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Raddysh, Lightning Find Missing Spark In Win Against Minnesota

Darren Raddysh scored two quick goals in the second period to spark the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild Thursday night. The win was the first for Tampa Bay in Minnesota since 2011.

Victor Hedman added a power play goal early in the third period and Brandon Hagel scored late to cement the win for the Bolts. Nakita Kucherov, the NHL’s leading scorer, added an assist to up his point total.

The game was a physical matchup throughout, including a faceoff fight between Austin Watson and former Bolt Pat Maroon mid-game. With both teams coming in after losses earlier in the week, the physicality was intense from the start.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 23 shots in a key showdown with veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The talented netminder Fleury recently became the fourth goaltender in NHL history to hit the 1,000 games played mark. Chasing Patrick Roy for the second most wins ever, Fleury will have to wait another night to score another win as the Lightning pressured the offensive zone all night.

Vasilevskiy stole the goaltending show as he seemed to gain his footing after giving up 11 goals in his past three games. Still fresh off back surgery, the all-star goalie was patient and confident as he denied the Wild time and time again.

The lone goal for the Wild fittingly was scored by former Bolt Zach Bogosian. Bogosian, acquired by the Wild in November, scored his first goal for the team since arriving in Minnesota.

Raddysh Leads A Fresh-Looking Offense

The Lightning have been far from superior this season offensively. Tonight, the team played with a focus and intensity that has been lacking at times. Raddysh’s two goals, scored within three minutes of each other, broke open a stalemate between the two hockey clubs.

His second goal was a picture-perfect wraparound that caught Fleury and the Wild defense flat-footed.

“We were moving around a little bit, and Raddy (Raddysh) made some great plays down there, “Head Coach Jon Cooper said. “It was great to see these kids rewarded.”

From there, the Lightning kept pushing the Fleury and the Wild with aggressive play and good looks on net. Along with Kucherov, Luke Glendening, Nick Paul, Tyler Motte, and Conor Sheary all picked up points as puck movement was a key element to tonight’s offense.

Defensively, the Lightning played well, limiting turnovers and forcing the Wild into turning over the puck over in their offensive zone.

Jon Cooper Picks Up Win 499

With tonight’s win, Jon Cooper picked up his 499th career coaching win in the NHL. He gets the opportunity to score win 500 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Darren Raddysh, Tampa Bay. Two goals in three minutes broke the game wide open for the Lightning.

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay. The elite netminder comes up just short of a shutout, but rebounded nicely after dropping his last three games prior to tonight.

3. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay. A goal from the point deflated an already weary Wild team to keep the momentum going in the third period.

Honorable Mention: Declan Carlile, Tampa Bay. Brought up from Syracuse for his NHL debut tonight, Carlile played tough and came up just shy of a goal. His performance tonight brought out one of the best Jon Cooper postgame press conference quotes in recent memory.

“The kid did great,” Cooper quipped. “That’s really exciting times when someone gets to play their first NHL game. But it’s a little bit of a pisser for me, because I’ve coached d*** near 800 of these games and he’s played in one, and we both have the same amount of wins in this building.”

“He’s got something on me, I guess.”

Up Next:

The Lightning (19-16-5) travel to Boston (23-8-6) for a key matchup against the Bruins Saturday night. Puck drop is 7:00PM.

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