Photo Courtesy of Wayne Masut Staff Photographer
The 2015-2016 Tampa Bay Lightning looked to get the franchise record ninth consecutive win when they faced the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. Following a perfect four game road trip the Bolts returned home to Amalie Arena tonight hoping to make history.
The Bolts came out a little flat in the first period against the Hurricanes. Play would go back and forth, but in the opening period Carolina Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack would be the difference maker in the early goings. Numerous times the Lightning would get a good shot with Lack completely out of place in the crease, but the Carolina goalie kept tallying up the spectacular saves early. With around five minutes remaining Victor Hedman would head to the box with a hooking penalty. Tampa Bay was able to hold of the young and hungry Hurricanes keeping their perfect penalty kill they’ve had lately going. Just after Hedman left the box however, Ondrej Palat would get the puck from Tyler Johnson and race in alone to get the Lightning on the board. Palat’s goal tonight was the 50th of his young career. While Carolina would make another push late in the first, Tampa Bay would skate into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
Carolina would keep up the heavy pressure as the 2nd period began. Midway through the period the Lightning would go on the power play following Derek Ryan’s high sticking call on Brian Boyle. Unfortunately, the power play struggles would continue for the Lightning who were unable to convert with the man advantage. With about six minutes left in the 2nd Victor Rask would tie the game up for the Hurricanes. Just about two minutes later the Triplets would show why they are such a great line in the NHL. Kucherov would race into the offensive zone before getting a shot on net that would bounce behind the net. Palat would corral the puck head in front of the net and take a shot near the middle of the left face-off circle that would get past Lack for a 2-1 Lightning lead.
The 3rd period wasn’t kind to the Lightning tonight. Barely three minutes into the period the Hurricanes would do something no team had been able to do recently. Jordan Staal tie the game up 2-2 while the Bolts were on the penalty kill. Then just midway through the period Jeff Skinner would give the Hurricanes their first lead of the game 3-2. The Triplets weren’t done with their scoring barrage tonight. With 6:18 left in the 3rd Kucherov would hit a shot off Lack’s helmet before Kucherov gets it back behind the net. He would put a beautiful pass right on Tyler Johnson’s stick to tie the game up again this time 3-3. With that goal the Triplets would account for six points with nearly 5 minutes left in the game. The Lightning would apply ample pressure during their last power play and the final minutes of the game however, it wasn’t enough to avoid 3 on 3 overtime.
3 on 3 overtime would continue to be an exciting feature to a tied NHL game. Right out the gate the Hurricanes would race towards Bishop who would stop a great early OT shot. Tampa Bay would gain control of the puck as Palat and Johnson would rush towards Lack forcing the Hurricanes net minder to make a huge stop to keep play going. The goalies would continue highlight reel saves until Alex Kilorn pushes his way into the Hurricanes zone and puts a beautiful shot past Lack.
The Lightning would get their 9th straight consecutive win setting a new franchise record. The only other team to have eight straight wins was the 204 Stanley Cup team.
3 Stars of the Game.
3rd Star: Nikita Kucherov – Two assists tonight on goals for Palat and Johnson. Was the key facot in both those goals actually happening.
2nd Star: Tyler Johnson – One goal and an assist tonight shows he is finally getting back to his last season form.
1st Star: Onderj Palat – Two goals tonight the first one being his 50th of his NHL career.
Honorable Mention – Carolina Goalie Eddie Lack: Without him this is easily another 4 plus goal game for the Lightning.
Next up the Lightning head to Philadelphia to face the Flyers for the first time since opening night when Jason Garrison had 2 goals en route to a Lightning victory.
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