Connect with us


Dramatic Ending in Saturday Matinee

On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Colorado Avalanche in a rematch of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. The Bolts made a strong statement in that game, shutting out their previous season’s vanquishers by a 5-0 final. But the Lightning were in the opposite role tonight, as they took to the road to face off against the team they’d defeated back in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Both teams are having similar seasons this year in terms of points percentage. But their positions in their conferences are very different. The Stars, with their .660 points percentage, sit first overall in the Western Conference. The Bolts, with their .667 points percentage, sit third in their division and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference. Would the Dallas Stars make a strong statement of their own in this Saturday matinee matchup?

The Saturday Matinee Goaltending Matchup

The stage was set for a goaltenders’ duel this afternoon. Andrei Vasilevskiy was coming off the aforementioned shutout just two nights ago. The Stars, meanwhile, opted to put in backup netminder Scott Wedgewood. Wedgewood had not played since January 19th when he shut out the Los Angeles Kings. When last we saw this goaltender matchup (in April of 2022), both goalies took a shutout into the third period. Ultimately, the Stars took that game by a 1-o final.

Vasilevskiy and Wedgewood both extended their shutouts through the first period. The Stars doubled the Lightning in shots on goal that period 12-6. But Vasilevskiy stood tall in net, stopping everything that came his way.

The shutout streaks lasted through the halfway point of this game.

Let the Saturday Matinee Scoring Begin

It started to look as though we were in a game where one mistake could be the difference. Like the first team to break through could hold on. But who would emerge as that first team? Just after the midway point, we got our answer. And it was a rather unlikely candidate. Brandon Hagel fed Anthony Cirelli, who made a beautiful play to beat Wedgewood. It was just his 4th goal of the season.

Were we, in fact, heading for another 1-0 game? We would not have to wait long to find out. Just two minutes and five seconds later, Jamie Benn carried the puck in on a two on one. He chose to shoot it himself and beat Vasilevskiy to tie the game at 1-1.  And as quickly as the scoring had taken place, it seemed to dry up. With under a minute remaining in regulation, it looked as though we were heading to overtime in a 1-1 tie.

Dramatic Ending to Saturday Matinee

“Last minute of play” could be heard in the background as the Lightning did their best to maintain puck possession in the offensive zone. And then, with under 50 seconds remaining, Victor Hedman skated around the net, and centered the puck on net. There was a pile-up of sticks in front and at 19:16, Anthony Cirelli managed to free up his stick just enough to tip the loose puck home for his second of the game. Assist number 500 of Hedman’s career was one to remember! And the Bolts were back on top by a goal with 44 seconds left in the game.

The Stars tried to pull Wedgewood for the extra attacker but barely got the opportunity. When they did briefly have the extra man on the ice, Brandon Hagel scored into the empty net at the other end just as time expired. Cirelli was credited with an assist to round out his 3-point afternoon. The goal counted and the game was over, as the Bolts took a very important two road points. Back-to-back Stanley Cup Final matchups have resulted in back-to-back Lightning victories as they take this Saturday matinee game in dramatic fashion.

3 Stars

1- Anthony Cirelli- 2 goals, including game winner and 1 assist

2- Andrei Vasilevskiy- stopped 28 of 29 shots and kept his team in the game early on

3- Scott Wedgewood- stopped 28 of 30 shots

Up Next

The road trip continues with a back-to-back starting Tuesday night in a rematch of Thursday’s Stanley Cup Final rematch- this one in Colorado beginning at 9pm.




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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