The Tampa Bay Lightning battled back from a 2-1 deficit to edge out a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a lot to prove as they made their way into the Amalie Arena tonight. After getting demolished 6-2 by the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, the Lightning would look to get back on track and garner some redemption by picking up a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Surprisingly enough, the game did not get off to the fast-paced start one would’ve expected from these two teams. At the halfway point in the period, the Penguins would outshoot the Lightning 5-3 for a total shot count of eight. Given the number of times the Lightning turned over the puck in the zone in the early moments of the game, it’s surprising this number was as low as it was.
The good news here is the Lightning would make their fourth shot on goal of the night really count. Lightning forward Alex Killorn would pick up his first goal of the season with assists from Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev to give the Bolts the early lead.
Things would really start to pick up after the Killorn goal. The Lightning would put some solid pressure on Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry. Striking first blood has always worked well for the Lightning and it seemed to have created the spark the team needed to find their groove.
Things started to heat up in the final six minutes of the first period. Lightning forward Pat Maroon and Penguins defenseman Erik Gudbranson exchanged blows. Surprisingly enough, Gudbranson would get the lone penalty on the play.
Despite being down a man, the Penguins were still able to bring the fight to Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. Penguins forward Sam Lafferty would end up one-on-one with Vasilevskiy. Thankfully, Vasy would make the stop and keep the Penguins out of the back of the net.
As the period progressed, things would continue to get even more heated between these two teams. Cedric Paquette would take a questionable hit along the boards. Needless to say, Ceddy’s teammates didn’t take too kindly to a hit on a player who is only just now making his season debut due to injury.
The refs would seemingly even things out on the penalty front. Last time the Penguins would get the lone penalty. This time, it would be two Lightning players headed to the box as opposed to the one player on the other side of the ice. Anthony Cirelli would get a double minor for Roughing against Gudbranson. Patric Hornqvist would get two minutes for Roughing against Paquette.
When the buzzer would sound to end the first period of play, the Lightning would lead the Penguins 1-0. The Bolts would end up outshooting the Pens 12-15 in the first 20 minutes. Regrettably, it would be the Pens who would dominate the Faceoff Circle 59-41.
The Lightning made their fair share of mistakes on the ice in the first period, but when the buzzer sounded to start the first intermission, the Bolts would remain on top. One area the Lightning would need to be more mindful of in the second period is puck handling. There were far too many turnovers in the opening minutes of the game and this could have spelled a number of problems for the Bolts.
The Penguins would start the second period on the Power Play as the final 23 seconds of the double minor to Cirelli would tick off the clock. The good news here is the Lightning would not only able to kill off the remaining time on the penalty but would be able to put forth some aggressive offense of their own.
The Lightning would post six shots on goal before the first four minutes would pass in the second. This is a very stark contrast to the way the first period kicked off. It definitely looked as if the Lightning had found their groove and were ready to put up a real fight against the Penguins.
Regrettably, the beast would not remain sleeping for long. Over the course of the next minute and a half, the Penguins would register five shots on goal. The fifth would be the one that counted the most. Penguins forward Brandon Tanev would pick up his second goal of the season to tie things up for the Pens.
The second period would very much be a give and take between the Lightning and Penguins. Just past the halfway point in the period, things would shift ever-so-slightly in the Lightning’s advantage. At 11:24 in the second, the Penguins would get whistled for Too Many Men on the Ice, a penalty which would be served by forward Dominik Kahun.
The Lightning would truly make Jarry work during the man advantage, forcing the young netminder to make a couple sprawling saves. Regrettably for the Bolts, Jarry would be able to keep the puck out of the back of the net and the Penguins would successfully kill the penalty.
The Bolts would definitely keep the pressure on the Penguins throughout the second, but this wouldn’t stop the Penguins from firing back and retaking the lead. With less than a minute left in the second period, the Penguins would retake the lead with a goal from Jake Guentzel.
Despite the numbers on the scoresheet at the end of the second period, the Lightning would put up some impressive numbers. The Lightning outshot the Penguins 11-22 in the second for a two-period total of 23-37. Much like the first period, the Penguins would control the faceoff circle, going 58-42 through 40 minutes of play.
As the second period was all about the Penguins on the scoresheet, the Lightning would have a lot of ground to make up for. The Lightning has done a good job of putting pressure on Jarry thus far. Now, they would simply have to finish the job.
The Penguins would attempt to turn the tide of momentum in the third period as they picked up the pace in the offensive department. Unfortunately for the Penguins, the Bolts weren’t ready to go quietly into the night. Luke Witkowski would beautifully set up Ryan McDonagh, who would fire on the net. The puck would redirect off Cedric Paquette who would pick up his first goal of the season in his season debut.
The Paquette goal seemed to reignite the fire in the Lightning. In the minutes that would follow the Paquette goal, the Lightning would flat out assault Jarry with scoring chance after scoring chance. Amazingly enough, Jarry would seem to weather the storm through the halfway point in the third.
The Lightning would find themselves in an advantageous position in the final five minutes of the game. The Bolts would end up with a Power Play as Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese would be whistled for Throwing His Stick to one of his teammates. If there was ever a time for the Bolts to capitalize on the Power Play opportunity, it was this moment right here.
While the Lightning would have some decent scoring chances during the Power Play, the Bolts found themselves unable to make their way to the scoresheet and the Penguins would successfully kill the penalty.
Funny enough, just as one Power Play opportunity would come to an end, the Lightning would find themselves right back to the man advantage. Jake Guentzel, who picked up a goal in the second period, would be whistled for Hooking. This time, the Lightning would make the Penguins pay.
Following an outstanding setup from Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman would pick up his second goal of the season to retake the lead with less than a minute left in the third period. All the Lightning would have to do at this point is hold on.
The Penguins would pull their netminder in the final minute of play in favor of getting an extra attacker on the ice. The Pens would put up a valiant effort, but when the final buzzer sounded, it would be the Tampa Bay Lightning who would come up with the victory.
After a tremendous play from Victor Hedman and company in the third period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would edge out a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. While Lightning fans already knew the outcome of the game, the NHL seemed determined to make fans wait for the result of the game.
The Penguins (and the NBC Sports announcers) were determined the puck had crossed the goal line with less than a second left in the game. We’re not exactly sure what they were seeing. They showed the play from about five different angles and there was absolutely no definitive proof the puck crossed the line.
Much to the surprise of Lightning fans, the referees actually made the right call and held up the call on the ice. We can’t imagine how violently the Amalie Arena crowd would’ve erupted had this gone the other way. Many Penguins players stayed on the ice after the call to watch the replay once again.
The Lightning had far from the perfect game, but their effort was enough to edge out a victory over the Penguins. The Penguins picked up some ground in the shots on goal department, outshooting the Bolts 16-11 in the third period for a three-period total of 39-48 in favor of the Bolts. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the Tampa Bay Lightning put up 48 shots on goal against the Penguins tonight.
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The Bolts don’t have a whole lot of time to relish in tonight’s victory. The Lightning will have the next two days off before they return to the Amalie Arena on Saturday night to take on the Nashville Predators. It will certainly be interesting to see if the Lightning can keep momentum on their side after tonight’s victory over the Pens.