On Vinny’s Night, Vasy Steals the Show and Carries Bolts to a 4-3 Victory

Justin Haas

By Tyler Santana


The Lightning came into this game looking to win both games in their two game homestand. This was also a big night for the organization as Lightning fan favorite and former captain Vincent Lecavalier was having his number 4 retired before the game. Many former teammates and people in the organization were in attendance and the crowd erupted every time Vinny spoke. The Bolts came out of the gates strong, scoring a little more than a minute in. The Kings quickly tied it, then the Bolts scored the next three goals. LA made it close with two 3rd period goals, but Andrei Vasilevskiy had one of his best games of his career, and he stopped a Drew Doughty one-timer off a faceoff to clinch the Bolts victory.

1st period

The Lighting came out flying, putting all kinds of pressure on the Kings. Just over a minute in, Yanni Gourde fed the current captain Steven Stamkos and he fired home a one timer to give the Bolts the lead. The kings however, would tie it up quickly after on a one timer by Jonny Brodzinski that just slipped through Vasy. The Kings would get a powerplay, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made the save of the year, reaching behind his back with his glove to make the save on Andrei Kopitar. About halfway through the period, the Lightning killed a penalty and Steven Stamkos fired a puck to Alex Killorn as he left the box, and Killorn raced down the ice, snapping a beautiful snap shot passed Darcy Kuemper to make it 2-1 Tampa. Tampa would control the rest of the period, firing dangerous opportunities on Darcy while LA couldn’t get past the wall of Vasy, who was clearly locked in.

Shots 18-10 LA

Score 2-1 Bolts

2nd period

The Bolts came into the second and continued to dominate the Kings, who had no answer for the Lightnings speed and depth. About 3 minutes in, Cedric Paquette took a shot from the slot, collected his own rebound, and went behind the net. Darcy lost his post, and Paquette banked it off Kuemper’s leg pad and into the net to extend Tampa’s lead to 3-1. Darcy was pulled for Johnathan Quick, drawing a lot of jeering from the Tampa Bay faithful as he skated to the bench after his performance. Quick settled in and made some real good saves, and he had to make a lot as Tampa controlled the second period. About halfway through the 2nd, Quick took exception to Conacher getting to close to him, dropping his glove and trying to throw haymakers at Conacher who was on the ice. Conacher and Quick got 2 minutes each for roughing, leading to a 4 on 4. Tampa would later get a powerplay from a Tyler Toffoli penalty, and as the penalty expired, Mikhail Sergachev carried the puck up the ice. Sergachev beat Dustin Brown on a move and immediately flips as Dustin Brown threw a knee out right to the knee of Sergachev, who fell to the ice in clear pain. This was a very dirty and dangerous hit that required Mikhail to go to the locker room, and Dustin Brown was given a 5-minute kneeing major and a game misconduct. The Tampa fans in the arena berated Brown with boos and insults that I can’t repeat in this report. Tampa immediately struck on the powerplay, as a clearly pissed off Nikita Kucherov ripped a puck short side on Quick to make the lead 4-1, which is how the period would end.

Shots 27-24 LA

Score 4-1 Bolts

3rd period

The Lightning continued a bit of a worrying trend we’ve seen the last few games, seemingly being way to relaxed in the 3rd period and not finishing the game. LA scored early, with Kyle Clifford on deflection while sitting right in front of Vasy on a screen to make it 4-2. The Kings got multiple power plays in the period from poor Lightning play and just bad discipline. The Kings scored again when Christian Folin was had his shot tip off two Lightning players and in, a goal in which Vasy never had a chance to make that save. The Kings were outplaying the Lightning through and through, keeping the puck in the offensive zone and absolutely peppering Vasilevskiy with shot after shot. The Kings pulled Quick with about a minute left and every fan was nervously checking the clock every second as that minute felt like an eternity. Tampa shot the puck down to end the game, or so we thought, as LA did force it to be icing with only 0.6 seconds on the clock. It should have been an easy game over, but the Lightning weren’t disciplined on this faceoff. Rather than tying Kopitar up, the Lightning allowed him to pull it to three guys standing ready to one-time the puck. Drew Doughty fired his shot and Andrei Vasilevskiy made a fantastic save to end the game and seal a Bolts win, all while being calm, composed, cool as a cucumber. The way he played that game, he may have deserved all three stars.

Shots 47-28 LA

Score 4-3 Bolts

3 Stars

Andrei Vasilevskiy (44 saves)

Steven Stamkos (1G, 1A)

Nikita Kucherov (GWG)


Next Game

The Bolts will head to the Air Canada Centre on Monday to take on the Maple Leafs, with puck-drop at 7 pm eastern time.


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