Penalties were plentiful as the Lightning looked to extend their five game point streak against a dominant Hurricanes squad. The pile-up of penalties became the deciding factor in a game between two juggernauts in the East. Erik Cernak left the game with an upper-body injury yet the defense remained solid as overtime would be necessary yet again. Of the four chances on the man-advantage the Lightning had, none resulted in a goal giving Carolina a prime opportunity to steal a victory away in Tampa.
Penalties pile up
Tampa’s offense went to work quick and nearly scored in the opening minute. Immediately the game had a playoff feel to it. Both teams played tight defense giving little room for scoring chances. Carolina consistently generated shots on net, but majority of them were easy stops for Andrei Vasilevskiy. With about 11 minutes to go Carolina coughed up a penalty. Sebatian Aho was called for tripping on Erik Cernak giving the Bolts the first power play of the night. Bolts could not get much going on the power play and as the penalty expired, Corey Perry is called for holding the stick. Carolina also could not score on the man advantage, but had the best scoring opportunity at this point in the game.
Vasy was able to hold off the rush in front of the net and move the puck out of the zone. Carolina would then head back to the power play after Jan Rutta is called for hooking. Sebastian Aho nearly opened up the scoring, but was unable to get it past Vasy. Patrick Maroon had a solid scoring chance, but the puck just rolled past him before he could get the shot off. For about 6 minutes the Lightning could not generate a shot on net. Tampa would end the period on a power play and looked to get something going offensively.
In the opening minute of the period Steven Stamkos nearly scores, but the puck goes off the post instead. It looked like Ondrej Palat opened up the scoring, but Frederik Andersen begs to differ. Andersen made a tremendous diving play to rob Palat of a sure goal. Hurricanes then headed to the power play after Rutta is called for delay of game. Tampa’s penalty kill would be tested even more as Carolina drew a cross-checking penalty. 5-on-3 followed suit, but the Bolts penalty kill did their job well and the game remained scoreless. Patience paid off for the Lightning as they opened up the scoring midway through the period.
Bolts strike first
Mathieu Joseph fooled Andersen by faking the shot causing Andersen to leave his crease a bit. Joseph then passed the puck to Steven Stamkos who buried the puck with ease. More penalties were called, but neither team were able to score with all the chances on the man advantage. Tampa played as the better team despite still being out-shot by the Hurricanes. However, Carolina never took their their foot off the gas pedal and kept the pressure on Vasy.
3rd period started off the same as the past couple of periods. Neither team really had a good scoring opportunity which would continue until midway through. Brayden Point thought he had a goal, but the puck went off the top bar and somehow stayed out. Stamkos then was called for interference and was not pleased with the call. Stamkos was pushed into Andersen by a defender which caused the contact. Regardless, Carolina finally broke through and tied the game. Teuvo Teravainen ripped a shot past Vasy to give the Canes a much needed goal on the man advantage. Tampa looked for the go-ahead goal with another power play opportunity with 5:06 to go in regulation. Unfortunately the power play struggles continued as Tampa went 0/4 with the man advantage. After some close calls overtime was needed to declare a winner.
Beginning of overtime was all Carolina as they never let Tampa get a hold of the puck. Once Tampa did, Point nearly scored but it was just too high. Brady Skeji seemed to have scored the game-winning-goal but it was called off-sides. Tampa then took command in OT but could not answer Andersen. Martin Necas then ripped a shot top shelf that beat Vasy with ease giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 victory. Point streak extends to six games, but face-off losses and a lack of power play production haunted Tampa from pulling away with the victory.
Three stars of the game
1st Star: Martin Necas – Game-winning-goal in overtime
2nd Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 29 of 31 shots faced
3rd Star: Steven Stamkos – 1 goal
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