If there is a single word to describe the Tampa Bay Lightning season, it wouldn’t be hard to choose. Resilient would be that single word. The Bolts went down 3 goals early in the 2nd period to the Chicago Blackhawks. Tampa Bay wouldn’t say die though, and scored 3 unanswered to enter the final period tied at 4. Neither team scored during that frame and we headed for some extra hockey. Yanni Gourde would be the unlikely hero as he scored in the final minute of overtime to win the game, 5-4.
The Chicago heavy crowd certainly had a chance to be on their feet early. Just over a minute in Artemi Panarin fired the puck at the net. It would bounce off of Vasilevskiy and in, seemingly in slow motion to give the Blackhawks the early lead. The Lightning took advantage of their 1st opportunity on the power play when Ondrej Palat scored seconds after Brent Seabrook picked up a delay of game penalty. Patrick Kane didn’t like that tie score and fired 1 past Vasilevskiy less than a minute later to put Chicago back on top. The Blackhawks weren’t done for the period either. Tomas Jurco added a goal near the 13 minute mark to double the Chicago lead. That would be it for Vasilevskiy as well. Jon Cooper pulled his starter and inserted Peter Budaj at goaltender.
Budaj stopped the bleeding for the remainder of the 1st, but Vasilevskiy was put back in to start the 2nd period. The pressure was right back on Vasilevskiy when Alex Killorn picked up an interference penalty just over 2 minutes into the period, but this time he was up to the challenge. Vasilevskiy’s good fortune wouldn’t last long though. Chicago’s lead was extended to 3 before the halfway mark of the period thanks to Richard Panik’s 21st goal of the season. The Tampa Bay offense responded shortly after. Jonathan Drouin got the puck past Scott Darling to shrink the lead back to 2 goals. The Lightning momentum continued to build when Anton Stralman scored just over a minute later to make it a 1-goal game. The Lightning got a chance to tie it up on the power play later in the period and they did just that. Drouin scored on the power play for his 2nd goal of the night.
The Bolts were put back on the ropes early in the 3rd when Luke Witkowski was sent to the box less than 2 minutes into the period for high sticking. Vasilevskiy and company held their own to keep the game tied for the time being. Vasilevskiy made another big save near the halfway mark on Kane to once again keep it tied at 4 a piece. The teams went back and forth for the rest of the 3rd, but neither could score and we headed to overtime.
The Bolts will continue their homestand on Thursday after 2 days off. The Detroit Red Wings will be the foe at Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes prior on our sister station, News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. Chicago - Panarin- (Kero) - 1:23
2. Tampa Bay - PPG - Palat - (Hedman, Kucherov) - 9:29
3. Chicago - Kane - (Hjalmarsson, Keith) - 10:17
4. Chicago - Jurco - (Schmaltz) - 13:41
1. Chicago - Panik - (Van Riemsdyk, Schmaltz) - 8:47
2. Tampa Bay - Drouin - (Killorn, Stralman) - 11:45
3. Tampa Bay - Stralman - (McKegg, Palat) - 12:47
4. Tampa Bay - PPG - Drouin - (Hedman, Kucherov) - 16:24
1. Tampa Bay - Gourde - (Hedman) - 4:35
1. Chicago - Seabrook - (Delay of Game) - 9:22
2. Tampa Bay - Witkowski - (Interference) - 10:58
3. Chicago - Toews - (High Sticking) - 17:22
1. Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Interference) - 2:22
2. Chicago - Hjalmarsson - (Delay of Game) - 15:23
1. Tampa Bay - Witkowski - (High Sticking) - 1:40
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 27
Chicago - 31