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Hedman’s heroics, Vasilevskiy help Bolts in victory over Panthers

Coming off a forgettable game against the Predators, the Lightning looked to start this six game homestead on a high note. Without Steven Stamkos in the lineup, the offense looked to find a way to score to prevent another outcome like the game prior. Some interesting shake-ups in the lineup were made and it looked to be another thrilling matchup with the in state rival Florida Panthers.


Offense caught sleeping

Right out of the gate, the Panthers wasted no time getting the offense going. Jonathan Huberdeau had a solid breakaway opportunity that Andrei Vasilevskiy would save. Throughout the opening period, the Lightning continuously mishandled the puck and gave the Panthers plenty of opportunities to score. Many icings occurred, and Tampa Bay had a rough time winning face-offs. The Panthers did a good job limiting the Bolts from getting shots on net, and eventually would open up the scoring. Patrick Hornqvist backhanded a shot that easily slipped by Vasilevskiy to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Despite giving up the goal, Vasilevskiy continued to be the best player on the ice for the Bolts as the offense could not get anything going for the remainder of the period.


Tightening the game

The Lightning offense looked more improved to start the second period. Unlike the first, Tampa Bay was able to get the puck in the Panthers zone and keep the flow of the game even. Nearly 7 minutes into the period, Odrej Palat was called for hooking giving the Panthers the first power play of the night. Tampa Bay did a solid job shutting down the Panthers offense to keep the game 1-0. Minutes later, the Lightning would get their first chance on the power play when Radko Gudas was called for holding. On the power play, The Lightning found the answer they were looking for.

Was it Killorn’s or Cirelli’s?

At first, it looked like Anthony Cirelli ended his goal drought to tie the game at 1. Instead, the goal was awarded to Alex Killorn as the puck went off MacKenzie Weegar’s stick and into the back of the net. Later on in the period the goal was once again changed and was awarded to Cirelli. The remainder of the period remained scoreless, however the Lightning coughed up a late penalty to give the Panthers a power play opportunity heading into the 3rd period.


Back and forth

Tampa Bay killed off the penalty, but the Panthers kept the pressure going. Vasilevskiy remained to be stellar in net while the offense struggled to get anything going. Nearly halfway through the period, the Panthers retook the lead. Huberdeau fed Anthony Duclair with a beautiful pass that no goalie could save to give Florida a 2-1 lead. When it seemed like Florida would run away with the game, Tampa Bay once again found an answer on offense. Ross Colton tipped in a shot from Mikhail Sergachev that breezed by Chris Driedger to tie the game at 2. The game remained tight for the remainder of the period and overtime would be needed to declare a winner.


Hedman saves the day

In overtime, the Lightning came out of the gate firing and never looked back. After a solid chance from Killorn, the Panthers had their only look at Vasilevskiy and he denied them. Following the save, Killorn took the puck and immediately fed it to Victor Hedman. Hedman went off to the races on a clean breakaway and buried home the game winning goal. Despite being outshot 38-19 for the game, Tampa Bay found a way to grind out a win in a crucial game. This was a much needed victory for the Lightning as they look to stay on top in the Central Division on this homestead



Three stars of the game

1st Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 36 of 38 shots faced along with an assist

2nd Star: Aleksander Barkov – 1 blocked shot and 2 hits

3rd Star: Victor Hedman – game winning goal in overtime


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