The Lightning are seeking redemption after being blown apart 4-0 on Saturday in what was easily the teams worst performance of the year. The team left Vasilevskiy out to dry didn’t take advantage of scoring chances. Forward Blake Coleman said in the post game he was upset with himself for not shooting the puck as much as he should. The team knows what went wrong. They also know how to fix it. Tampa takes on the Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in Raleigh North Carolina. Tampa will make adjustments to try and win the rematch of Saturday’s embarrassment.
The first 10 minutes the Lightning came out the gate utterly dominating. Shots were 11-1 after just the first half of the first period. Ex New York Ranger Jesper Fast scored his first goal as a Hurricane seconds after a hooking minor to Stamkos expired giving Carolina the lead early. James Reimer stayed strong in the crease holding the bolts scoreless after 20. The momentum seemed to swing towards Carolina in the final half of the period.
Steven Stamkos scored a Marvelous Powerplay goal from his office 2:26 into the period. The Captain sent a bullet by Reimer who never stood a chance against that one time shot. Victor Hedman continues to plead his case as the best Defenseman in hockey, firing a Laser of a wrist shot top cheddar to give Tampa Bay the lead. Sergachev and Stamkos added helpers on the Swedes 4th goal of the season. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped some big scoring chances in the middle of the 2nd. Reimer and Vasilevskiy both trading excellent saves off of quality chances for both teams. Jesper Fast struck again, this time on the powerplay to even things up heading into the final frame.
After a very fast paced and even middle period the two points were really up for grabs. Vasilevskiy and Reimer both staying very strong waiting for the other to make a mistake. And that mistake would come in the form of a massive goal by Ondrej Palat at the 8:14 mark. Palat fought his way to the netmouth and after a few wacks knocked the puck off Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei then off Reimers pad Squeeking into the net. Not the prettiest goal but it’s a massive go ahead goal midway through the last period. Vasilevskiy was absolutely brilliant to the end. The Hurricanes playing with desperation peppering the Lightning defense. Vasilevskiy once again was probably the player of the game. His magnificent netminding was able to keep the Bolts in the game. Tampa Bay allowed way too much zone time for the Hurricanes. The last 7 minutes looked like a penalty kill. Fortunately Alex Killorn stuck the dagger in with an empty net goal sealing the game with 40 seconds left in regulation. The Bolts stood strong and hung on to beat the Hurricanes 4-2. A hard fought victory that should boost this team’s confidence heading into the halfway mark of the 56 game season.
The Bolts earned this win. They played a much better two way game and seemed to find their scoring touch again. Tampa looks to regain the same kind of play they were putting on in their 2020 Stanley Cup run. Vasilevskiy has been nothing short of perfection and while he wasn’t left out to dry as much this game, Tampa Bay allowed far too many quality chances and needing Vasilevskiy to carry them to the finish line. The win was chippy with 51 combined hits and 67 shots. the effort was still much improved.