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Bolts Open the Season with a Comeback Win!
By: Jake Ricker
Wow! What a game to open up the 2018-2019 regular season. The Bolts got off to a rough start but continued to improve and came through when it mattered the most! The Panthers played great early but let the Lightning climb back into this one and could not seal the deal. Vasy was once again the star of the show in this one keeping the Bolts in the game until the offense could tie it up. Ugly or not the Bolts were able to get an exciting win and 2 huge points. Let’s take a look at how we got here period by period.
Both teams got off to decent starts but the Panthers ramped up the aggression as they dominated zone time early on. Things did not get better for the Bolts as the Panthers fed MacDonald a beautiful pass who then walked in all alone and snapped one by Vasy to put the Panthers up by 1. The Panthers continued to dominate zone time with the Bolts getting a few chances here and there. The Bolts were not playing like themselves as they kept missing passes and playing sloppy on defense giving the Panthers easy shots. Both teams played with discipline as no penalties had yet been called. The Bolts continued to struggle to get anything set up in the offensive zone preventing them from getting any quality chances. The Panthers also succeeded in getting second opportunities giving Vasy a run for his money but Vasy shut the door. The Bolts then got their best chance yet as Point and Gourde came in on a 2 on 1 but the Panthers D broke it up. The Bolts were not able to get the offense going so as time expired they would remain down by 1 and look to reset in the second. Both teams stayed disciplined as no penalties were given out but things were definitely getting chippy.
Goals: 1-0 Florida
Shots: 13-4 Florida
The Bolts got off to another slow start and would eventually take the first penalty of the game. Conacher got 2 for tripping and the Bolts PK unit would get to work. The Bolts did a good job of defending it, and then Joseph made an excellent play nearly getting a breakaway. Luckily Joseph drew a slashing call to make it 4 on 4 hockey! the 4 on 4 didn’t last for long and the Bolts would then get their first PP of the season. The Bolts got tons of great looks but just couldn’t get one in the back of the net. The Bolts then started to pick the pace as they got multiple chances and more time in the offensive zone. Luongo turned them down though as the Panthers still lead by 1 late in the second. Luongo would then get shaken up for the second time as one of his own players fell on his leg. Luongo would leave the game and James Rimer would come in to take his place. The Bolts continued to chip away as they began to play the majority of the game in the Lighting offensive zone. The Bolts would then get a second chance on the PP as Trocheck was called for high-sticking. The Bolts would get a huge opportunity as the puck kept bouncing around but they could not capitalize. Then with just under a min to go the Bolts would then head to the PK as Miller got 2 for slashing. The Bolts would successfully kill off the first min of the power play and head into the break still only down by 1.
Goals: 1-0 Florida
Shots: 24-18 Florida
The Panthers started off on the PP but the Bolts PK unit shut them down. Just as the penalty expired Huberdeau would get called for hooking and give the Bolts their third PP of the night. The Bolts power play did not go as well as they would have hoped as Miller was then called for slashing trying to defend a breakaway. Luckily the Bolts were able to kill it off and still trail by only 1. The Bolts would not do themselves any favors though as they went right back to the PK after Coburn got 2 for tripping. Vasy continued to stop everything the Panthers threw at him and the Bolts would once again kill off the penalty keeping the deficit at 1. The Panthers went right back to their old ways as they dominated the puck and got shot after shot but, Vasy continued his old ways and kept the puck out of the net. The Bolts just kept shooting themselves in the foot as Paquette would then head off for interference, but then when it looked like all hope was lost Anthony Cirelli stole the puck and ripped one past Rimer to TIE THIS GAME! The Bolts would kill off the rest of the penalty remaining perfect on the PK. The pace of this game continued to rise and both teams went back and forth trying to get the lead before the end of regulation. Things then got a little chippy as the Bolts played to the whistle and Panthers players took objection to it. No penalties were given out, and we would continue with 5 on 5 hockey. As time began to wind down, both teams grabbed a few more chances but neither could grab the lead. Killorn then got a huge opportunity on the breakaway but couldn’t slip it past Riemer. time would then expire and we would be headed to overtime!
Shots: 39-26 Florida
Over time got off to a thrilling start as usually as Vasy made some huge saves to stop the pathers quick attack. The Panthers then nearly got one to trickle through as Vasy was unsure if he had it but covered it up by falling back. the Bolts quickly responded though with a few nice chances but rimer shut the door on them. With just under 2 min to go the Bolts got back but only got a quick shot off. The Bolts would get a few more chances but they were quickly broken up and time would run out. So after 5 min of 3 on 3, we would have to decide this one in a shootout.
Shots: 43-29 Florida
Kuch- SCORES! BOLTS WIN!
- Vasilevskiy (42SV, 1GA)
- Cirelli (1G Shorthanded)
- Kucherov (1G Shootout Winer)
Up Next and Final Strike
This one got off to a bad start as the Bolts could not get time in the offensive zone and had no second opportunities. The Panthers, on the other hand, dominated play and ran over the Bolts with shot after shot. However the Bolts only continued to get better as the game went on, Vasy was stellar once again along with the PK. The Bolts will need to get off to better starts and be much more aggressive going forward, but the Boys stepped up when they needed to the most!
The Bolts will look to get back to back wins as they take on the Vancouver Canucks Thursday, October 11th at 7:30 PM in Amalie Arena.