Connect with us


Cracking the Kraken in Overtime in Seattle

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the middle of a five game road trip. They lost Thursday night in Nashville. That is putting it as nicely as possible. The question that looms in front of many Lightning fans tonight is this season’s team that won two decisive wins earlier this week? Or are they the team that lost handily to Nashville. They play the Kraken in Seattle tonight. The Kraken are a team that has definitely underachieved so far this season. Seattle ended last season as the 4th best team in the Western Conference last season. It was expected to build upon that this season. They are currently the 13th best team in the West and closer to being a pretender this year than a contender. Seattle’s one bright spot coming into tonight is that they won the previous meeting against Tampa and can sweep the season series tonight with a win. The Kraken have lost their last three games and are winless in their last six. It will undoubtedly be an ornery team the Lightning will face tonight. 

As expected, Andrei Vasilevskiy starts in net for the Lightning and Philipp Grubauer will be in goal for the Kraken. Unexpectedly, Steven Stamkos is out for an undisclosed illness. As a result of this, coach Jon Cooper went with the 11 forwards and 7 defensemen format tonight. It’s always good to see former Lightning Yanni Gourde who is one of the leaders of the Kraken.

First Period

As most NHL games begin, this game saw the two combatants feel each other out for a bit. For the first six and a half minutes of the game, both teams only had three shots each on goal. Then the Lightning went on the power play. While they didn’t score on the power play, they were virtually in the Kraken zone for most of the two minute penalty time. Just as the penalty was over, Nick Perbix blasted a shot from the point. Anthony Cirelli was right in front of Grubauer and tipped in the Perbix shot to open the game’s scoring. Lightning up 1-0. 

Unlike the home team, when the Lightning penalty killing units were called upon with about six minutes left in the first, they came through. In fact, breaking out on a 2 on 2, Cirelli and Brandon Hagel got the best scoring chance during this Seattle power play. 

As the period headed in the final couple of minutes, the Lightning were tilting the ice their way. Working hard in the offensive zone and limiting Seattle’s time in their zone. Just as the period was coming to an end, Nikita Kucherov scored on a deflected pass from Brayden Point. This goal put the Lightning up 2-0 as the period came to an end.

Second Period

Part of the inconsistency the Lightning experienced early in the season came in the second period. Some bad line changes on top of the long change was a recipe for some bad second periods. In a game against a struggling team not letting them back in the game beginning in this second period is critical.

Sure as it’s probably raining in Seattle, the Kraken came out on the ice bent on getting a goal. Like the first period, the Kraken had a difficult time getting any significant zone time. They were getting some shots on goal and appeared to have scored a goal. Devin Shore tipped in a shot by former Lightning, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare to give the Kraken their first goal of the game. Cooper challenged the goal and upon review it wasn’t even close. One of the Kraken was offside by a couple of feet entering the zone. So, still 2-0 Lightning up. 

This play just seemed to ignite the Kraken. They started to pepper Vasilevskiy with some shots. Eventually, the Kraken scored a goal that couldn’t be challenged. Oliver Bjorkstrand snapped the puck past the glove of Vasilevskiy to cut the Lightning lead in half. It is now 2-1 with just under half the period remaining. 

In addition to the Kraken, now the crowd is going nuts. These second period blues for the Lightning continue. There seemed to be no quit in this Seattle team. It was inevitable to expect them to be ornery and wanting to stop their 6 game winless streak. Now that they had the Lightning on their heels, they pushed ahead. Jamie Oleksiak slapped a shot that Vasilevskiy only seemed to hear as he reacted very late on that shot. New ballgame now, all tied up at two. 

As the period was winding down, the chippiness from both teams was on the rise. Each whistle brought some “why I oughta” from both sides. This ultimately led to a Lightning power play but without Stamkos this power play was missing something. They had a tremendous amount of time in Seattle’s zone but couldn’t get a good look on Grubauer. 

Then the Kraken has a shot at the end of the period with a power play of their own. Again, Hagel and Cirelli get off the best scoring chance but as the period ends there is still 47 seconds left on this power play. After getting a 14-4 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, the Lightning managed only 9 shots in the second period while allowing 14 to the Kraken. Two of those went in to tie the game at two. 

Third Period 

This game will come down to which team wants it more. Grubauer apparently suffered a non-contact injury. Backup Joey D’Accord is in net for the Kraken. As the period began, the Kraken had some time left on their power play. They used that time well. Kraken top scorer, Jared McCann scored to give the home team a 3-2 lead. 

Clearly, the momentum, the fight and even the crowd are all in Seattle’s favor. The Lightning need to find an answer to get back in this game. Kucherov was going to be the catalyst. He took the puck on a potential 3 on 2. Once in the zone, he snapped a pass to the trailing Cirelli who slapped a pass to Nick Paul who was stationed in front of D’Accord. Just like that, we are all tied up at three.

Down to the final half of the third period, with the game tied at three. It comes down to the team that wants it more. There were big hits on both sides and just as many blocked shots. With about six and a half minutes left in regulation, Tanner Jeannot was called for a high sticking penalty. 

The Kraken had already converted one power play earlier in the game. Needless to say, this is a big penalty kill for the Lightning. Despite Seattle zipping on this power play, Tampa penalty killers were up to the task and killed this penalty leaving the game tied.  

With 15 seconds left in the period, Cirelli was whistled for a tripping penalty putting the Kraken on the power play. So, now we go to overtime. Seattle will have about a minute and 45 seconds left on the power play. This would be one helluva big penalty kill for the Lightning. 

The Kraken got their looks and Vasilevskiy stopped everything shot his way. We revert back to the 3 on 3. Just after the three minute mark of the extra session, Hagel and Kucherov broke out on a 2 on 1 odd man rush. Hagel slid the puck between the feet of a Kraken defender. The puc landed right on Kucherov’s stick and before you could say NHL top scorer, the puck was in the net. Game over. Lightning win 4-3 in overtime.

Three Stars 

  1. Nikita Kucherov – 2 goals and 1 assist. League’s top scorer shows why he is just that.
  2. Anthony Cirelli – 1 goal and 1 assist and added 4 blocks for good measure
  3. Brandon Hagel – 2 assists including the helper on Kucherov’s game winning goal

What’s Next 

Tuesday night in Vancouver to face the Canucks. Game starts at 10:00 pm.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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