This game had it all. Highlight reel goals, game misconducts, hat-tricks, furious comebacks, even some overtime to decide this complete barn burner. The Tampa Bay Lightning earned their first win of the 2021-22 season on the road in Detroit 7-6 in overtime.
The Lightning trailed by three goals at three different points, including being down 6-3 with less than 10 minutes to go in the third. Tampa Bay stormed back to salvage a victory in what would have been an extremely disappointing game to drop.
Let’s breakdown what we learned
1. Vasilevskiy’s Slow Start
Before getting into the positives, it needs to be said that Andrei Vasilevskiy has not been particularly sharp in his first two games. Thursday saw the Big Cat allow six goals on 26 shots, including some pucks that leaked through him. After an incredible deep run in last year’s playoffs, it would be reasonable for Vasilevskiy to have to ease into form this season. The Lightning won’t want to wait around two long as they will not want to play too many games where they need to score seven. The team in front of Vasilevskiy can certainly be better as well.
2. Powerplay Keeps the Lightning Around
While trailing 4-1 late in the second period, the Lightning powerplay would get an opportunity to get back in the game after Detroit’s Captain Dylan Larkin served a significant penalty. Steven Stamkos connected on a pair of one-timers to cut the lead to one. The powerplay was not done as they would click for a third time late in the third period on a Nikita Kucherov one-time shot set up by Victor Hedman. The powerplay was a savior at times in the last two Stanley Cup runs, and they came up huge to keep Tampa Bay close in this one.
3. The Furious Comeback
Trailing 6-3 with less than eight minutes to go, the Lightning would rally for three goals in short order to tie the game at six. This was the first time the game had been tied since 0-0, as the Red Wings were able to capitalize on seemingly every opportunity. The Lightning would earn the win and their first win of the season in overtime on Ondrej Palat’s second goal of the game. The Lightning dominated the overtime, possessing the puck in the Detroit zone throughout, and held the Wings without a shot in the extra frame.
4. Captain’s Going in Different Directions
A turning point in the game can be pinned down to how both club’s captains responded to a bit of adversity. Dylan Larkin is in his second season wearing the “C” in Hockeytown. In the second period, Larkin was buried from behind against the boards by Mathieu Joseph. Larkin’s wires crossed as he suckered Joseph in the face and received a game misconduct for intent to injure. On the major penalty that would eventually ensue, Stamkos buried two quick powerplay goals to get the Lightning back in the game while Larkin was already in the shower.
5. Cooper Nails the Empty Net
After some questionable goaltending pulls on Tuesday, Jon Cooper pulled all the right strings in Thursday’s comeback. While on the powerplay trailing by two late in the third, Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy as the lead would be cut to one. Shortly after, Vasilevskiy would leave the net again around the 2:30 mark in the game, and Alex Killorn would soon tuck home the tying goal. Cooper’s aggression with the empty net paid off in a big way as the Lightning recorded their first victory in dramatic fashion.