Puck management was a weakness for the Lightning, yet they still hung on for the win against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. Andrei Vasilevskiy stole the show with a stellar showing net to prevent Vancouver from taking total control of the game. Tampa would overlook the miscues on defense and make the necessary plays to get the victory.
Power play delivers early
To start off, Tampa went to work fast and drew a penalty in the early minutes. Vasily Podkolzin was called for hooking and the Bolts had an early opportunity against the worst penalty kill in the league. On the opening power play Lightning scored with ease. Steven Stamkos ripped the one-timer from Victor Hedman that Thatcher Demko had no chance is saving. Vancouver nearly scored but Andrei Vasilevskiy was able to sit on the puck before it went past the line. It took half the period for the Canucks to get their gears rolling and would then be rewarded. Canucks took advantage of a turnover by the Bolts defense and tied the game. Matthew Highmore fired a wrist shot from the circle that went past Vasy for the goal.
Stopping the momentum
Vancouver continued to apply pressure and dominate on the face-offs. Lightning would then silence the Canucks by re-taking the lead. Anthony Cirelli went to the front of the net, controlled the puck, and scores on his backhand to make it 2-1 Lightning. Before the period ended Brayden Point and Conor Garland got into a scrum and were called for rouging. However, Point was booked for a double minor giving the Canucks a power play that was served by Pat Maroon. The penalty would carry over into the second period.
Canucks control the flow of the game
Lightning penalty kill went straight to work in the second and killed off the double minor. Canucks continued the pressure yet could not find an answer to Vasy. Many face-off decisions did not go in favor of the Lightning, but they continued to keep the puck out of the net. Canucks once again took charge and maintained constant control of the puck. Once again, puck management remained an issue for Tampa, but would find a way to recover from the constant mistakes. Bolts would get another chance on the man advantage but could not add to their lead.
Another late penalty
Vancouver then received another chance on the man advantage, but the Lightning penalty kill remained solid. It was another penalty from Point who has not had the greatest of nights with the officiating. Canucks prevented Tampa from really having a chance at re-taking control of the game but again could not answer Vasy. Just before the period ended Tampa again was penalized. Erik Cernak was called for interference and Canucks were awarded another late power play. Would Vancouver finally answer in the third period with another power play to begin a period?
Creating the right plays
Bolts penalty kill had to get to work early just as they did in the second period. Lightning once again kills off the penalty and Cernak is soon tripped. No penalty was called as a result and play went on. Puck management continued to haunt the Lightning, but Vasy remained to be a brick wall. Vancouver clearly came in hungry for a win and remained resilient the whole game. Soon after, Horvat was called for holding giving the Bolts a third power play opportunity. Canucks did a good job on the penalty kill and the score remained 2-1 with 13:57 to go. Vancouver had a 3-on-1 chance, but the net dislodged nullifying that scoring opportunity. Yet another giveaway by the Bolts defense nearly gives the Canucks a goal, but instead Bolts received a 2-on-0 opportunity. On that chance, Boris Katchouk scored with ease to give the Bolts a 3-1 lead.
The kids are alright. pic.twitter.com/aep1Dl2CqP
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 14, 2022
Point finds relief
Canucks nearly made it 3-2 on the face-off as Quinn Hughes quickly shot the goal on net which was stopped by Vasy. Tampa was then called for too many men which was served by Perry. Bolts penalty kill remained flawless and the score remained 3-1. Point was then interfered with on a breakaway, but no call was made. Tyler Motte then scored from the side of the net to cut the Bolts lead 3-2. With 2:05 remaining the Canucks pulled Demko in hopes of tying the game. Point finally gets his redemption after a rough night with an empty-net goal. The goal gave the Lightning a 4-2 lead that would remain as the final score. Despite the poor puck management, Tampa found ways to make the right plays and get the victory on home ice.
Three stars of the game
First Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Stopped 24 of 26 shots faced
Second Star: Erik Cernak – 1 assist, 3 blocks, and 6 hits
Third Star: Steven Stamkos – 1 ppg
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