The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers got together for the hundredth time in 2021, or so it feels like. The Bolts came out ahead in a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the top team in the league. Even with injuries mounting, and a not-so-hot start to the season, the Lightning proved that they can still go toe-to-toe with the best.
Five takeaways from the win:
1. Point Had Himself a Night
It was an eventful night for Brayden Point as he found himself the target of the Panthers’ physicality early and often. A mix-up with Radko Gudas in the first period got things going, and a later fight with Patric Hornqvist in the second period capped off a bruising night for the star forward that usually steers clear of the on-ice unpleasantries.
However, neither of those events were the highlight of the night for Point as he found himself in all alone on a breakaway in overtime . In typical Point breakaway fashion, the opposing team found themselves fishing the puck out of the net.
2. Bogosian is Good to Go
Zach Bogosian made his return to the lineup for the first time since going down with an injury in the season opener, and his return could not have come at a better time after the injury to Erik Cernak in the previous game. Bogo stepped up in a big way playing 18:01 and recording his first assist of the year on Hedman’s goal. Bogo’s steady performance should calm any concerns fans may have had while Cernak remains out with injury.
3. 2nd Power Play Unit Gets it Done
The Lightning power play has struggled in Nikita Kucherov’s absence, especially the first unit, but the second unit came through Saturday for the opening goal. Ross Colton, all the way down by the wall at the goal line, zipped the puck across to the opposite side crease where Pat Maroon was waiting to put it in. The Lightning have left points out on the ice this season with their power play inefficiency. Their second unit getting it done tonight was a welcomed sight and possibly the difference in the game.
4. Katchouk Deserves an Extended Look
Boris Katchouk may be the most under-the-radar of the Bolts’ three rookie forwards this year, but he has quietly looked to be the most impressive of the bunch. With Alex Barre-Boulet sitting and Katchouk back in the lineup for the first time in 6 games, Katchouk delivered with the primary assist on Hedman’s goal, the first assist of his NHL career.
Katchouk’s willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice and win the puck, and pace he plays the game at, are intangibles that neither Barre-Boulet nor Raddysh are as gifted at executing. Katchouk deserves an extended look now after ABB and Raddysh often looked ineffective in their six-game stint together.
5. Vasilevskiy is a Gamebreaker
No words. Just a video.
The Lightning conclude their 2021 playoff nostalgia tour against the New York Islanders Monday night at 7pm EST.