’s get right to this weeks recap. After falling behind 3-1 midway through the second period, Tampa Bay stormed back with three unanswered goals to secure a 4-3 victory over Las Vegas by a score of 4-3 at the T-Mobile Arena. With the victory the Lightning advanced to 20-6-4 for a total of 44 points. The defeat dropped the Golden Knights to 20-12-0 and that computes to 40 points.
The Bolts played the tilt without Jon Cooper on the bench. The Tampa Bay HC tested positive for Covid and was forced to sequester himself away from the team. Assistant Coach Derek Lelonde served as the interim head coach for the evening affair and there have been no other reports as to how long the Lightning ead Honcho will be quarantined.
The visitors opening the scoring at 6:05 of the first period. F Gabriel Fortier (1) notched his first goal of the season when he snapped a shot that eluded G Laurent Brossiot (15 saves on 19 shots) with D Mikhail Sergchev (12) being credited with the lone assist. That put the Lightning up 1-0.
The Golden Knights answered that marker with three consecutive goals of their own. The first Vegas goal came at 9:26 with the Sin City Skaters on the power play. F Mark Stone (5) put the biscuit in the basket and that tied the score at 1 all.
Vegas took the lead at 1:41 of the middle period. Again it was Stone (6) who wristed the puck past G Andrei Vasilevskiy (38 saves on 41 shots) giving the home team a 2-1 margin.
The Golden Knights stretched their lead to 3-1 at 8:10 of the second period. F Nicolas Roy (6) found the back of the net and it looked like Tampa Bay was on the ropes down 3-1.
The Lightning came all the back with two goals within 43 seconds. F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (3) lit the lamp with F Corey Perry (6) and F Pat Maroon (4) getting the helpers at 17:07 of the second period. That cut the Vegas lead to 3-2.
F Anthony Cirelli (9) knotted the score at 3 each at 17:50 of the middle period. Assists went to F Alex Killorn (16) along with D Zach Bagosian (4) and that would be the score as both teams went to their respective locker room for the second intermission.
The Bolts took the lead for good at 10:13. With Tampa Bay on the power play, F Steven Stamkos (14) blasted one of his patented one-time slap shot from the left circle into the back of the net. D Victor Hedman (24) and Ondrej Palat (10) provided the assists to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 advantage that the Lightning managed to protect for a hard fought two points on the road.