Victor Hedman said on Monday morning that every game from here on out would be like a game 7 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Monday night’s contest with the New York Rangers certainly had that atmosphere. The game was physical from the drop of the puck and the teams headed to the final period in a scoreless tie. Both teams had great chances to end the game in regulation, but neither goalie blinked and we headed to overtime. Mika Zibanejad would end up being the hero in overtime to give the Rangers the victory, 1-0.
Andrei Vasilevskiy continued his stellar play very early on in this one. The Bolts were on the PK less than 4 minutes in and Vasilevskiy made 2 highlight reel saves during that 2 minutes to keep the game scoreless. The game’s intensity continued throughout the 1st period. Luke Witkowski and Tanner Glass dropped the gloves and we had a fight less than 10 minutes into the game. Shortly after the fight, the Lightning found themselves with a power play of their own, but were unable to cash in on the man advantage. Ondrej Palat had a fantastic chance to break the tie very late in the period, but Antti Raanta did his job perfectly in front of the net to keep the game scoreless as we headed to the 2nd period.
The game’s intensity continued into the 2nd period. The Bolts got a power play opportunity around the 4 minute mark when Chris Kreider was called for interference, but the New York penalty kill was up to the task once again. Near the halfway mark of the period Tampa Bay spent a 2 to 3 minute stretch entirely in the Rangers’ zone, but Raanta made save after save to keep it tied at 0. The teams then went through a stretch where they traded penalties that gave both teams short stretches on the power play. Neither team could muster much momentum with the abbreviated advantages and we headed to the 3rd period still knotted at 0.
The Lightning got an early power play opportunity for the 2nd straight period, but the Rangers were once again able to shut Tampa Bay down. Tampa Bay’s momentum continued throughout the 1st half of the period. The Bolts got 9 out of the 1st 11 shots on goal in the period, but Raanta’s amazing night continued. Nikita Kucherov had a chance to be the hero in the final minute, but his shot went over the goal and we headed to overtime.
In overtime Mika Zibanejad became the hero when he got a breakaway off of a failed Lightning rush and got the puck past Vasilevskiy.
The Bolts will get a much deserved 2 days off after their stretch of 3 games in 4 days. Thursday night Tampa Bay will face another formidable foe in the Minnesota Wild. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 with pregame coverage beginning right at 7 on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. New York - Zibanejad- (McDonagh) - 3:56
1. Tampa Bay - Garrison - (Hooking) - 3:57
2. Tampa Bay - Witkowski - (Fighting) - 6:34
3. New York - Glass - (Fighting) - 6:34
4. New York - Pirri - (Slashing) - 7:12
5. New York - Vesey - (Roughing) - 10:53
6. Tampa Bay - Point - (Roughing) - 10:53
7. Tampa Bay - Dumont - (Boarding) - 14:12
1. New York - Kreider - (Interference) - 4:13
2. New York - Nash - (Goaltender Interference) - 12:13
3. Tampa Bay - Erne - (Cross Checking) - 13:39
4. New York - McDonagh - (Kneeing) - 15:01
5. Tampa Bay - Vasilevskiy - (Delay of Game) - 16:50
6. New York - Zuccarello - (Holding the Stick) - 16:56
1. New York - Pirri - (Tripping) - 2:52
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 38
New York - 34