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Despite a late surge, Lightning fall to Jets

Alex Walworth | Staff Photographer

Can lightning strike for a fourth time in a row? After playing two games in Sweden, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned home Thursday night and took the New York Rangers to the proverbial woodshed. Tampa scored four goals before the Rangers could even get a shot on net. The Bolts would finish off the Rangers 9-3, en route to their third consecutive game. Blake Wheeler and the Winnipeg Jets come to Amalie looking to halt the Bolts streak. 

While the beginning of the season hasn’t quite gone the Tampa Bay Lightning’s way, there is room for some optimism. One could and probably would say the Bolts suffered early on from a playoff hangover, not the one they were probably hoping for though. While going 6-4-2 isn’t bad, a lot of fans were expecting the team to come out to begin the season firing on all cylinders, which did and didn’t happen. The record isn’t the worst in team history to start a season, but it isn’t the best either. While they pushed through October, the month of November so far has been much more kind to the Lightning. Check out the recap for Thursday’s game against the Rangers. Tonight they welcomed in the Winnipeg Jets

The Jets have won five out of their last seven, including a 4-3 win down in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers Thursday night. This will be the first meeting between these clubs this season.

The Little Yanni that could

Since joining the fourth line along with Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon while on the Sweden trip, Yanni Gourde has put together a few nice little games. So far in the month of November Gourde has four goals in four consecutive games. Of the four games the Bolts have played in November, Gourde has a goal in each. The four game streak is the longest of his career, his previous high was three straight games. Thursday’s game was also the 200th of Gourde’s career.

Winnipeg gets off to early start

On the games second shot of the night Winnipeg was able to get a early 1-0 lead. Cycling the puck well in Tampa Bay’s zone Josh Morrissey ripped one towards Andrei Vasilevskiy. Mathieu Perrault was able to tip the puck and get it past the Lightning net-minder. For the final 18 minutes of the first period both teams would trade opportunities, neither truly able to capitalize, that was until the was a mad scramble in front of Jets goalie Conner Hellebuyck. It seemed every Lightning player on the ice had a whack at the puck. Victor Hedman would be the Bolts player to finally get it across the line.

The second period belongs to Jets

For nearly eight minutes it seemed this was going to be like the middle 17 minutes of the first period, until Winnipeg got back in the pilots seat courtesy of a goal from Jack Roslovic.  Winnipeg’s 1 goal lead wouldn’t last very long at all, actually it lasted 21 seconds to be exact. Nikolaj Ehlers put the Jets up 3-1 near the midway point of the second period. Ehlers goal came after the Lightning challenged for high sticking. The refs determined the goal was good and the Lightning were assessed a penalty for the failed challenge.

Vasy seems…. off

So far this season the biggest thing that just doesn’t seem right is goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. There were saves that he would’ve made last season, but this season it seems goals are just going in. Never in his career has he finished with a over three goals against average. His highest GAA of his career came in 2015-2016 when he had a record of  11-10. His GAA was 2.76 to finish that season. Coincidentally that was the final season where he split time with Ben Bishop. With Vasilevskiy winning the Vezina trophy last season, something just seems off.

Offensive concerns, return..

24 shots on goal…. 24…. both teams had 24 shots on goal. Once again however the Lightning couldn’t get timely goal-tending to bail them out like they’ve have in the past. The Jets took full advantage of their shots, the Lightning didn’t however. If the Lightning hope to return to the playoffs, something has to change and change quickly. The really lone bright spot was that captain Steven Stamkos netted his 400th career goal in the third. Kyle Conner would get an empty netter with just under 90 seconds. With 21.9 seconds remaining Anthony Cirelli would get in on the action to make it 4-3 Winnipeg that would be the final score of the game.


3 Stars of the Game

3rd Star – Nikolaj Ehlers – one goal

2nd Star – Jack Roslovic – one goal

1st Star – Conner Hellebuyck – 22 saves on 23 shot, was a BIG reason Jets got the W.


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