The Tampa Bay Lightning opened up the 2018-2019 in fashion with some ups and downs, and a shootout to win 2-1 against the Florida Panthers.
A new face to the Tampa Bay Lightning debuted in the Home Opener. Tyler Johnson was out for the game with an upper-body injury, so Mathieu Joseph got to play his first NHL game. Joseph totaled two shots and 13:50 ice time.
The night didn’t start out the greatest for the Bolts as the Panthers scored early in the first to go up 1-0, with a goal from Jacob MacDonald. The rest of the first period was sloppy, with a lack of time in the offensive zone, and just not good hockey as a team.
Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo went down two separate times during plays and ultimately went to the locker room with a lower-body injury. James Reimer came in for the Panthers for the rest of the game.
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The game consisted of five separate penalties for the Bolts, that fortunately, the Panthers were never able to convert on.
Midway in the third period, with some momentum on the Bolts’ side, Anthony Cirelli scored off his own rebound, to tie the game. This goal sent electricity through Amalie Arena, and it led to the Bolts successfully picking up their first point of the season.
While there was some back and forth in the 3-on-3 play in overtime, neither team was able to score. In the shootout, J.T. Miller went first and scored to put the Bolts up 1-0. After the Panthers missed their first two shots from Mike Hoffman and Aleksander Barkov, Nikita Kucherov scored to clinch the game for the Bolts.
Overall, the game resulted in a win and our first two points which Bolts Nation always loves to see. However, there seemed to be a lack of energy at times during the game for the Bolts.
Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman all made some mistakes in this first game, and our offense lacked overall. If Andrei Vasilevskiy had not made 42 saves in the game, the Panthers would have won with ease. For the rest of the season, this team needs to improve back to the highest scoring offense they were last year.
The Bolts will not play again until this Thursday, against the Vancouver Canucks at home.