It was opening night for the defending Stanley Cup Champions. A rocking crowd greeted the team and watched on as the banner was raised to the rafters. The emotions were flowing as last year’s team was forever immortalized in Amalie Arena. After that, the Lightning came out flat and never managed to put anything together. They played with little emotion, were slow and never got anything going. They would fall on opening night for the first time in 7 years by the score of 6-2.
From the start it was obvious that the Lightning were flat out of the gate. They did not come out with the energy and intensity that one would expect on an emotional night. Everything was slow and deliberate as if they were going through the motions. Pittsburgh on the other hand came ready to play. For large portions of the period the Lightning were stuck in their own end. Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 14-7 in the first frame. If it had not been for Andrei Vasilevskiy, the score would’ve been at least 3-0 However, around the 15-minute mark the Lightning started to put together a few good shifts and would make it to the end of the period in a scoreless tie.
A Worse Second
If the Lightning came out flat in then first, then they came out dead in the second. Just 12 seconds into the period Jeff Carter intercepted a clearing feed from Vasilevskiy who fed it to Danton Heinen who had a wide open net and made it 1-0. Just 4 minutes later former Bolt Brian Boyle got lost in coverage and would skate in alone a put one through the five whole of Vasilevskiy to make it 2-0. Although the Lightning did pick up their play a little after surrendering the second goal. However they would continue to lose puck battles and be outworked by the Penguins.
Empty Netters Galore
The third period was probably the best period for the Lightning, but it doesn’t mean it was good. They slowly but surely started to spend more time in the Pittsburgh end, however Pittsburgh defended well. The Lightning were unable to get any penetration to the inside and most of their shots came from the outside. Just over 8 1/2 minutes into the third, Dominik Simon would score the eventual game winning goal. Simon would throw a puck towards the net from the half-wall and Vasilevskiy never saw it with a screen in front in front of him. It would take coach Jon Cooper pulling Vasilevskiy with 6:05 left in game to finally give the Bolts a jolt. Anthony Cirelli would score on a deflection from a Victor Hedman shot. Nearly two minutes later Alex Killorn would send a one-timer past Tristan Jary. However, sandwhiched in between in the goal was and Penguins empty-netter. With the score 4-2, Pittsburgh would add 2 more empty-netters to bring the final to 6-2. Caoch Cooper said postgame “We watched a team win a hockey game”, and he couldn’t have been more right.
The Bolts will travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings Thursday night. Detroitt is a young team still in the process of rebuilding but they do have some skill, especially on the back end. Puck Drop will be at 7:30.
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They worked harder than us. They were better than us in every faccett of the game.
We came to watch a banner raising
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