Certain players just seem to have the number of certain teams. For Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, he just seems to have the number of the Carolina Hurricanes.
On Tuesday night at Amalie Arena, the Lightning needed plenty of magic from Johnson, even more heroics from Louis Domingue, and some help from their special teams against a Hurricanes team looking to continue their hot start.
Johnson’s fourth career regular season hat trick helped the Lightning (3-1-0) edge the Hurricanes (4-2-1) by a 4-2 score in a back-and-forth affair that featured a little bit of everything. For the second straight home game against the Canes, Johnson notched a hat trick. Domingue, making his first start of the season, finished with 38 saves on 40 shots against. All after having tweaked his neck before the game. Rookie winger Mathieu Joseph earned his first NHL point on a first period assist. Even the Lightning’s special teams came through again, with Yanni Gourde notching the game-winner on the Lightning’s only power play of the night in the third period. On the other end, the Bolts’ penalty killers finished 4-for-4 for the night, pushing their season total to 18-for-18 through two games. However, they needed a lot of help from Domingue to keep that season-opening streak intact.
In a first period that started slowly, yet saw its pace increase, the Lightning got another shorthanded goal.
In the early going, this game had a very choppy pace that featured a quality scoring chance for each side, but little in the way of flow due to multiple whistles. However, Carolina started shifting the momentum in their favor by keeping the Lightning from cleanly leaving their own zone. Domingue came up with couple of quality saves, but the Hurricanes dented the scoreboard first at the 10:25 mark. A Victor Hedman clearing attempt was knocked down by Sebastian Aho and kept in Tampa Bay’s zone. He worked the puck over to Teuvo Teravainen, who promptly dished it to Micheal Ferland. Ferland got behind Joseph and deked Domingue before scoring to put the Canes up 1-0. The Aho-Teravainen-Ferland line was clicking throughout both this period and the game.
With Adam Erne in the box for tripping, Carolina received the game’s first power play. However, the Lightning’s PK unit generated a great chance when Gourde made a tremendous individual effort off the rush. Moments later, Joseph earned his first NHL point on this play:
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) October 17, 2018
Joseph used his world-class speed to fly down the left wing and send Johnson a perfect pass that he deposited behind Canes goalie Petr Mrazek, tying the game 1-1 at the 12:42 mark. Tampa Bay nearly took the lead a few minutes later, but a rebound chance for Cedric Paquette hit the post. The Hurricanes almost got the go-ahead goal when another Hedman turnover led to a partial breakaway chance for Andrei Svechnikov, forcing Brayden Point to take a holding penalty. The Bolts’ penalty killers were aided by four saves from Domingue during that shorthanded situation.
Johnson continued to torture the Hurricanes, but their penalty kill began to play with fire in the second period.
Another pair of Carolina power plays in the second period came up empty, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of shots on goal or effort. While the Lightning’s penalty killers have been lauded so far this season, they played with fire during this period. Domingue came up with several tremendous stops on Hurricanes shooters while the Bolts were shorthanded. They often had difficulty getting the puck out of their own zone while down a man, but came away unscathed.
Johnson earned his second of the night when he took a tremendous pass from Erne while flying through the middle of the ice. While fighting off a check from Lucas Wallmark, Johnson chipped a shot up over Mrazek to put the Lightning ahead 2-1 at the 6:07 mark.
A little over halfway through the period, the Lightning held the puck in Carolina’s zone for a very long stretch, but failed to generate a solid Grade-A chance despite a few shots on goal. Moments later, a combination of a turnover and a bad line change led to a 3-on-1 for the Hurricanes, with Valentin Zykov forcing that turnover. He dished it to Warren Foegele, and the Canes were off to the races. He made a fantastic pass to Martin Necas, who made no mistake in burying his first career NHL goal behind Domingue.
During the third period, the Hurricanes came at the Lightning in waves, but Domingue and the Bolts’ PP came through.
Through the opening five minutes of the final period, the Canes tilted the ice heavily in their favor as the Lightning were unable to sustain any extended offensive pressure. On the other end, Carolina tested Domingue again, and the Bolts’ netminder came up large on multiple occasions. At 5:55 of the period, the Lightning finally got their first power play of the night when Necas went to the box for holding. Calvin de Haan whiffed on the clearing attempt. Ondrej Palat pounced on the puck, feeding it to Gourde in the slot. Gourde took advantage, and the Lightning led it 3-2 following that power play goal at 7:02.
Carolina continued to press for the tying goal, but Domingue thwarted a couple of solid chances for the Aho-Teravainen-Ferland trio. With about two-and-a-half minutes remaining, the Hurricanes pulled Mrazek. However, Johnson was able to get behind everyone and slide home an empty net goal with 1:56 left, sending a wave of hats cascading onto the ice and leading to the Lightning’s third victory of the season.
Tampa Bay closes out their season-opening five game homestand on Thursday when they host the Detroit Red Wings for a 7:30 pm puck drop.
-Johnson’s last hat trick also came against Carolina at Amalie Arena on January 8, 2018. He has four regular season hat tricks and one playoff hat trick.
-This was Tampa Bay’s eighth consecutive victory over the Hurricanes on home ice. Carolina’s last win in Tampa was a 3-2 decision on April 21, 2013.
-Since the start of the 2012-13 season, the Lightning are 17-2-2 overall against the Canes.
-The Lightning are the only team in the NHL who has yet to allow a power play goal this season. Their fourth straight game without allowing a power play goal at the start of a season ties a franchise record set in 2000-01 and matched in 2011-12.
-Domingue’s last appearance in net was Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final in relief of Andrei Vasilevskiy. His last start in a regular season game also came against Carolina during 2017-18’s season finale in Raleigh.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Tyler Johnson – Fourth career regular season hat trick
2nd Star: Louis Domingue – Stopped 38 of 40 shots.
3rd Star: Yanni Gourde – Scored the game-winning goal on the power play in the third period.
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