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Point Leads Way in Thanksgiving Showdown

We stuffed ourselves with Thanksgiving turkey and a variety of tasty sides. We took advantage of a few Black Friday sales. And now, we are ready to sit back and enjoy some Lightning hockey. Tonight’s game looks to be a great matchup, as it features two of the last three teams to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Both teams come in having lost their last game. For the Bolts, it’s been four nights since the crushing defeat at the hands of those big bad Bruins. They have had a chance to regroup and look to turn their fortunes around this evening. For the St. Louis Blues, it has been a season of streaks. They started out the season with three straight wins and then went on to lose their next eight in a row. They followed that up with a seven-game winning streak prior to their loss to the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night. Which recent Stanley Cup champion would come out on top in this Thanksgiving showdown?

Making Their Point in the First

Fueled by their holiday feasts, both teams came out physical to start this Thanksgiving showdown. There were some minor skirmishes in the opening minute. Two minutes and six seconds in, Rudolfs Balcers sustained an upper body injury on a hit from Niko Mikkola, and would miss the remainder of the game. By the 2:18 mark, Corey Perry and Ivan Barbashev had dropped the gloves. Both went to the box for five-minute majors. Just over a minute later, Brayden Point opened the scoring on a backhand shot. Linemates Brandon Hagel and Nikita Kucherov got the assists.

Before that goal was even announced at Amalie Arena, Alex Killorn’s shot found the back of the net and the the Bolts found themselves with a 2-0 lead. Nick Paul and Steven Stamkos drew the assists on that one.

Moments later, Niko Mikkola hooked Nikita Kucherov, sending the Lightning to the first power play of the game. About halfway through it, Point scored his eighth of the season and second of the period from Kucherov and Sergachev for a 3-0 Lightning lead.

With under four minutes to play in the period, the Blues got a power play of their own. Pavel Buchnevich capitalized with his sixth goal of the season, cutting the Bolts’ lead to 3-1.

Another Quick Response

The Blues came out determined to get back into this game in the second. Their efforts were rewarded at the 6:24 mark when Jordan Kyrou scored his seventh of the season. But once again, before the Amalie Arena faithful could hear the goal announcement, the Bolts would restore their two-goal advantage. Brandon Hagel scored his sixth of the season just 18 seconds after the Kyrou goal. Kucherov and Point both assisted on the goal for the third point of the game for each.

St. Louis created sustained pressure for stretches of the second period but Andrei Vasilevskiy stayed strong in net. The teams would go to the dressing room with the Bolts clinging to a 4-2 lead.

Holding Down the Fort in the Final Frame

The Bolts knew their role going into the final frame tonight. They would have to hold down the fort. Although the Bolts had jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, the Blues had bounced back to make this game a close one. The teams exchanged chances throughout the third period and both goalies game up big when they needed to.

In a last-ditch effort to get back into the game, St. Louis Coach Craig Berube pulled goalie Jordan Binnington with right around four minutes remaining. It did not take long for the Bolts to capitalize as Nick Paul scored into the empty net at 16:12. And that would be the final score, as the Lightning get back into the win column with an impressive 5-2 victory, as Brayden Point leads the way in this Thanksgiving showdown.


Three Stars

1- Brayden Point- 2 goals, 1 assist

2- Nikita Kucherov- 3 assists

3- Brandon Hagel- 1 goal, 1 assist

Up Next

The Bolts head to out for a three-game road trip starting with the first of a back-to-back game in Buffalo Monday night at 7pm before heading on to Boston.

Check out Scrum Sports for all your Lightning news and highlights!

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