Sunshine Showdown Doesn’t Disappoint as Bolts Edge Panthers in OT Thriller!!!

Justin Haas

By Jake Ricker


The Tampa Bay Lightning played ok overall tonight but got the job done when it mattered most. As for the Panthers, they did a great job continually coming back but could just not finish the job. Both teams played with discipline as the game contained only two penalties that both went to Tampa Bay. But this battle of the Sunshine State did not disappoint with it heading to OT, and the Bolts playing in their 6th straight game that needed extra time. Let’s take a look at how we got here period by period.

First Period

Both teams came to play early on with both teams grabbing a few offensive chances and making some good defensive stands as well. Tensions were definitely high as just over 5 min into this one Brayden Coburn and Micheal Haley got into a small scrap right off the faceoff, each would get 5 for fighting. The Bolts offense then started to pick up as Miller came in on a breakaway but was denied by Luongo. The Panthers quickly recovered though and started to push right back. After the halfway mark it was up in the air on who would strike first, but the Bolts would answer that soon. Yanni Gourde grabbed a shot off the end boards and snuck it in the back of the net to make it 1-0 Bolts. Vasy would continue his great play, making a few more nice stops. Then JT Miller would then get his sconed as a Bolt as he extended the lead to 2 after a nice play by Yanni Gourde. The Bolts kept up the offense and continued to pressure the Panthers in their own zone until the Panthers finally got it out. The Bolts PK would then get some action as Stamkos got 2 for holding the stick. The PK did their job though and kept the Panthers off the board keeping it a 2-0 lead for the Bolts. Not much later though Bjugstad took a shot from a tough angle and caught Vasy just leaning off the Post sneaking it in to cut the Bolts lead to 1. Time would then expire shortly after ending the first 20 min of play.

Goals: 2-1 Tampa Bay

Shots: 18-9 Florida

Second Period

The Bolts got off to a great start early in this period as the put on some offensive pressure early. The Bolts hot start was no fluke either as Yanni Gourde jumped into the action and let one go that went right past Luongo to put the Bolts up 3-1! As the game went on the Bolts continued to play great throughout the period getting plenty of offensive chances. This period quickly went by as both teams stayed disciplined and we had few whistles. Unfortunately, with under 8 min to go, the Panthers made a big push after struggling and it paid off as Bjugstad got one by Vasy to cut the Bolts lead back to 1. But Killorn wasn’t having it as he quickly ripped a shot to put the Bolts back in front by 2. The rest of the period was evenly matched as both teams went back and forth getting a few more chances. Both teams also continued to be very disciplined as no one took a penalty in the second period.

Goals: 4-2 Tampa Bay

Shots: 32-21 Florida

Third Period

The Panthers started this period out with a bang as Bjugstad got another one past Vasy for a hat-trick which cut the Bolt lead back down to 1 once again. Sustr would then get only the 2nd penalty of the night as he was called for tripping and the PK would have to go to work. Unfortunately for the Bolts, Trocheck let one go from the circle and tie this game at 4. The Panthers just simply outplayed the Bolts in the first half of this period, especially in the offensive zone. The Bolts would get one nice chance after a shot from Sustr that hit the post but the Panthers immediately turned around and put some pressure on the Bolts. Things then slowed down again as both teams got a few chances but neither could break the tie. The Bolts had still not gotten a power play opportunity and none would come. Time would expire and this game would once again for the 6th straight time have to be decided in OT!

Goals: 4-4

Shots 48-32 Florida


The Panthers got off to a quick start in OT as they got on a breakaway but Vasy stopped them in their tacks. The Panthers then got a few more shots but nothing too big, meanwhile the Bolts raced back on a 2 on 1 but Stammer just missed the net. After Vasy stoped a Panthers shot the Bolts went to work, Stralman found himself with a wide open net but he missed it wide! Luckily they recovered it and Stralman sent it to Point who made a filthy move around a Panthers defender and sniped one home to win the game 5-4!!!

3 Stars

  1. Three Stars  Brayden Point (1G)
  2. Yanni Gourde (2G, 1A)
  3. Nick Bjugstad (3G)


Up Next and Final Strike

Another great game to watch, overall the Bolts played well and it was just enough to get the job done in overtime. The Bolts looked good in the first two periods but flat in the final 20. The defence just can’t seem to lock down opposing teams when they pick up the pace. The Bolts just kept letting the Panthers climb back time and time again. The offensive, however, played great as they continue to score goal after goal after goal. And when they needed them most came through in a big way. This is the 6th overtime game in a row for the Bolts, and while this is not a bad thing it’s not great either, as the Bolts have been on their heals game after game. With that said Point and Gourde and Miller have been on fire and have really stepped up for the bolts. Look for these three to continue this success and the Bolts to iron out the rest of the mistakes.

The Bolts will look to continue their success as they get set to take on the New York Rangers and an old friend…. Vladdy, March 8th at 7:30PM EST.


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