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Minnesota win sours historic night for Hedman

Photo Courtesy of Wayne Masut

Following a 3-2 overtime win against the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning return home to face the Minnesota Wild. In the last ten games the Bolts are hovering near the .500 mark at 5-4-1. Minnesota comes in at 7-0-3 in their last ten games. It would be a historic night for Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman who would notch a milestone goal. 

Left wing Jason Zucker leads the Minnesota Wild with 19 points (10g-9a). On the other side of the ice Nikita Kucherov leads the Tampa Bay Lightning with 30 points (10g-20a). Brayden Point is tied with Kucherov at ten goals a piece, Zach Parise leads the Wild with 12 goals on the season. Point has registered three goals and two assists in his last five games. Kucherov also has three goals in his last five games, but he also has 5 assists for ten points. Victor Hedman is also in the top five for NHL defensemen with 23 points entering tonight’s game.

Shattenkirk off to great start

In 2015-2016 Kevin Shattenkirk had his best goal season since coming into the NHL in 2010-2011 when he netted 14 goals. A season later he netted 13 goals as a member of the St Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. So far this season as a member of the Bolts, Shattenkirk has already netted five goals to go along with 15 assists. Sitting at 20 points through 25 games this season, the newest Lightning defenseman could end up having a career year with the Bolts.

Last game against Minnesota didn’t end well

The Bolts typically only play the Wild once or twice a season, but last season the game didn’t end the way the Lightning had hoped. En route to their 128 point season the Bolts faced the Wild towards the end of the season on March 7th. Jason Zucker would be the only player to get goals in that game as he netted a natural hat trick with three goals. Devin Dubnyk who is away from the team right now was the goalie of record in that game. He stopped all 25 Lightning shots in a 3-0 shutout at Amalie Arena. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed two of the goals, the third being an empty netter.

Drago starts em off in Wild first period

Less than two minutes into the game the Lightning rushed into the zone Brayden Point dished the puck over to Erik Cernak. The Bolts defenseman wristed a shot low glove side for a 1-0 lead. It’s Cernak’s first goal since opening night. The Wild wouldn’t be held scoreless for long as Joel Eriksson Ek and Jason Zucker scored 2:13 apart to take a 2-1 Wild lead. Moments later Minnesota would take a 3-1 lead as a puck would bounce off Luke Schenn and get past Vasilevskiy. With just under five minutes left in the first Mikhail Sergachev forced his way into the zone, got next to Wild goalie Alex Stalock and just got the puck past Minnesota’s net-minder to cut the lead 3-2. Since November 21st at Chicago, Sergachev has four goals and three assists.

The Lightning already had two 20 point defensemen heading into tonight’s game, but very soon they could have three as with that goal Sergachev has 16 points on the season. Victor Hedman and Shattenkirk are the other two defensemen with 20 points or more on the season (Hedman 23 – Shattenkirk 20)

#100 for Hedman

It took 19:20 in the second period for another goal to be scored following a fast and furious first period. Tampa thought they had a goal when Anthony Cirelli rushed towards Stalock, but got hooked by Ryan Hartman. The hook forced Cirelli to crash into Stalock as the puck trickled in. After a few moments the referees called it a no goal, but gave the Lightning a power play for the hook. Fifty nine seconds in to the power play Victor Hedman notched his 100th career goal with the game tying goal. Minnesota wouldn’t go into the second intermission quietly though, as they scored the go ahead goal :36 seconds later for a 4-3 lead with one period to go. Victor Rask would be credited with the final goal of the second period as time expired. Hedman’s goal would happen on the 10th anniversary of his first NHL career goal.

Killer strikes

With four minutes gone in the third, Alex Killorn muscled his through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. As Matt Dumba tries to fight him off Killorn puts a puck past Stalock for a 4-4 game. Off the face-off following the goal Mats Zuccarello would put Minnesota back up eight seconds later on a defensive break down by Ryan McDonagh and Cernak. The Wild would regain their one goal lead 5-4. The third period would be fast and furious, but no scoring despite numerous opportunities.

Check out Riley Gilespie-Wilson’s recent article about the Lightning’s struggles HERE

Up Next

The Lightning will welcome in the San Jose Sharks on Saturday December 7th at 7:00pm

Three Stars of the Game

3rd Star – Alex Stalock – Faced 34 shots, saved 30 of them in a fast and furious game.

2nd Star – Victor Rask – Scored one of the back to back goals (A goal scored immediately after the Lightning scored)

1st Star – Mats Zuccarello – Game winning goal and two assists

Check out our official YouTube channel for locker room videos and post game press conferences.

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