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Lightning

Bolts and Pens get punchy in Lightning win

Photo courtesy of Carol Raper

Both teams came into tonight looking to get back on a winning track. The Tampa Bay Lightning had dropped two in a row and the Pittsburgh Penguins had lost seven of ten.

The tempo of the game started very fast from the drop of the puck by both teams. But before the Penguins could get anything going, the Bolts peppered goalie Casey Desmith and kept the puck in the Penguin’s zone for most of the first five minutes of the opening period. Despite many more quality scoring chances by the Lightning it would be the Penguins to strike first.

Garrett Wilson would get his first of the season on a two-on-one chance that defenseman Victor Hedman did all he could to break up. Pittsburgh would take a 1-0 lead at 13:36 of the opening frame.

BOLTS GET IT BACK

As if the Penguin’s two-on-one goal wasn’t impressive enough, the Lightning decided to one-up their opponents. Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point teamed up for a two-on-none to tie the game at 15:02. Victor Hedman also had an assist on Gourde’s goal – his 400th career point.

Less than a minute later Erik Cernak would put his second of the season past Desmith to give the Bolts a quick 2-1 lead and hold it heading into the first intermission.

A SECOND PERIOD WITH SOME PUNCH

After a squeaky clean first period, the second had it’s share of visits to each penalty box. Both the Penguins and Bolts sent four players each to the box, most for fighting or roughing. It started with Adam Erne and Teddy Blueger scrapping behind the Pittsburgh net. That followed with Sidney Crosby and Tyler Johnson going at it way behind the play. Each of them received roughing minors. Then, to cap it all off, Alex Killorn and Jack Johnson would get five minute majors, themselves, at 17:41 of the second.

Oh, there was some scoring in the period, too.

Anthony Cirelli tied the NHL lead with his fourth short-handed goal to put the Bolts up 3-1. Penguin’s Jared McCann took a sweet cross-crease feed from Bryan Rust in front of Vasy to pull Pittsburgh back within a goal at 8:31 of the period.

Rust would then follow that up with a game-tying goal late in the second to take a 3-3 tie into the final frame.

The third period is brought to you by the letters “T” and “J”

Tyler Johnson scored early in the third, his 19th of the season, to break the tie and give Tampa back it’s 4-3 lead. J.T. Miller would then put his 9th in the back of the net giving them back their two-goal cushion at 14:03 in the third.

Tanner Pearson would make things interesting for the Pens with under five minutes to play pulling Pittsburgh back to within a goal. The Bolts would hang on and snap their two-game skid, beating the Penguins 5-4.

THREE STARS

  1. Tyler Johnson – Not only did he scrap with Crosby but he finished the game with a key third period goal and a +2 on the night.
  2. Anthony Cirelli – Tied for the NHL lead in short-handed goals tonight.
  3. J.T. Miller – Game winning goal gets you on this list every time.

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