Connect with us


Pittsburgh Gets The Better of Lightning in OT

In the midst of the NHL trade deadline, the regular season continues. As the Pittsburgh Penguins visit Amalie Arena tonight to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, both teams have been deadline buyers. Both Pittsburgh and Tampa made deals with the Nashville Predators. The Penguins acquired Mikael Granlund while the Lightning added Tanner Jeannot. The Bolts also added Michael Eyssimont, trading Vlad Namestnikov for him. Nobody is thinking about any deals tonight. The visitors are thinking how they can replicate last Sunday’s butt whooping they put on the Bolts. For the Lightning, they will attempt to reverse their fortune against Pittsburgh with Sunday’s game still fresh in their minds. Will the Lightning play well enough so hockey karma bites the Penguins? Will Pittsburgh get the better of the Lightning?

This is the second game of a brief two game homestand. After tonight, the Lightning shuffle off to Buffalo to begin their first of three consecutive back to back weekends. The schedule this month is going to test the mettle of the Bolts. They will play 16 games in 29 games. They have an opportunity tonight to rid themselves of that Sunday massacre and get the month started off right. Pittsburgh has had the Lightning’s number recently. Would the Penguins continue that and beat the Lightning for the second time in five days?

Setting the Tempo 

The debacle in Pittsburgh last Sunday wasn’t bad except for the last five or six minutes of the second period. That was about the worst a game can get for any team. Even after Tuesday’s loss to the Florida Panthers, Jon Cooper said the effort wasn’t there. Tonight was different. From the opening puck drop, the Lightning played as a cohesive unit. Every line, each defensive pairing played as one. They set the tempo coming out of the locker room. There were nice and easy entries into Pittsburgh’s zone. Then sustained time in the offensive zone. Best of all, their play in the neutral zone was stellar. Forcing the Penguins to pass quicker and earlier than they wanted. Even if Pittsburgh gained entry into the offensive zone, the Lightning  made it a short visit. 

The strong neutral zone play was critical for the Lightning to control this game. Despite having to kill two penalties, the Lightning didn’t waver from the tone they set throughout the period. Interesting thing about those two penalty kills, a different strategy was unveiled. On both kills, Anthony Cirelli broke his stick and the Lightning were killing these penalties with 3 ½ men. Tempo setting by Tampa. Would it continue in the dreaded second period? That is where the bottom fell out last Sunday.

Opening the Scoring  

During one of those sustained offensive zone times, Jeannot was fed the puck in the slot by Mikhail Sergachev. The newest Bolt on the ice, then slapped a shot toward the net where there was a slew of traffic. The puck hit Kris Letaing in the face. Then it bounced off Ross Colton’s lower body and went past Tristan Jarry manning Pittsburgh’s goal. All that hard work led to the 1-0 Lightning lead.

Sending our best wishes to Kris Letang, hope he’s okay #PITvsTBL

Ross Colton uses his body to open the scoring, and it’s Tanner Jeannot with his first Bolts point. As called by @DaveMishkin and @PhilEspo7

🎧: @1025TheBone or Lightning Radio 24/7 on the Lightning app

— Lightning Radio (@BoltsRadio) March 3, 2023

This impressive first period for the Lightning came to an end with them clinging to the one goal lead. Can the Lightning duplicate this effort in the second period? If they do, they can maintain control and dash any hope the Penguins have for victory.

Seconds Anyone?

This was the period that did in the Lightning Sunday. Would this period come back to haunt the Bolts? Six minutes into the middle frame, Pittsburgh tied the game with a goal by Jeff Petry. Then 25 seconds later Petry scores again to give Pittsburgh its first lead of the night. Shades of the Sunday night debacle. Fortunately, for the Lightning they were able to stop the Penguins scoring with a power play goal by Brayden Point. Sergachev took a shot from the center point and Alex Killorn tipped the puck. Instead of going towards the Pittsburgh net, the puck found Point’s stick then found the back of the net. The Bolt knotted the game at two. 

With five minutes left in the period, Jason Zucker took a 120 foot pass from Marcus Pettersson. Zucker then broke in alone on Andrei Vsilevskiy and gave Pittsburgh their second one goal lead of the game, 3-2.

Will the Lightning Fight Back? 

At the very end of the second period, the Penguins committed back to back delay of game penalties. Starting the third period, the Lightning still had a 2-man advantage for about 38 seconds. Sure enough, the old reliables came through. Steven Stamkos on a feed from Nikita Kucherov tied the game at three. The second comeback goal for the Lightning this game. Now, the game became a tighter match between these two clubs. Just about the seven minute mark, Drew O’Connor beat Darren Raddysh and lifted the puck over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder. The Lightning still had time but the clock was starting to factor in the game. 

Would Penguins Get the Better of Lightning Again?

Down 4-3 with the clock against them, the Lightning were clawing back. With just under six minutes remaining in regulation, the Bolts tied the game yet again. Victor Hedman took a drop pass from Stamkos, glided around a Penguins defender. He then found Jarry’s five hole to tie the game at four. That’s how regulation ended and off we went to overtime. Both teams had decent chances but at about the period point of the five minute overtime, the game was decided. Zucker scored his second and the game winning goal. Turns out the Penguins did get the better of the Ligtning again tonight. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *