The 3rd straight meeting of these division rivals moves from Raleigh North Carolina to Sunny Tampa Bay Florida for a 5pm puck drop in the 3rd installment of the season series. Carolina took the first matchup in dominating fashion shuting out a disorganized Tampa squad. The Lightning rebounded and took the second game on Monday. The Lightning still trying to find that full 60 minutes game that won them a Stanley Cup last year.
The Lightning came out the gates on a mission. Playing the fastest pace in a game so far this season. Ross Colton a New Jersey native making his NHL debut wasted no time to make an impact scoring on his first shift. Victor Hedman danced through the entire Carolina defense and fed Colton in front of the net who slid the puck five hole to put the Lightning up. Blake Coleman extended the lead to 2 finishing a lay up from Yanni Gourde on the Powerplay. Coleman’s 4th of the season and first powerplay goal as a member of Tampa Bay. The Lightning seemd to get fatigued towards the very end of the period. a trend that would continue for the rest of the game
Taking a two goal lead into the 2nd period The Lightning absolutely need to break the habit of sitting back with a lead. Carolina certainly did their best to get past Andrei Vasilevskiy, but were stopped at all times Both teams settled into a high paced and yet still somewhat even period. Carolina Was unable to take advantage of their lone powerplay in the 2nd from a minor to Bolts 2017 first round pick Cal Foote
Andrei Vasilevskiy was the story of the game. The big cat had an answer for everything the Hurricanes threw at him. Vasilevskiy making his 3rd straight start and 15th start of the season. In a game The Bolts needed perfection and Vasilevskiy was more than up to the task. Both teams were dialed in putting quality chances in at both end. Barclay Goodrow found the empty net to seal the game. At the final horn the Lightning take the game 3-0 on the Andrei Vasilevskiy 25 save shutout.
Both teams played well throughout the game. The two teams are both very skilled and will probably see each other in June. Special teams and goaltending made the difference in a tight game. Vasilevskiy continues his Vezina Caliber season while the Hurricanes don’t have a consistent Goaltending for their franchise. Carolina had plenty of quality chances but couldn’t find a way to beat the Russian Netminder for Tampa. Tampa Bay only had a single powerplay but were able to convert it to the assurance goal from Blake Coleman. Tampa only gave up two penalties and killed them both off. After an horrific first game, a better second game, the third game against the Hurricanes might have been their best 60 minute effort this season. These two former southeast division rivals square up again tomorrow for the final game in the 4 game series. Tampa is 2-1 and will look to beat Carolina for the third consecutive time this season.