The offense scored early and often in the season opening win against the Chicago Blackhawks. After a dominating 5-1 victory to open the season on Wednesday, Tampa Bay faced off against Chicago in the second of a two game series at Amalie Arena. With the upcoming road trip to Dallas postponed due to the Stars’ COVID-19 outbreak, this would be the last game before a 6 day break for the Bolts.
In a start similar to the one on Wednesday, neither team took an aggressive approach. The opening period saw few chances at both ends of the ice. Tampa Bay’s best scoring chance came on an Anthony Cirelli breakaway that was denied by Blackhawks goalie Collin Delia. This was one of several key saves that kept the Bolts off the scoreboard in the first period.
Lightning fans everywhere held their breath during a scary moment involving Mikhail Sergachev. The Lightning defenseman limped to the locker room with an apparent left leg injury. However, after a media timeout, Sergachev returned to the ice and was able to finish the game.
Lightning break through, but Chicago roars back
After a scoreless, balanced first period, it did not take long for the dangerous Tampa Bay offense to get rolling. Just over two minutes into the period, Delia came out of the crease to attempt a pass behind the net to Duncan Keith. Instead of Keith, Delia found a disruptive Steven Stamkos ready to intercept the puck. Stamkos dished in front to a wide open Ondrej Palat who caught Delia out of position and buried it home.
With a 1-0 lead and all the momentum, it only took another two minutes for the Lightning to find the back of the net again. This time, Alex Killorn converted a Tyler Johnson setup into a beautiful top shelf goal from between the circles. Blake Coleman made it a 3-0 game when he tipped in a rebound among a traffic jam in front of the net at 8:11.
In a tale of two half periods, things took a dramatic turn in favor of Chicago. At 13:29, Barclay Goodrow was called for a trip against Alex DeBrincat. The ensuing Blackhawks power play resulted in DeBrincat himself getting Chicago on the scoreboard. 1:51 later, a Mitchell Stephens turnover resulted in a backhand goal by Patrick Kane.
With the score 3-2, a diving save by Andrei Vasilevskiy in the final seconds of the period prevented a would be game tying goal.
Bolts regain control and complete sweep
With 6:28 left in the game, Yanni Gourde gave Tampa Bay a little breathing room with his first goal of the season. Steven Stamkos added an insurance goal 4 minutes later to wrap up the victory and finish the two game sweep.
The win gave the Lightning its first 2-0 start since the 2015-2016 season. They also outscored Chicago by a combined score of 10-3 in the series.
With the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Dallas Stars organization, the next game for Tampa Bay will be next Thursday 1/21 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
- Dave Randorf – First game as Lightning TV play by play man!
- Tyler Johnson – You have to give him props for taking his role in stride and he had a big assist in this game
- Andrei Vasilevskiy – It took the best goaltender in the league to keep Chicago from tying that game in the second period
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