With a new season on the horizon, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to start the season strong against a depleted Chicago Blackhawks squad. With the banner revealed, the Lightning wasted to time to get the season rolling with captain Steven Stamkos leading the way.
Rock solid defense
The period started off with a quick shot by the Blackhawks that was saved by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay had a handful of scoring chances early, but the game remained scoreless. With 12:33 left in the period, Chicago got their first chance on the power play. Jan Rutta was called for hooking while the Hawks did a great job to draw the penalty and nullify icing the puck. The Lightning penalty kill went hard at work as Chicago tried to open up the scoring on the man advantage. The penalty kill got the job done to keep the game scoreless. Shortly after, Tampa Bay got their first shot on the power play.
With the man advantage, Ondrej Palat fired a wrist shot past Malcom Subban to score the first goal of the season for Tampa and give them the 1-0 lead. Lightning struck twice as Mathieu Joseph took advantage of the traffic in front of the net to extend the lead to 2-0 late in the period. Anthony Cirelli joined in on the fun by redirecting an Eric Cernak shot to increase the lead to 3-0. Chicago got their second chance on the power play as Palat was called for goalie interference in the final minute of the period.
Dominate play continues
Tampa Bay successfully killed off the Palat penalty to start off the 2nd period. Afterwards, Adam Boqvist was called for holding giving the Lightning another power play opportunity. The Blackhawks penalty kill this time denied the Bolts from scoring to keep the game 3-0. After some solid chances from both teams, Chicago was called for a delay of game giving Tampa Bay their 2nd power play of the period. As a result, Steven Stamkos ripped home a Brayden Point pass from his favorite left circle spot to extend the lead to 4-0. Blake Coleman then tried to get on the board but Subban with his best save of the night denied Coleman a goal. Afterwards, the period would remain scoreless, but the Lightning kept the pressure on the Blackhawks defense.
You knew it was going to happen 🚀 pic.twitter.com/ZVkmi8CgNo
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 14, 2021
Controlling the flow
Duncan Keith was called for slashing giving the Lightning an early power play to start the 3rd period, but the Chicago penalty kill came through again. Afterwards, Cirelli set up Killorn with a beautiful pass, but Subban again denied Tampa Bay from extending the lead. The Lightning scoring was capped off when Brayden Point buried a feed from Steven Stamkos to make it 5-0 Lightning with about half the period left to go. The Lightning continued to control the flow of the game for most of the period. A late Barclay Goodrow penalty with 5:08 left in the period gave Chicago a much needed power play opportunity. As a result, the Hawks offense broke through with a power play goal from Dylan Strome. It was too little, too late for Chicago as the Lightning kicked off the season with a 5-1 victory.
Three stars of the game
1st Star – Steven Stamkos: 1g 2a
2nd Star – Andrei Vasilevskiy: 22 saves on 23 shots
3rd Star – Anthony Cirelli: 1g 1a
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