Following yet another wild 6-5 win against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Tampa Bay Lightning welcome in the Montreal Canadiens. In their first meeting in Montreal back on November 3rd the Lightning walked away with a 4-1 victory.
TAMPA BAY – In their second of four meeting the Tampa Bay Lightning look to take it to the Montreal Canadiens and backup goalie Antti Niemi. Back in November the Lightning and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy walked into Montreal and beat starting goalie Carey Price 4-1 thanks to two goals by Bolts captain Steven Stamkos.
A few Lightning and NHL records have been broken recently. Firstly no team in NHL history has won their first 20 out of 22 games against conference opponents. The record was originally set by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-2013 and Ottawa Senators 2005-2006, both teams won 19.
Steven Stamkos has once again etched his name in the Lightning history books. This time it’s for scoring the most goals in one calendar month with 14. This not only sets a record for Stamkos personally who never hit this high of a number in his two Rocket Richard winning seasons, but also a franchise mark. The previous most goals scored in a month was done by Nikita Kucherov in October of 2017 and Hall of Famer Martin St Louis in January of 2004.
Guess who’s back, back again, Joseph’s back tell a friend
Lightning rookie Mathieu Joseph returned in tonight’s game after missing six games with an injury. Prior to heading to IR briefly, Joseph was putting together a nice little stretch. In 32 games played for the first year player, Joseph notched nine goals and four assists for 13 points. His last goal came against the Boston Bruins back on December 6th. With him returning to the line-up, a spot had to be opened up. Forward JT Miller will miss time after sustaining an injury against the Flyers. His timetable is quoted as being “week to week” so he could miss some time.
Montreal strikes first…. and second
It only took 10 minutes for Montreal to take a 1-0 lead. Following a penalty by Kucherov, Andrew Shaw would knock in a rebound while on the power play to put the Canadiens up by one. Sixteen seconds later back to even strength Kenny Agostino redirected a shot past Vasilevskiy for a 2-0 lead. There haven’t been many times the Lightning have been down by two to start a game. It wouldn’t take long for the Lightning to get on the board though. Doing his best Stamkos impression from the top of the left face-off circle, Adam Erne rocketed a shot on Niemi. With Yanni Gourde in his favorite spot he was able to get the blade of his stick on the puck to cut Montreal’s two goal lead to one.
With barely three minutes left in the first period Anton Stralman would tie the game up for the Bolts, but it wouldn’t last too long. Twenty eight seconds later the Canadiens Jordie Benn would get Montreal back in the drivers seat. The Lightning who have won six straight at Amalie, went to the first intermission down 3-2. Montreal out-shot the Lightning 18-9 in the first twenty minutes. Fret not though, the Bolts have a winning record when allowing the first two goals of the game (5-4-0).
You get a goal, you get a goal, everyone gets a goal
Seven minutes and fifty five seconds, that was what the game clock was at when Kucherov struck for his 18th goal of the season, but it was a mere three seconds into a power play. With a clean face off win back to Victor Hedman who passed over to a wide open Kucherov in his favorite spot for the goal. Thirty eight seconds later following a magnificent give and go by Mikhail Sergachev, Tyler Johnson buried a re-direct past Niemi for a 4-3 Lightning lead.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 30, 2018
The Lightning’s lead wouldn’t last too long. Four minutes after Johnson’s goal, Brett Kulak would fire a shot from the point to tie the game back up. Andrew Shaw would notch his second of the game less than a minute later. between this game so far and the Philly game Thursday there have been 20 goals scored at Amalie with just about six minutes to play.
Erne gets in on the fun… twice
Earlier in the game Erne had a shot get deflected by Gourde for a goal, this time it was his turn for his 5th goal of the season to tie the game at five. From the right face-off circle an a minute and two secs to go in the game he took a quick wrist shot off a Gourde pass to take a 6-5 Lightning lead.
The Lightning begin their three game California road trip against the Anaheim Ducks at 8pm on 12/31, yes that’s New Years Eve.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star – Andrew Shaw: 2 Goals
2nd Star – Nikita Kucherov: Another goal and an assist to extend his point streak.
Nikita Kucherov became the 14th different player in NHL history to post multiple point streaks of 10 or more games in consecutive seasons.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 30, 2018
1st Star – Adam Erne: 2 goals and an assist, Game tying goal and game winner
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