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Bolts down Blackhawks to begin road trip

The Tampa Bay Lightning were back in action on Sunday night in the Windy City to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Following Friday night’s win over the Red Wings, Tampa Bay entered Sunday hoping to start another winning streak. The Bolts entered just 1 point behind the first place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division. Sunday also marked the start of a stretch of 10 out of the next 11 games on the road for Tampa Bay.

Strome strikes first in fast paced opening period

The Lightning came out in control of the game early in the first period. The Stamkos line immediately generated chances by Anthony Cirelli and the captain himself. As momentum continued to swing back and forth, it was the Blackhawks who drew first blood in this contest. Following a puck retrieval in the corner, Patrick Kane skated back toward the top of the left circle. He then fired a backhand pass through traffic to a waiting Dylan Strome in the right circle who buried a one timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy to put Chicago up 1-0.

Momentum mostly remained with the Hawks going into the first intermission, but the Bolts were not without their own highlight. Turns out, the human highlight reel of goalies was in prime form on this night and committed a disrespectful robbery of a golden opportunity from Kirby Dach.

Momentum swings in action packed second period

Following its lackluster showing in the first period, the Bolts came out ready to change the narrative early in the second. And it didn’t take long to knot the score at 1-1. Just 1:09 into the period, Taylor Raddysh converted a spinning backhand shot through traffic after a Cal Foote shot was deflected. The goal marked the first for Raddysh since December 14th.

The score remained tied for exactly five minutes until the Blackhawks struck again to regain the lead. Patrick Kane took advantage of a flat footed Erik Cernak and fired a snapshot home from the high slot over the left shoulder of Vasilevskiy to put Chicago up 2-1.

Penalty parade gives way to Lightning takeover

The game remained penalty free until midway through the second period. It was Ryan McDonagh visiting the box  first in this game for a delay of game penalty. The Bolts penalty kill held strong, but were immediately sent back to work when McDonagh was released. This was due to a holding penalty on Mikhail Sergachev. This Blackhawks power play saw plenty of shots fired at Vasilevskiy, but the former Vezina winner could not be solved. Then, with 57 seconds left on the Sergachev penalty, Chicago went a man down as well. During a shorthanded rush by the Lightning, Alex DeBrincat was called for tripping Anthony Cirelli. Tampa Bay worked on an abbreviated power play after 57 second of 4 on 4 hockey. Seconds after the power play expired, Steven Stamkos fed Victor Hedman for a one timer from the slot to tie the game at 2.

Energized by the Hedman goal, the Lightning continued buzzing in the offensive zone. A minute and a half later, Tampa Bay grabbed its first lead of the game. After a Ryan McDonagh one timer was saved by Marc-Andre Fleury, Anthony Cirelli grabbed the rebound and fed Cal Foote who was skating in uncontested. Foote tapped the puck into a wide open net to put the Bolts up 3-2.

Three goals in 32 seconds

It was a record setting third period for the Lightning as the rout began to close out the Blackhawks. Until Sunday, the fastest Tampa Bay had ever scored three goals was 42 seconds. That record was set in 2008. But early in the third period, the Bolts broke that previous mark by 10 seconds.

First, Victor Hedman cashed in his second goal of the night with a snap from above the right circle at 1:51 of the period. 13 seconds later, Corey Perry took control of an errant Chicago pass in the offensive zone and scored unassisted to make it 5-2. Then, 19 seconds later it was Mikhail Sergachev converting on a wrist shot off the face-off to make it 6-2.

Alex DeBrincat would get one back for Chicago, but that was as close as the Hawks would get on this night. The Lightning began the road trip with a victory at the United Center.

Three Stars:

  1. Andrei Vasilevskiy – Multiple highlight reel saves to keep this game from being closer
  2. Mikhail Sergachev – 1 G, 2 A
  3. Victor Hedman – 2 G


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