On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally found their offense against the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring as many goals in one night as they had in their previous five games. Now on the second game of a back-to-back, the Lightning will look to keep their offense rolling against the Florida Panthers. With Louis Domingue picking up the start, he found himself with a chance to set a franchise record.
Not only were the Lightning looking to sweep the season series from Florida, but a victory would give Domingue the record for longest wining streak by a goalie in Bolts history.
Nikita Kucherov breaks his 10-game drought
The Lightning controlled the pace of the game from the moment the puck hit the ice. Starting off with a great shift from the Brayden Point line, momentum swung in Tampa Bay’s direction. Almost the entire first four minutes of the game were spent in the Panther’s zone. Kucherov finally hit pay dirt, snapping his 10-game drought and putting the Bolts up 1-0.
The Panthers got their first chance on the power play when Ryan Callahan was sent off for hooking. The power play allowed Flroida to gain some momentum back from Tampa Bay. Florida created some good chances, but ultimately failed to find the net. The period ended with the Lightning up 1-0 with a 9-5 shot advantage.
A wild second period
The Panthers were clearly unhappy with their first period performance as they came roaring out of the gate to start the second. The Panthers outpaced the Lightning with a 17-5 shot advantage over the course of the period. Tampa Bay, however, managed to score first in the second when Steven Stamkos redirected a pass by Anton Stralman into the net. The goal came on Tampa’s second shot on goal of the period. The Panthers, now down by two, answered with their first goal only one minute later. The Panthers swarmed Erik Cernak in the neutral zone, forcing a turnover and eventually leading to Frank Vatrano beating Domingue from the high slot.
Before the game, it was announced Ondrej Palat would miss the game with an upper body injury, allowing Callahan to make is first appearance since being told he would be Tampa’s 13th forward going forward. Playing on the penalty kill, Callahan was able to get out on a breakaway thanks to a great breakup by Mathieu Joseph. Callahan made the most of his opportunity and beat Reimer for his sixth goal of the year. The euphoria of Callahan’s goal was short-lived as the Panthers again responded quickly. Almost exactly one minute later, Denis Malgin scored to bring the game to 3-2.
Lightning finish it off
The Lightning held on to a one-goal lead despite a less than perfect second period. The third period showcased a Lightning team fans are familiar with. The Bolts controlled the third with great neutral zone control and puck possession, forcing the Panthers to play in their zone. Three minutes into the third, Kucherov streaked across the blue line and drew a hooking penalty. With the man-advantage, Point scored his 32nd goal of the season and 15th on the power play, tying David Pastrnak for most PPG’s in the NHL.
The Lightning played keep-away for the remainder of the game. With 2:48 left, Florida traded their goalie for an extra attacker. The Panthers held the puck in the Lightning zone until J.T Miller forced it out. Miller, now on his way for the empty net goal, was hooked, putting Tampa Bay on a power play. Only thirty seconds later, Aaron Ekblad got called for high-sticking and sent off. Now with a two-man advantage, the Lightning dominated play and Kucherov scored his second of the game to seal it by a final score of 5-2, giving Domingue his tenth win in row, setting a new franchise record.
Our Three Stars
1st Star: Nikita Kucherov, two goals and one assist.
2nd Star: Ryan Callahan, one goal and seven hits.
3rd Star: Steven Stamkos, one goal and one assist.
The Calgary Flames come down to Tampa to face off against the Lightning on Tuesday, February 12 at 7:30 P.M.
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