Twice this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning had big leads against the Philadelphia Flyers, and rallied to win in overtime 6-5 on both occasions.
In this one, the Bolts started equally as hot. The only difference they hoped, would be their play down the stretch. That would be difficult with a shorthanded lineup.
Incredible Energy Early
The Lightning didn’t come out like a team that was playing the second half of a back to back. Nor did they play like a team missing two key players. Brayden Point missed a team meeting and was not in the lineup. Victor Hedman was out with a lower body injury. Yet still, the Bolts dictated the pace early and it paid off.
Tampa Bay limited the Flyers to just a single shot on goal through the first ten and a half minutes, and were rewarded three times within that span.
A Mikhail Sergachev point shot deflected off of Shayne Gostisbehere and in. Alex Killorn crashed the net and buried off an Anthony Cirelli redirect to make it 2-0 Lightning. Then, in an incredible individual effort, JT Miller sped in on a 2-on-1 and ripped it home past Carter Hart. That was it for his night, and Bryan Elliot took over duties.
Steady Between the Pipes
Louis Domingue, in search of his franchise-best eleventh straight win, wasn’t very busy in the first period. When Philly opened up the second frame with the first five shots, and generated momentum from a power play, they generated some excellent chances. Yet, Domingue stood tall to hold the Flyers off the board.
He made a miraculous save during a sequence of three stops, windmill kicking his pad in the air and knocking a puck away.
The PK being able to stifle any momentum by killing off two and a half penalties to start the second frame was a huge reason the Lightning maintained their 3-0 lead through two periods.
Closing it Out
While the Bolts didn’t dominate the third period, they clearly had a more structured game plan in place to preserve the lead in this meeting. They forced turnovers in the neutral zone and got pucks deep. Philadelphia got a little life off Oskar Lindblom’s goal, but that was levelled when Yanni Gourde beat Elliot after he’d lost his stick.
Again, when the Lightning went up three, Philadelphia charged back. Yet, when Travis Konecny’s goal got Philly back within two, the Bolts stuck to their defensive mentality and didn’t let this one get close. That’s all the more impressive when playing your seventh game in eleven days with a depleted roster. A Ryan McDonagh empty netter sealed Louis Domingue’s franchise-best eleventh straight victory.
Our Three Stars of the Game
1- Louis Domingue- As the action picked up in the third, the Lightning were tired but Domingue stood tall.
2- Ryan Callahan- Callahan did all the little things right. With multiple key blocks, he was huge in a game where the Lightning’s depth was tested.
3- JT Miller- With a goal and an assist, Miller displayed an incredible effort on his tally.
Tampa Bay will be home to the Sabres Thursday at 7:30PM ET.
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