In one of the best games of the 2022-23 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the visiting Boston Bruins 3-2 on Thursday night at Amalie Arena.
Victor Hedman scored the game-winning goal at the 13:19 mark of the 3rd period & Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves for the Bolts.
The win was Tampa Bay's 11th straight home victory, tying for the most consecutive home wins in franchise history. The Lightning first accomplished the feat in the 2018-19 season.
Boston's defeat was only their sixth in regulation this season.
Hedman's goal came on a scramble play after a ferocious rush into the zone by Brayden Point. Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo lost an edge and crashed into goaltender Linus Ullmark and Hedman found the loose puck along the left wing and fired it into the vacant net to put Tampa Bay ahead for good.
This game had all the feels of a playoff game with fans of both teams letting their voices be heard from the initial puck drop.
Neither team gave an inch, until Tampa Bay was able to break through at 10:42.
30 seconds after a high sticking call on Boston's Brad Marchand, Nikita Kucherov found Brandon Hagel wide open in front of the net and the Tampa Bay winger roofed one over Ullmark to put the Bolts up 1-0.
Boston kept pushing for the equalizer but were unable to crack the code that is Vasilevskiy over the first twenty minutes of play.
2nd period, more fantastic end-to-end action with a lot of emotion on the ice. Things got a little hectic when Taylor Hall came down and barreled over Vasilevskiy, prompting a goalie interference call & a cross check from Mikhail Sergachev -- that sent him to the box as well.
Brad Marchand took advantage of the open ice and scored on the ensuing 4-on-4 at 16:58.
As fans were strapped in for a thrilling 3rd, they saw a goal happen in the first minute of the period.....maybe.
In a goal that took everyone at Amalie by surprise, including Ullmark, Kucherov took the faceoff win by Steven Stamkos and snapped one past the Boston goalie to put the Lightning up 2-1 just 58 seconds into the 3rd period.
To Boston's credit, they answered back just 1:26 later when Pavel Zacha scored to make it 2-2, but Hedman's goal later on proved to be insurmountable on this night.
Kucherov had three points (one goal, two assists) and Point added two assists.
Ullmark stopped 32 of the 35 shots he saw on the evening.
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Hagel - (Kucherov, Point) - 10:42
- Boston - Marchand - (Unassisted) - 16:58
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Stamkos) - 0:58
- Boston - Zacha - (Krejci, Pastrnak) - 2:24
- Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Point, Kucherov) - 13:19
- Boston - Marchand - (High Sticking) - 10:12
- Boston - MAJOR - Clifton - (Fighting) - 14:21
- Tampa Bay - MAJOR - Perry - (Fighting) - 14:21
- Tampa Bay - Cole - (Interference) - 19:19
- Boston - Pastrnak - (Tripping) - 0:19
- Boston - Lindholm - (Slashing) - 13:19
- Boston - Hall - (Goalie Interference) - 15:48
- Tampa Bay - Sergachev - (Cross Checking) - 15:48
- Tampa Bay - Colton - (Goalie Interference) - 2:38
- Boston - Forbort - (Roughing) - 2:38
- Tampa Bay - Maroon - (Roughing) - 2:38
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Saturday night as they welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm.
PHOTO : Getty Images