Lightning Fight Off Noisy Kings After a Quiet Deadline Day

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 3: Victor Hedman
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 3: Victor Hedman /

On a day where the Tampa Bay Lightning were all quiet on the trade front, there was plenty of noise inside the Amalie Arena on Monday night during the Lightning’s 4-3 shootout win over the Kings.

The Los Angeles Kings came into the game sitting in last place in the Western Conference with 52 points (second to last in the NHL) to face a surging Lightning team that was looking to hit 100 points in the standings.

The Bolts got on the board early with their No. 1 ranked power play on a goal from Brayden Point just 1:05 into the game. The goal put Point at 36 goals on the year and 79 points. It also gave Nikita Kucherov his 101st point with his secondary assist. Anthony Cirelli followed it up seven minutes later with a deflection to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period, despite being outshot by LA 10-6.

During the second period is when the noise picked up. And by noise, that is the loud clang of the iron as Steven Stamkos and J.T. Miller connected with the post during Anze Kopitar’s hooking minor.

The Kings responded in the third period with three unanswered goals. Alex Iaffallo deflected the first in off his foot as he slid to a halt in front of the net, but no “distinct kicking motion” was ruled. Less than five minutes later Jonny Brodzinski scored his first on the year and then 46 seconds after that, Austin Wagner put the Kings in front 3-2.

It looked as though the Lightning were in danger of losing only their third game this year after leading to start the third period, but the quick response by Miller just 58 seconds after the Wagner goal would be the equalizer to send this one to overtime and eventually a shootout.

Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman would be the heroes in the shootout. Vasilevskiy stopped Adrian Kempe, to keep the Bolts alive in the shootout, and then Kopitar to seal the 4-3 victory after Hedman buried the shootout winner.

The victory for the Bolts is their ninth straight and earned them their 100th point in the standings in just their 63rd game on the year, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1978 according to NHL on NBC.

Despite this being the eighth-straight loss for the Kings, they certainly showed their fire power and capitalized on moments when the Lightning were playing very much on their heels. “We weren’t at our best today,” said Hedman in a postgame interview with NBCSN. “(We) showed some character tying up that game and got some extra points in the shootout.”

It is clear the Lightning were not at their best with seven giveaways on the game, including one by Dan Girardi that nearly put the Lightning behind late in the third.

A win is a win, but the Bolts will need to play better hockey than they did tonight in order to prove staying quiet at the NHL trade deadline was the right move. Otherwise, it could get noisier down the stretch.