Not every victory comes easy as that was especially true when the Kings brought their tight defense to test the Lightning offense. It would be a long and hard battle for both teams as both goaltenders stayed sharp in net. A thrilling overtime would be needed that proved to be the most entertaining part of the game. After trading numerous scoring chances during 3-on-3 play, it was the Bolts that walked away with the victory on home ice.
Lightning defense was tested early as Kings wasted no time to get the offense rolling. Lightning quickly rebounded and generated some scoring chances of their own. Los Angeles’ best scoring chance came off a breakaway by Adrian Kempe. At this point in the period the Bolts only had one shot on net. Tampa’s best chance came with an open net opportunity for Steven Stamkos but he just shot it wide. Midway through the period the Kings received the first power play of the game after Stamkos is called for hooking. LA took advantage and scored on the man advantage. The puck went off Alex Iafallo’s skate and Drew Doughty fired it past Andrei Vasilevskiy for the 1-0 lead. Minutes later LA would find themselves back on the power play after Corey Perry is called for high-sticking.
Bolts fight back
However, during the commercial break the penalty was looked over and overturned as it was determined that is was not Perry’s stick that made contact. Just when it looked like LA would completely dominate the Bolts in the period, Perry would draw a penalty. On the delayed call Victor Hedman took the pass from Stamkos and buried the puck top shelf past Jonathan Quick. Bolts somehow found a way to tie up the game despite only having 3 shots on goal all period.
Kings continue tight play
Kings wasted no time to score in the period. A Matt Roy shot went off Ross Colton’s stick and then hit Viktor Arvidsson before going past Vasy for the goal and 2-1 lead. LA continued to shut down Tampa while Quick remained stellar in net. Vasy continued to be sturdy in net, but the Bolts offense had to find a spark in order to keep pace with the Kings. Lightning then received their first power play of the game after Doughty is called for interference. For much of the period neither team had a solid scoring chance, but that would change with just over 5 minutes to go. Taylor Raddysh tipped-in a Jan Rutta shot that squeaked past Quick to tie the game 2-2.
Power play struggles
It was a much needed goal for the Lightning as they were struggling to move the puck past the Kings strong defense. With just over 2 minutes to go Tampa would get another shot on the power play. Lack of face-off wins on the power play have harmed the Bolts all night. Kings killed off the penalty with ease and the game remained tied heading into the third period. Once again the tight play of the Kings struggled the Bolts offense. Just as timed expired the Bolts were rewarded a power play after Anze Kopitar is called for tripping.
Quiet period leads to overtime
Power play woes continued for the Lightning as they were unable to score on the man advantage. Stamkos nearly gave Tampa the lead on a breakaway but once again was stopped by Quick. As the period went on it was much of the same as the past periods. Both goalies remained stellar in net while Kings continued to shut down the Bolts offense. With about 8 minutes to go Perry was called for slashing giving the Kings another power play. Lightning were able to kill it off and continued to try and find an answer to Quick. Kings had the best scoring opportunity of the period led by Kopitar, but Vasy continuously made saves to keep the game tied with minutes to go in regulation. Overtime would be needed to decide a victor after a tight game played by both teams.
Thrilling overtime hockey
Kings continued to play tight defense while Tampa fired all cylinders in overtime. Mathieu Joseph looked to end the game but was stopped on the breakaway by Quick. Kings answered back, but Arvidsson fired the puck high over the net. Kopitar then tried to end it on another breakaway yet Vasy made an impressive save to keep the game going. After both teams traded scoring chances, it was the Lightning who came up on top. On the rush, Joseph skated quickly to Kings side of the net and fired the puck down the middle. The puck then snuck through Quick with Colton there ready for the rebound if it was needed. Bolts win in their first home game in 5 games and look to get revenge on the Senators Thursday night at home.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 15, 2021
Three stars of the game
1st Star: Mathieu Joseph – Game winning goal in OT
2nd Star: Taylor Raddysh – 1 goal
3rd Star: Jonathan Quick – Saved 27 of 30 shots faced
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