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Goaltenders stand out as Bolts edge Flyers on the road

 Goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy and Carter Hart as expected steal the show in a hard fought battle between goalies. Going into the game both teams knew it would not be easy to score goals. Both goalies have had solid starts to the season, but one of them eventually had to pull the short end of the stick. What started off as a low scoring affair quickly picked up steam. Not even a show-stopping overtime was enough to decide this battle of goaltenders. Tampa however found their scoring form at just the right time and edge the Flyers in the shootout.

 

Bolts control, Flyers score the goals

Flyers offense quickly got the puck early and nearly scored after puck drop. Within the early minutes Philadelphia opened up the scoring. Captain Claude Giroux took advantage of a Bolts misplay and fired one past Vasy with ease. Flyers continued to keep the pressure on the Lightning defense, but could not add to their lead. Lightning offense was quiet at this point of the game, but kept control of the game overall. Many breakdowns occurred by Tampa however Philly could not take advantage. Carter Hart remained rock solid and Philly eventually added to their lead. Travis Konecny fired a wrist shot that slipped past Vasy to give the Flyers a commanding 2-0 lead. Before the period ended Tampa received the first power play of the night. Rasmus Ristolainen was called for interference and the Bolts looked to get back in the game on the man advantage.

 

Lightning answer back

Bolts looked to score off the penalty carried over from the 1st period, but were shut down once again by Carter Hart. Soon after the penalty expired, Justin Braun was called for tripping. This time Tampa capitalized on the man advantage. Brayden Point fired a backhand shot that beat Hart and cut the Flyers lead 2-1. Once again the Lightning maintained strong control of the puck preventing the Flyers from adding to their lead. With just over 5 minutes to go in the period Tampa evened the score.

Finding the equalizer

Alex Killorn fooled the Flyers defense and then fed a pass down to Mathieu Joseph. Joseph then directed the puck past Hart to tie the game. Tampa was looking for a spark on offense and they finally found it in the second period. For once in the game the Bolts offense found an answer to a stellar Carter Hart. Just like the Bolts in the 1st period, the Flyers had a late power play opportunity. Joseph was called for hooking giving the Flyers a power play opportunity heading into the 3rd period.

 

Captain clutch for both sides

Philly nearly scored soon after puck drop, but Vasy was able to make the save keeping the game tied. As the period went on the Flyers tilted the ice in their favor. Philly took over control of the puck for the first time all night and tried to catch the Bolts off guard. Vasy remained dominant in the net as well as Hart on the other side of the ice. It seemed like the game was headed for overtime especially after another penalty kill by Tampa. Late in the period Tampa for the first time all night took the lead. Captain Steven Stamkos fired a wrister past Hart to give the Bolts a 3-2 lead with just under 2 minutes to go. Stamkos fired it from the corner and did not even look at Hart when he made the shot. Just when Tampa thought they had the game in the bag, Philly also had their captain come in clutch. Giroux fired a shot through traffic with 8 seconds to go to send the game to overtime.

 

Fitting end to a battle of goaltenders

Fans would remain standing during an intense overtime period. Teams exchanged numerous odd-man rushes however neither side let up the game-winning goal. Vasy and Hart remained to steal the show and mesmerize fans with their saves. Fitting that a game dominated by the goaltenders would be decided in the shootout. It would not take long in the shootout as Tampa sealed the deal in just two rounds. Sean Couturier and Giroux both missed while Stamkos and Point scored to give the Lightning a 4-3 victory.

 

Three stars of the game

1st Star: Brayden Point – 1 goal and gwg in the shootout

2nd Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 29 of 32 shots faced

3rd Star: Carter Hart – Saved 26 of 30 shots faced

 

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