Closing out the road trip on low note and penalties. Former Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant Coach, Rick Bowness, achieves milestone of 2,600 games coached in the NHL. With Zach Bogosian out and Hedman back in Tampa for his second child’s birth; the young guns are in the driver’s seat. Andrei Vasilevskiy in net after playing backup with illness against the Minnesota Wild. Nikolaj Ehlers makes long awaited return.
First period penalties
Lightning come out strong with Steven Stamkos being denied on a prime net front opportunity. Shortly after, Anthony Cirelli puts in the rebound off a Stamkos shot for his second of the season. Vladislav Namestnikov took the games first penalty on a high stick on Karson Kuhlman. Cirelli came up big to kill off the penalty. Jets’ defender Neal Pionk and Cirelli took matching minor penalties. In the closing minute, the four on four saw some momentum shift to the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets took their fourth shot, the tying goal, through a screened Vasilevskiy. Kyle Connor looked to have potted his 17th goal of the season from NHL All-Star Josh Morrissey, however it had been deflected by Pierre-Luc Dubios. Ends one to one.
Second period penalties
With the four on four play over, the Bolts won the opening faceoff and applied heavy pressure until another screened shot found the back of the net this time from NHL All-Star Nikita Kucherov. Cirelli part of this goal too sending a pass to Ian Cole who dropped it for Kucherov. Minutes later a line change gave the Jets their next power-play chance when Cal Foote took a holding penalty. Our penalty killers led play in the offensive zone making for a great kill when Nick Paul took a high-sticking call to give the Jets a five on three opportunity.
The Jets managed to actually get shots on net this time and made it count. Dubios the goal scorer again with a deflection off another Morrissey shot. Mark Scheifele with the secondary assist. The resulting scrum saw Foote and Dubois in the box. Foote with a double minor giving the Jets another power-play.
With time in the second frame winding down Tampa finally sees a chance on the man advantage off a trip by Kyle Conner. They managed a few shots, but Conner Hellebuyck was ready for the Stamkos one-timers. The final minutes of the period were all Tampa. Dubois stopped a fluttering puck from falling the net in the last minute. Ends two to two.
Third period penalties
The opening of the final frame saw the ice tilt the other way. A great block by Haydn Fleury broke his skate blade allowing for some extended zone time which the Bolts survived. The play went back the other way with Cirelli, Kucherov, and Stamkos who saw a shot ring off the post and sent Ehlers the other way on a two on one which Vasilevskiy stole. Another scrum and another Winnipeg advantage.
Six seconds in Namestnikov sent the puck over the glass for another call and the Jets second two-man advantage. A broken stick allowed the Jets to keep the puck in and set up Kyle Connor’s actual 17th goal of the season. Winnipeg was 11 and one when he scores. Scheifele and Morrissey the assists again. On the remainder of the Winnipeg power-play, Blake Wheeler interfered with Vasilevskiy knocking him over resulting in a four on four. That ended and gave the Lightning their second chance on the man advantage. The shortened chance led to a few shots.
Half way through the frame Fleury got run over by Scheifele in the defending zone and left the ice immediately. Cirelli stood up for him instigating a fight with Scheifele. Dubois took another penalty. See a theme yet? Stamkos got a great back door feed that Hellebuyck got a piece of and it got cleared as it was just rolling on the goal line. That was the end of that.
The game evolved into a heavy playoff atmosphere. Connor tripped Kucherov with just under two minutes left. Bolts went with the empty net. 30 seconds later Morgan Barron wrapped it around to tuck it into the empty cage. Adam Lowry with the only assist. Tampa kept the empty net with the continuing power-play, but it didn’t result in anything. End score four to two, Jets.
The Lightning came out strong as could be taking a one goal lead, but slipped up at the end of the period letting penalties get in the way. The second period went the same way. Take the lead. Take penalties. Let them tie it. The third was where the story changed, but not necessarily for the better. They had more time on the man advantage despite giving Winnipeg their first lead of the game. Even with two Tampa defenders at the side of the empty net they couldn’t stop Barron from securing them the win. Namestnikov needs to tighten it up on the penalties as do the rest of the team. The Lightning played as well as they could have, but lost anyways.
Three stars of the game
First star: Josh Morrissey
Second star: Pierre-Luc Dubois
Third star: Anthony Cirelli
Alex Walworth | The Scrum
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