Connect with us


Beasts of the East Collide in Statement Game

Photo: Alex Walworth, The Scrum Sports

On the surface, tonight’s game is just game number 47 of 82. A mid-season game without much of a playoff implication. But it means much more than that to the Tampa Bay Lightning. And not simply because their 10-game home winning streak is on the line. This game matters to the Bolts because the Boston Bruins have been the dominant force in the league this year. Barring any unforeseen catastrophes, the Bruins will run away with the President’s Trophy this year. But the Lightning are no slouches themselves. We all know that they are the defending champions of the Eastern Conference for the last three years in a row. And with their 30-15-1 record entering the game, they are comfortably in a playoff position and looking to make another deep run. So, tonight means something. The Bruins have beaten the Bolts in their previous two encounters this season. The boys in blue need to prove that they can match up against anyone. Two beasts of the east collide tonight, as the Bolts look to make this a statement game. 

Beasts Come Out for Battle in Statement Game

This one was a tight battle from the start with both teams checking hard. Each team got some looks and both goalies made some nice saves. Just past the midway point of the first period, the Bolts got the first power play of the game when Brad Marchand whacked Ian Cole with a high stick. Boston came into this contest with the best penalty kill unit in the league. The Lightning wasted little time on this one as the Bruins penalty kill coverged around the always-dangerous Nikita Kucherov. But Kucherov managed to get a pass across to Brandon Hagel , who’d been left all alone in front of the net. Hagel rifled it home to give the Bolts the a first period lead.

The Bruins applied consistent pressure for the next several minutes, looking for the tying goal. But Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was up for the challenge. As the period was coming to a close, the Bolts took a penalty as Ian Cole went to the box for interference. The Bruins, second overall in the league on the power play, continued to push for the tying marker. The Bolts killed off the remaining 41 seconds of the period to cling to the 1-0 lead as the horn sounded. The Lightning, 18-0-0 when leading after the first period, had to like how the scoreboard looked!

Statement Game Features Exchange of Fire

The Bolts scored the only goal of the first period but the Bruins returned the favor, scoring the only goal of the second period. The always-frustrating Brad Marchand scored his 16th of the season and his 3rd against the Lightning already this year at the 16:58 mark.

Onto the third period, and Lightning would strike early. Steven Stamkos won a faceoff and got the puck to Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov hammered a shot that beat Ullmark just 58 seconds into the frame.

And the Bolts were back on top. But that lead would prove to be very short-lived, as Pavel Zacha’s wrister tied this one at 2-2 just a minute and 26 seconds later.

And so it would stay for a little more than ten minutes. Then, with a little over 6 and half to go in the third, Brayden Point came flying in for a golden opportunity. His shot did not go in but Victor Hedman rushed in and grabbed the loose puck and slammed it into the back of the net.

Bolts Solidify Their Statement

The Hedman goal marked the third lead of the game for the Lightning. And this time, they would not let it goal. The Bruins pulled their goalie in favor of the extra attacker for the last 2 minutes. They pulled out all the stops but could not beat Vasilevskiy or the tight-checking Lightning skaters. The Bolts made their statement. They won their 11th straight home game. They proved that they remain a force to be reckoned with and one of the true beasts of the Eastern conference.

3 Stars of the Game

1- Victor Hedman- game winning goal

2- Nikita Kucherov- 1 goal, 2 assists (involved in every Lightning goal)

3- Andrei Vasilevskiy- stopped 37 of 39 shots


Up Next

The Lightning finish up this 3-game homestand with a game Saturday night at 7pm against the LA Kings before enjoying some time off for the all-star break.



Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *