This past weekend it looked like the sky might be falling for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts were in their 1st 3-game losing streak of the season and were dealing with some major injuries. After Thursday night that losing streak will not be a topic of discussion over All Star Weekend. Andrei Vasilevskiy was fantastic and got help from Brayden Point, Ryan Callahan, Yanni Gourde, and Vlad Namestnikov along the way. The key to the game was a 3-goal 2nd period for the Lightning. The Bolts used that huge middle period for their 3rd straight win in a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The opening period was a bit sloppy for both teams. Turnovers were probably the key statistic and both teams committed their fair share. Those turnovers resulted in numerous scoring chances for the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrei Vasilevskiy was still in the same form he was in on Monday when he shut out the Chicago Blackhawks. Vasy made saves on all of those scoring chances including back to back saves on a Philadelphia breakaway. The Lightning got a power play opportunity to close out the period, but couldn’t reward their goalie’s fantastic play and we headed to the 2nd period tied at 0.
The start of the 2nd wasn’t sloppy at all for the Bolts. Tampa Bay came out a lot better than they did in the 1st and were rewarded in short order. That power play from the end of the 1st period carried over to the opening seconds of the 1st. The Lightning didn’t get credit for a power play goal, but the momentum from the advantage resulted in Brayden Point’s 20th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. That great play didn’t stop there for the Lightning. Near the halfway mark of the period Yanni Gourde came through. Gourde got his 17th goal of the season off of a rebound from in close to double the lead. The Flyers looked to shift the energy in the building on a power play chance, but they couldn’t even take advantage of that. Ryan Callahan did his best Nikita Kucherov impersonation by doing it all by himself on a short-handed goal. Callahan’s 2nd goal of the season gave the Bolts a 3-goal advantage heading to the final frame.
The Lightning were tight defensively to start the 3rd, but during some stages it looked like they were just trying to let the clock run out. Philadelphia started to get desperate in the 2nd half of the period and even pulled their goaltender on a power play chance. That risk payed off when Travis Konecny finally got the puck past Vasilevskiy. The Lightning responded less than a minute later. Nikita Kucherov made a highlight reel spin move and dealt Vlad Namestnikov a beautiful feed to make it a 3-goal lead once again. Namestnikov wasn’t done and he added his 2nd of the game in the final seconds to seal the victory.
The Bolts now will come back home for the All Star Break. The Lightning will have 4 representatives in the game with Stamkos, Kucherov, Vasilevskiy, and Point all making the team. WDAE will have live coverage from Amalie Arena all weekend. It will all culminate on Sunday afternoon with the NHL All Star Game. You can hear the game on WDAE starting at 3:30.
1. TBL - Point - (Johnson) - 0:25
2. TBL - Gourde - (Peca, Girardi) - 9:56
3. TBL - SHG - Callahan - (Unassisted) - 17:29
1.PHI - PPG - Konecny - (Voracek, Giroux) - 13:18
2. TBL - Namestnikov - (Kucherov, Stamkos) - 14:05
2. TBL - Namestnikov - (Stamkos, Kucherov) - 17:11
1. PHI - Raffl - (Holding) - 18:14
1. TBL - Johnson - (Interference) - 6:02
2. TBL - Girardi - (Cross Checking) - 16:57
1. TBL - Killorn - (Slashing) - 5:04
2. TBL - Namestnikov - (Interference) - 11:27
3. PHI - Laughton - (Misconduct) - 19:50
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 22
Philadelphia - 37