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Potential Cup Final match-up once again goes Lightning’s way

Following a 5-2 win against the Florida Panthers down in Sunrise on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned home as the top two NHL teams faced off. The last time the Calgary Flames played the Lightning, it was a 5-4 Bolts victory in Calgary on December 20th. 

TAMPA, FL – Following a three game home-stand, and a brief one game trip to Sunrise the Tampa Bay Lightning welcomed in the Calgary Flames led by all-star Johnny Gaudreau. Sunday night against the Florida Panthers, Lightning goalie Louis Domingue set a franchise record with his 10th straight win, while forward Nikita Kucherov notched two goals.

Fast Start for Bolts

In nearly the first 12 minutes of the opening period, the score remained tied. Not shocking when the top two teams in the NHL are playing. Had the score remained tied for 60 minutes, it’s doubtful anyone would be shocked. The good thing for the Lightning is that wasn’t the case to start this game. At 11:54 of the 1st Brayden Point would notch his 33rd goal of the season. With the Bolts passing well in the offensive zone, JT Miller would find himself towards the boards behind the net. With Point in the slot, Miller would pass the puck and Point would bury it for a 1-0 lead. Heading into tonight’s game Point had tied a season high total for goals. With his goal tonight he set a new season high for himself with 33.

Just over four minutes later the Lightning would take advantage of a defensive zone breakdown. Danick Martel would get the puck away from a Flames player and get it to Cedric Paquette for his 9th of the season. One minute 13 seconds later Nikita Kucherov would get his third goal in two games to put the Bolts up 3-0 late in the first. Not even two minutes later Calgary would get on the board as Mark Giordano would beat Andrei Vasilevskiy while the Flames had a two man advantage.

Back and forth continues

Once again early in the period it was back and forth with the Lightning buzzing around Flames goalie David Rittich, but it was Calgary who would strike first in the second period. The Flames would get within one with that goal (3-2), but it would last long. With the Lightning causing havoc in front of Rittich, Anthony Cirelli would get a puck past Rittich for a 4-2 Lightning lead just a hair over the midway point of the second period, but that wouldn’t be the last of the 2nd. Yanni Gourde who signed that new deal early this season, would notch his 15th goal of the season. The goal initially appeared to be scored by Braydon Coburn, but it did appear to go off Gourde for a 5-2 Lightning lead.

Oh captain my captain

Steven Stamkos is on pace for a 40 goal+ season. A season where he is putting it all together and leading this team into a playoff berth once again. With less than three seconds left on a power play, Stamkos would set up in his favorite spot and rifle a one timer past Rittich for a 6-2 lead. The goal is the 30th of the season for the Lightning captain.

The Flames wouldn’t go quietly though as Sean Monahan would notch his second goal of the game for a 6-3 Bolts lead. When the final horn sounded though, the Lightning had won their 42nd game of the season and third straight. They have registered points in seven straight games. The Bolts now have 88 points  through 57 games, they lead the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders by 14 points.

Up Next

The Lightning will welcome in the Dallas Stars on Valentines Day night for a 7:30 puck drop.

Three Stars

3rd Star – Steven Stamkos: One goal, one assist to keep a great season going.

2nd Star – Brayden Point: Continues to show the league he is a top guy, one goal two assists tonight.

1st Star – Nikita Kucherov: One goal and three assists to keep his lead in the points race.

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