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Bad first period dooms Lightning in loss to Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning 11/30/19
Alex Walworth | Staff Photographer

Following yet another third period collapse, the Tampa Bay Lightning (12-8-3) come home to Amalie Arena to face the Carolina Hurricanes (15-10-1). The Bolts record may not indicate it, but besides the Boston Bruins the Atlantic Division is a log jam. Besides the Detroit Red Wings, only six points separate the other six teams heading into Saturday.

Friday night the Tampa Bay Lightning led 3-1 heading into the third period, but once again they let the lead slip away. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed two third period goals to the Washington Capitals, and then the eventual game winner in overtime. Check out the recap from the Washington game here. Tonight James Reimer and the Carolina Hurricanes come in to Amalie hoping to keep the Lightning in the loss column.

Lightning look to get back in the win column

Following winning three straight games (Chicago, Anaheim and Buffalo) the Bolts have dropped their last two (St Louis and Washington). In their last ten games the Lightning are 6-3-1, but with the Boston Bruins already over 40 points the Bolts can’t lose anymore ground.

Cernak returns from suspension

After missing the last two games due to a two game suspension Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak returned tonight to the line-up. The physical d-man has one goal and one point through twenty games this season to go along with a -2 and 21 penalty minutes.

Aho continues hot play

Sebastian Aho have been quite hot lately, in his last ten games (including tonight) he has scored seven goals. Along that same time frame he also has three assists. Tonight he got seven at 4:49 of the first period after a puck went off his foot and trickled past Lightning goalie Curtis McElhinney.

Carolina would continue buzzing in the Lightning’s zone when Jordan Martinook took a snap shot and put it past McElhinney almost effortlessly. It looks like Martinook’s goal came following a line change error. There wouldn’t be anymore scoring for the rest of the first. That was until Jaccob Slavin redirected a puck past McElhinney for a 3-0 Hurricanes lead with 6.7 seconds remaining in the opening period.

Bolts come out firing in the second, but Reimer stands tall

Carolina goalie James Reimer came into this game with a 4-4-0 record in ten games. In the first Carolina’s offense took control, in the second Reimer did. In the first five minutes of the second Carolina put the Lightning on the power play twice. Neither time could the Bolts capitalize on the opportunities.

The Lightning out-shot the Hurricanes 14-9 in the second period, but Reimer made amazing saves to keep the Bolts off the score sheet. Through two periods Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov combined for nine shots through two periods.

Point gets the Bolts going

At 3:26 of the third period the Bolts finally got one past Reimer to cut the Canes lead by two. The goal which was on the power play was their sixth straight game with a power play goal. With that goal Point who missed most of October took the goal lead for the Lightning with 10 on the season. Near the mid way point Tyler Johnson would finally get a goal in the month of November. With Anthony Cirelli rushing towards the net Johnson would get the puck past Reimer and cut Carolina’s lead to one (3-2 Hurricanes). That was Johnson’s 22nd point against Carolina. which is more points He now has more points against the Hurricanes than any other team. The next closest team he has played well against is the Ottawa Senators with 20 points.


Three Stars of the Game

3rd Star – Jaccob Slavin: Got the eventual game winner for the Hurricanes

2nd Star – Sebastian Aho : Got the scoring opened early in the first.

1st Star – James Reimer: Stopped all but two shots, the biggest reason the Hurricanes won.


Up Next

The Lightning will travel to Nashville on Tuesday December 3rd to face the Predators on NBCSN at 8:00pm

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