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Bolts Strike the Devils in Game 1
By Jake Ricker
The Tampa Bay Lightning played a great game and started the playoffs right. As for the Devils, they got their offense going but they just could not stop the Bolts offense. Both teams played a very disciplined game as there were only three total penalties in the game. Both teams played with tons of passion making this first game of the series very fun to watch, with all the hits and close chances. With this win, the Bolts now have a 1-0 series lead over the Devils. Let’s take a look at how we got here period by period.
The Bolts got off to a fantastic start in this one as they played hard and were flying around the ice. The goalies stole the show early in this one though as neither team could get on the board in the first half of the period. Both teams would grab a few chances but none would find the back of the net. Both teams also did not head to the box a single time this period, not letting either team try and take advantage on the power play. Amalie Arena just kept on rocking though and 15 min into the game they would be rewarded. Ondrej Palat made a fantastic move in front of the net after Johnson made a great pass. Palat would fire it home for a 1-0 Lightning lead which erupted Amalie. That line just kept on pushing through and never looked back. As the period came to a close, Johnson who loves to score in the final minutes, went to work again finding himself in front of the net and putting it home to give the Bolts a 2-0 lead! The period would then soon end and things were looking up for the Bolts
Goals: 2-0 Tampa Bay
Shots: 13-11 Tampa Bay
Things did not get off to a good start for the Devils as Miles Wood was called for slashing just 5 seconds into the period. The Bolts would then go to work on the first power play of the night and they picked up right where they left off. Palat who was on the right side of the net had the puck bounce to him off the boards where he tapped it off his skate and it went to a wide open Yanni Gourde who had nothing but net to shoot at. Gourde made no mistake finding the back of the net and gave the Bolts a 3-0 lead early in the second. The Devils then finally settled things down as both teams got a few chances but the score remained at 3-0. Brayden Point would then get 2 for tripping and sent the Bolts to their first penalty kill of the night. Despite the struggles in the regular season, the Bolts PK unit looked good as they killed off the penalty and got back to full strength. The Devils just kept pushing through and had the Bolts a little on edge despite being up 3-0. Palat would then go to retrieve a puck in the corner where he made a bad pass that ended up right in the hands of Taylor Hall. Hall sniped this one right by Vasy and got the Devils on the board to make it 3-1 Lightning. For the next 7 min, both teams would get some chances as they went back and forth trying to get something in the back of the net. Amalie Arena kept on rocking though as the Bolts closed the period out with a 2 goal lead.
Goals: 3-1 Tampa Bay
Shots: 26-20 New Jersey
The Devils finally started to get somewhere as they played a much better third. The devils put on some pressure but Vasy kept them off the board early in the third. 9 min into the game JT Miller would take a slashing penalty and give the Devils their second power play of the night.Travis Zajac took advantage as he sniped one past Vasy to pull the Devils within 1 and give the Bolts a little bit of a scare. The Bolts kept on pushing through as they calmed things down and got some quality chances. Then 12 min into the game Mr. Harvard himself took matters into his own hands. Killorn ripped a shot from the circle and put it right in the back of the net giving the Bolts back their two-goal lead and a huge sigh of relief. The Devils kept pushing through but just could not get anything past the big cat Vasy as he stopped everything they threw his way. The Devils would then try and pull their goalie for one last shot at tieing this game. Unfortunately for the Devils, they gave the puck to Nikita Kucherov who danced around a defender and shot the puck into the open net giving the Lightning a 5-2 lead. As the clock got to 0 Amalie Arena would erupt once more as they got their first win of the playoffs!
Goals: 5-2 Tampa Bay
Shots: 32-31 Tampa Bay
- Yanni Gourde (1G, 1A)
- Tyler Johnson (1G, 1A)
- Ondrej Palat (1G, 2A)
Up Next and Final Strike
The Bolts played a fantastic game as their offense looked great and the defense stood strong as well. The Bolts played a very disciplined game which was a huge help as our PK has not been the greatest this year. The Bolts did a fantastic job of never letting up and playing for a full 60 min. Guys who can sometimes get quiet in the regular season stepped up in a big way getting the Bolts on the board early and got Amalie rocking. Vasy was also stupendous tonight just as he always is, stopping nearly anything they threw at him. With that said, this series is far from over and the Bolts will need to play just like this in game 2 if they want to grab another win. I expect the Bolts to have another high powered offensive game and to play a lot like they did tonight.
The Bolts will look take a 2-0 series lead as they get set to take on the New Jersey Devils Saturday, April 14th at 3:00PM EST.