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Archrivals Battle in Tampa Bay as Bolts Extend Point Streak

Photo: Alex Walworth, The Scrum Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning returned to the friendly confines of Amalie Arena tonight after a highly successful road trip. The Bolts took nine out of ten possible points on their five-game jaunt. Tonight’s opponent- their archrivals- the Boston Bruins. The Bruins came in on a high note after their dramatic victory over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise last night. That win gave the big bad Bruins sole possession of first place in the Atlantic division. They sport an incredible record of 17-3-3 against their division opponents. Two of those overtime losses have come at the hands of the Lightning. Could the Bolts pull out another win tonight?

The Bolts and their fans got some welcome news earlier in the day when they learned that both Brayden Point and Victor Hedman would be suiting up for tonight’s game. Both missed the last game of the road trip with lower body injuries. The Lightning came into tonight with 11 games remaining in the season. Only three are with teams currently ahead of them in the standings- tonight’s matchup against the Bruins and two future games against another archrival in the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s important for the Bolts to come out strong tonight and show they can compete with these top tier teams.

Archrivals Look Fierce- not Fatigued

The Bruins were coming off a tough game in Florida last night. But they showed no signs of fatigue to start this one. They were buzzing early. However, the Bolts would be the ones to open the scoring. About halfway through the opening frame, the third line connected. Mike Eyssimont found Nick Paul (playing in his 400th career game) and Nick Paul found Mitchell Chaffee. Chaffee rocketed his fourth goal off the season over the shoulder of netminder Linus Ullmark. Ullmark really had no chance on the shot.

The Lightning would have loved to take a lead into the dressing room, but their archrivals had other ideas. With a little under three minutes remaining in the period, Danton Heinen scored his 15th of the season to tie the score at one.

Shortly after that goal, Tanner Jeannot got into a scuffle with Trent Frederic. Jeannot certainly seemed to get the best of that one as Frederic left the ice with blood dripping down his face.

And that was how the teams would go to the dressing room.

Time to Make a Point

The Bruins came out energized in the first period, but the Bolts seemed to be the team that came out energized to start the second. They had several chances and finally scored on a beautiful wraparound by Brayden Point at the 6:50 mark.

The teams continued to exchange chances for the remainder of the period, but neither was able to find the back of the net. With 1:40 remaining in the period, Anthony Duclair took a penalty as he tripped David Pastrnak going in for a breakaway. The Lightning killed off the 1:40 remaining in the second and headed to the locker room with a lead. But the Bruins would start the third with 20 seconds remaining on the power play.

Hoping to Hold on Against the Archrivals

The Bolts were hoping for one more good period, but it would not be easy. The Bruins would no doubt come out fired up. The Lightning did a nice job holding them off in the early minutes. About six minutes in Steven Stamkos looked to have given his team some breathing room. Fans briefly celebrated the captain’s 30th goal of the season. Until the coach’s challenge was announced. The zone entry was determined to have been offside and the goal came off the board.

The Lightning held on as the time ticked down in this one. The fought to maintain control of the puck and not allow Ullmark to go to the bench for the extra attacker. Finally, with just under a minute remaining, the Bruins did pull their goaltender and took a timeout.

They really did not get any chances with the extra skater. The Lightning, however, did get a chance… for Nikita Kucherov to tap the puck into an empty net and seal the 3-1 victory. Andrei Vasilevskiy got an assist on the goal (his second assist of the season).

The Bolts extend their point streak to eight games (7-0-1) and further strengthen their hold on the first wildcard spot. And, they showed they can match up against another top tier team!

Three Stars

1- Andrei Vasilevskiy- stopped 23 of 24 shots and got an assist

2- Brayden Point- game winning goal with a beautiful wraparound

3- Mitchell Chaffee- opening goal, played well all night

Up Next

The Bolts will wrap up the month of March on Saturday night as the New York Islanders come to town. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm.


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