The Tampa Bay Lightning capped off their first road trip of the season with their second straight overtime win. Once again, the Lightning were forced to come from behind in the third period before what would be a 2-1 overtime win over the Washington Capitals.
Winning 2-1 after taking Thursday’s contest 7-6 once again proves how this team can play any way you want. They have come a long way over the years, and have proven time and again they have learned how to win in any circumstance.
Let’s break down what we learned.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 5. Stamkos’ OT winner
Something that has boggled my mind in recent years has been how Steven Stamkos has not scored an overtime-winning goal since the 2013/14 season. 3-on-3 overtime had not even been invented yet.
The captain made it count on Saturday night with a brilliant shot on an odd-man, end-to-end rush with Victor Hedman. The goal for Stamkos continued his hot start to the season. He has three goals and seven points through three games to start the year. The play might night have been possible without Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s big faceoff win at the other end of the ice to get the rush started.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 4. Another third period comeback
It was not quite the epic three-goal third period comeback they had in Detroit. The Lightning trailed by just a single goal against a strong Washington squad before Mikhail Sergachev would bring the Lightning even with a shot from the blueline. Sergachev getting on the board was nice to see after not registering a goal in last year’s playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 3. Vasilevskiy back in form
After a rough go of it in the first two games of the season, Andrei Vasilevskiy was extremely sharp versus Washington. Vasilevskiy made 32 saves on 33 shots, including a sweeping goal-line save to keep the deficit at one late in the second period.
If the Lightning did not get this great save, they would have been facing a significant uphill battle in the third period down two. Washington is not Detroit. Vasilevskiy even had a handful of outstanding saves while shorthanded in a tied game late in the third period to help get this one to overtime.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 2. Outstanding penalty kill
The Washington powerplay has been one of the most dangerous powerplays in the league over the last decade-plus. Tampa Bay was able to kill all four Washington chances on the man advantage. The best kill of the night came in overtime as the Lightning were able to hold Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals off the board. Anthony Cirelli’s efforts stood out after making an outstanding play to clear the puck with his hand after having his stick slashed out of his grasp.
Tampa Bay Lightning: 1. Coming with a price
Despite the thrilling victory to capture all four of the possible points to conclude the road trip, the night would come with some downside. The Lightning lost Jan Rutta in the second period and Nikita Kucherov in the third to injury. Kucherov is obviously irreplaceable, and his long-term health is more important than the result of any individual game.
The Lightning will be fine if it is only short-term but anything prolonged would be a huge blow. As for Rutta, the Tampa Bay defense core is already thin at the moment and could be even stretched even more if they end up losing one of just six healthy defensemen on the roster. Don’t expect any update until the team skates again back in Tampa on Monday.