The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Seattle Kraken 4-1 Wednesday night. It was the team’s first ever trip to Seattle and Climate Pledge Arena and it closed out the longest road trip of the regular season. Wednesday night also marked Steven Stamkos’ 900th career game. He put up quite the performance tallying up three assists. Victor Hedman would also pick up two powerplay goals in what was a nice close to a bumpy road trip.
The Lightning did what good teams are supposed to do. They beat a Kraken team that was just 2-6-2 in their last eight games. Despite the comfortable scoreline however, this was no where near a perfect game for the Lightning who were looking to close the trip on a high note. Once again Tampa Bay got into early penalty trouble. Just 33 seconds in Ondrej Palat was called for tripping. Then less than two minutes later, Mathieu Joseph would also take a tripping penalty setting up a Yanni Gourde powerplay goal. For the fifth time in the last six games, the Lightning would give up the first goal. There were also times in the game where Tampa Bay looked a little sloppy. Numerous times late in the first period the Lightning gave up chances in transition or in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Including one in the final minute in which Vasilevskiy had to make a huge save. There was also sequence in the second where Hedman got caught up ice leading to a two-on-one. Vasilevskiy made a great save and then had the puck bounce off his back and out.
Although it was a not perfect game for the Lightning they did a lot of good things. After giving up the first goal, the Lightning had a run in the first where they outshot Seattle 10-1. There were good stretches of the game where the Lightning controlled the pace and severely out chanced the Kraken. The powerplay finally started to click. After going 0-for-14 in the previous five games they went 2-for-6 Wednesday night. Tampa Bay also played very well in the third, locking it down when they had the lead. They only allowed 6 shots-on-goal in the third and managed the puck very well. Overall the game was never really out of their control.
Stamkos and Friends
Tampa Bay’s stars came to play Wednesday night in Seattle. And it was only fitting that Steven Stamkos would be at the forefront. Playing in his 900th career game he put up three points on three assist. One on the opening goal to Nikita Kucherov, which was a beautiful saucer pass, and two to Victor Hedman on the powerplay. The second of the powerplay assist he kicked to himself then sent a backhand feed back to the point. Hedman’s two goals were bullets from the point. The first from the far Sid squeaked through the stick side with some help by a screen from Corey Perry. The other from the center point beat Phillip Grubauer on the glove side and was 93 miles per hour.
Brayden Point caused the second powerplay goal, escaping into the middle to find Stamkos. He also hit two posts in under two mintues late in the third. Once came when he masterfully tipped the puck through the legs of defensemen Vince Dunn and quickly skated around him. Nikita Kucherov was all over the ice as usual. Even Ryan Mcdonagh joined the action as he had a couple chances while jumping up in the play. The Lightning’s stars were just too much for Seattle. It was nice to see especially since many of them had gone through their longest drought of the year on this road trip.
Close the Book on this Trip
Six games and 11 days later, the Bolt’s are finally on their way back home. However, this road trip is one that could be looked back upon as a character builder, where the team faced some adversity. It wasn’t an awful trip by any means but it wasn’t a good one either. To start they didn’t meet the benchmark for what head coach Jon Copper considers a successful road trip (one more point than games played). For the first time this year they would lose back-to-back regulation games. The powerplay went 2-for-20 and they gave up 3.33 goals a game over the course of the trip. However, in the grand scheme of things, it is not a huge deal. TheLightning are going to make the playoffs and are still one of the premier teams in the Eastern Conference. Over the course of an 82 game season, they’re bound to have a bad stretch or two. Plus they’d rather peak at the right time than on a trip where four of the six teams aren’t even in the playoffs. Despite all of that a win in Seattle was a good way to close it out.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will return home for game Saturday against the New York Rangers. then they will head back out on the road for an east coast swing. Carolina will be the first stop before seeing Boston, Detroit, and lastly New York to face the Islanders. Tampa Bay will close the month at home after a road heavy March. April will bring some home cooking as the Bolts will play 11 of their last 16 games of the season at Amalie Arena.
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