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Don’t Call it a Comeback, We’ve Been Here For Years!
By Jake Ricker
The Tampa Bay Lightning played a decent game today but did a great job coming back and finishing strong. As for the Canadians, they looked good early but stuggled holding off the Bolts late push. This was a slow game to watch but picked up the pace towards the end. The Bolts picked up a huge 2 points and are the first team to reach 100 on the season. Let’s take a look at how we got here period by period.
This one got off to a fun start for Lightning fans as Ryan McDonagh took his first shift as a Bolt! Just a few minutes into the game though Adam Erne would get called for hooking and the Bolts PK would go to work. The Habs powerplay had struggled this season but looked great as they got the puck to Lehkonen who sniped one right by Domingue to make it 1-0 Habs. Things were moving right along until the 8 min mark as things took off. The Habs quickly got off on a breakaway but Domingue turned them away. Then on the other end, Stamkos took off but was tripped in front of the net so the Bolts would get their first PP of the game. Stammers office was once again open but it was Johnson who was in this time! He Blasted one from the circle and tied this game at 1! The Bolts looked better as this period went on. With the period quickly moving along both teams would get a few opportunities but neither could break the tie. with just under 30 seconds to go De La Rose would get called for high sticking and the Bolts would get their second PP of the night. The Bolts would get one last good shot off before the horn sounded. With time still left on the PP, it would carry over to the second.
Shots: 11-6 Tampa Bay
The Bolts started the period off on the PP but would have no such luck getting the go-ahead goal. Ryan McDonagh then made a great play to steal the puck but then turned it over and gave the Habs a 3 on 1. The Habs made no mistake here as Galchenyuk beat Domingue who tried to slide over to make the stop. But the Habs would still get their second lead of the night. with just over 13 min to go the Bolts would get their third power play of the night as Noah Juulsen got 2 for delay of game. Despite a few good chances, the Bolts would not be able to convert and remained trailing by 1. Things did not get better for the Bolts though as they looked sloppy as they gave up their second 3 on 1. Luckily Domingue made the stop. Just a few mins later Erne and Hudon would both get called for penalties so we would play some 4 on 4 hockey. Neither team would get any big chances though with the open ice and the score remained 2-1 Habs. Both teams would get a few more chances before the period would end and the Habs would take their one-goal lead into the third.
Goals: 2-1 Montreal
Shots: 21-18 Tampa Bay
Things got off to a quick start as Paquette drove Gallagher into the boards and then dropped the gloves with Jordie Benn! Both would get 5 min for fighting, but it looked like it was the spark they needed. The Bolts then got a few nice chances including a blast from Nikita Kucherov but none would find the back of the net. Things then got a little too aggressive as Miller would take a boarding call and send the Habs to their second PP of the night. Just seconds in there as a scramble in front of the net and the Habs thought they had scored, but video review confirmed that the puck did not cross the line. The Bolts then nearly got a shorthanded goal as Killorn hit the post, but the Bolts would be able to finish off the penalty kill. But the Bolts kept pushing as they had plenty of chances in the offensive zone. But it wasn’t until JT Miller made a big play on the forecheck getting the puck to Stamkos, who then got it to a wide oppen Kucherov, who put it past Niemi to tie the game at 2! Kunitz then got called for a High-Stick and would sit in the box for 2, giving the Habs their 3rd PP of the night. The Bolts PK stood strong though and stopped the Habs from spoiling a Lightning comeback. Neither team could make a final push through and this game would once again be going to overtime.
Shots: 31-28 Tampa Bay
This one got off to a scary start as Galchenyuk grabbed an early breakaway but was denied by Domingue! The Bolts would then get a PP with 2:59 left to go as Drouin got 2 for tripping. The Bolts got chance after chance but could not capitalize, Stralman made a great play himself on the PP but the Bolts would just miss the shot. Neither team could end this game in overtime so we would head to the shootout
Shots: 34-29 Tampa Bay
- JT Miller (1A)
- Louis Domingue (27SV)
- Alex Galchenyuk (1G)
Up Next and Final Strike
Man the Bolts must be trying to give us a heart attack as we yet again had to go to extra time to decide this one. The Bolts looked ok in the first and very sloppy in the second. However, the Bolts looked much better in the final 20. Domingue looked great today as well making some great stops and really coming through in the shootout. Miller also had a great game tonight which showed on his assist for the game-winning goal. As for McDonagh he looked a little rusty but that’s to be expected, overall he played well. One major issue for the Bolts was the odd man rushes. They surrendered 2, 3 on 1 rushes to the Habs, this will definitely be something they will look to fix. With that said the Bolts will look to work on their first two periods and get McDonagh to 100% as the playoffs inch closer and closer.
The Bolts will look to extend their 5 game win streak as they get set to take on the Ottowa Senators, March 13th at 7:30PM EST.