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Disappointing Homecoming for Vasilevskiy as Bolts lose 4-2

The Tampa Bay Lightning return home to Amalie Arena tonight after a rather unusual three-game road trip. Stop one was in Carolina where it seemed like every shot the boys in blue took found the back of the net. Eight goals on just fourteen shots. And then the well dried up. For the next two games, the Bolts couldn’t buy a goal! A whopping 39 shots in Colorado and 31 in Arizona with just a single goal in each. Could they rediscover their scoring touch against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins and their red-hot goaltender Tristan Jarry?

A Familiar Face Leads His Team

For the first time this season, the Amalie faithful got to cheer on a familiar face leading the team onto the ice. Star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had missed the first 20 games of the season following surgery. He rejoined his team for the three-game road trip. But tonight marked his first game of the season in front of the home crowd.

Vasilevskiy had to be strong early on as the Penguins put pressure on for the first five minutes. And then the Lightning starting to take over. They got some great chances. Tristan Jarry was up to the challenge for each one. As in the past two games, it seemed like the Bolts could not buy a goal.

Breaking Out With Tip-ins

The Lightning shot total continued to go up, and finally, they found the back of the net. At 9:06, Steven Stamkos redirected a point shot from Victor Hedman for his tenth goal of the season. Nikita Kucherov also picked up an assist on the play, extending his point streak to eight straight games.

The Bolts continued to apply pressure and were rewarded with a power play. For most of the man advantage, the Lightning could not get anything going. As the seconds were winding down, they finally got a look. Mikhail Sergachev took a wrist shot from the point and Tanner Jeannot was waiting in front of the net to tip it home for a 2-0 lead at 12:33.

The Lightning took that 2-0 lead to the dressing room after a dominant period. They outshot the Penguins 17-5. Now all they needed to do was keep up that play for two more periods.

Penguins Turn the Tables

As much as the Lightning dominated the first period, the Penguins dominated the second. Vasilevskiy stood tall in the Lightning net and made some brilliant saves. But turnovers would continue to plague the Bolts.

As the halfway point of the second frame approached, the Lightning turned the puck over in the offensive zone. Right to Sidney Crosby. Crosby went in on a breakaway and he did not miss, tallying his 14th of the season to pull his team to within one at 8:53.

Then, in the final minute, Kucherov sent a blind pass behind him. Evgeni Malkin carried the puck up the ice on a two on one. Victor Hedman, the lone man back for the Bolts, could not stop the pass across to Drew O’Connor. Tie game. Two to two as we head to the dressing room. As the Lightning had dominated the shot clock in the first, so did the Penguins in the second as they outshot the Bolts 19-7.

Comeback Complete

Win a period, win a game. Whichever team won this third period would come away with the two points tonight. And less than three minutes into this final frame, the Penguins did just that. Jeff Carter scored his first of the season at 2:49 to complete the comeback and give his team its first lead of the night.

The Lightning managed some more shots but as has been their struggle of late, they could not find the back of the net.

Pittsburgh hung on to extend the Bolts’ losing streak to three games.

3 Stars

1- Tristan Jarry- stopped 39 of 41 shots and scored an empty net goal

2- Jeff Carter- game-winning goal

3- Nikita Kucherov- 2 assists

Up Next

The Lightning will travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on Saturday at 2pm.

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