Bolts Explode In Final Minutes To Beat Minnesota

Some nights you light up the scoreboard, but sometimes the goaltenders are the best players on the ice. That was the case Saturday night at Amalie Arena. The Bolts have had stretches this year where they’ve scored multiple goals inside of a minute, but entered the 3rd period against the Minnesota Wild in a scoreless tie. Andrei Vasilevskiy and Alex Stalock both played outstanding and made numerous highlight reel saves. After 57 minutes of scoreless hockey, the explosiveness of the Lightning came through. Dan Girardi, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov all scored in the final 3 minutes of the game to make a very close game look like a 3-0 blowout. 

Tampa Bay dominated the 1st half of the 1st period holding a 6-1 shots on goal advantage. It looked like that wouldn’t matter though thanks to a great Minnesota scoring chance. Anton Stralman was there though to make a heads up play and prevent Jason Zucker from getting off a shot that looked like it would’ve snuck past the back side of Andrei Vasilevskiy. The momentum shifted toward Minnesota in the 2nd half of the period. The Wild got multiple power play opportunities, but the Bolts PK unit got back to the level of play they had in the early stages of the season. That great defense combined with Vasilevskiy kept it scoreless heading to the 2nd period. 

The Lightning penalty kill continued to have to work overtime early in the 2nd. Nikita Kucherov picked up his second penalty of the night less than a minute into the frame and then Anton Stralman followed that up less than 5 minutes in. The Tampa Bay PK continued to play well, but caught a break when Minnesota picked up a penalty of their own during Stralman’s stint in the box. Tampa Bay had about a minute of their own power play time, but Minnesota’s PK was up to snuff as well. Later in the period Minnesota got a fantastic chance when Charlie Coyle basically had a 1-on-1 with Vasilevskiy, but Vasy made an initial save and then an even better one on the rebound to keep the game scoreless. The Bolts had a chance to break the tie with a power play chance late in the period, but Alex Stalock and the rest of the Wild kept the 0 on the board heading to the final period of regulation.

Both goalies continued to play stout in the early stages of the period, but then Minnesota made the 1st vital mistake of the game. The Wild committed 2 penalties within a minute of each other to give the Bolts a lengthy 5-on-3 situation. Tampa Bay couldn’t take advantage. Minnesota cleared the puck out of the zone on multiple occasions and didn’t even allow the Lightning to get that good of a scoring chance. Minnesota got yet another shot on the power play with less than 7 minutes remaining in the period, but the Bolts continued to stifle them. After 57 minutes of hockey with no goal, Tampa Bay would finally light the lamp. Dan Girardi got his 2nd goal of the season off of a fantastic assist from Brayden Point. That goal would be the game winner. Tyler Johnson added a goal of his own with less than 2 minutes to go to really put the game away. 

The Bolts will now have a mini break for the Christmas holiday. Tampa Bay will return to action on Thursday and welcome a familiar face to Amalie Arena. The showdown with Jonathan Drouin and the Montreal Canadiens is scheduled for 7:30 with pregame coverage beginning an hour prior on News Radio 970 WFLA. 







1. TBL - Girardi - (Point) - 17:18

2. TBL - Johnson - (Dotchin) 18:10

3. TBL - Kucherov - (Namestnikov, Girardi) - 19:07



1. MIN - Suter - (Interference) - 5:38

2. MIN - Suter - (Holding) - 11:29

3. TBL - Killorn - (Tripping) - 13:39

4. TBL - Kucherov - (Holding) - 16:08


1. TBL - Kucherov - (Holding) - 0:42

2. TBL - Stralman - (Holding) - 4:19

3. MIN - Dumba - (Interference) - 5:23

4. TBL - Kunitz - (Hooking) - 12:27

5. MIN - Winnik - (Slashing) - 15:56


1. MIN - Koivu - (Slashing) - 8:11

2. MIN - Suter - (Interference) - 9:03

3. TBL - Sergachev - (Slashing) - 13:28


Tampa Bay - 31

Minnesota - 22

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