Rapid beginning saw a pair of goals scored by both teams as Tampa finished off the California trip with a hard-fought win over the Sharks. Goals would be exchanged back and forth as the game went on with little stoppage of time in any of the three periods. Fans were kept on their seats as a thrilling game was to be held in San Jose. Nikita Kucherov came in clutch when the Bolts needed him to be, and Brandon Hagel continues to add his name to the score sheet.
Rapid goals to start the game off
To start off, Tampa wasted no time to open up the scoring. Brayden Point took advantage of an odd man rush with Victor Hedman ready to score. As a result, Hedman scored with ease to give the Lightning an early 1-0 lead 32 seconds into the game. However, San Jose would answer right back with a goal from their star defenseman. Erik Karlsson ripped the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game 1-1. Lightning nearly scored minutes later, but James Reimer made a solid save to deny Hagel the goal. Lightning continued to generate scoring chances, but Reimer remained solid after giving up the early goal. Pace of the game remained rapid as it took nearly 12 minutes of play to have the first TV timeout. Unfortunately, Hedman would leave the ice during the timeout after only playing a few minutes.
Lightning gains the lead
Afterwards, Lightning received the first power play of the game after Nick Bonino is called for tripping. Sharks were able to kill off the penalty, but Tampa managed to score after the penalty expired. Ross Colton banked in a rebound puck from a couple of chances from Alex Killorn to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead. Then, Sharks would get their chance on the power play after Pat Maroon is called for Cross-checking. Lightning killed off the penalty and the score remained 2-1 in favor of Tampa. Eventually Hedman returned to the ice in the closing minutes of the first period. Early goals were the difference maker as the opening period came to an end.
Sharks tie it up
Right away, Karlsson nearly tied the game, but Vasy was able to brush off the shot and get it out of harm’s way. Sharks kept the pressure going with more scoring chances but could not captivate on said chances. Next, San Jose eventually was rewarded for their dominate play and tied up the game. Tampa struggled to get the puck out of their zone which led to a goal by Nico Sturm. Zone clearing continued to be an issue for Tampa as the period went on.
Killorn pulls Tampa ahead
As the period went on Tampa would find their footing while both teams were quiet in the offensive department. Matt Nieto had the best chance of the period with a breakaway attempt that Vasy made a slick save to deny the goal. Defense on both ends of the ice played rather superbly to keep the score 2-2. Finally, Alex Killorn broke the silence and gave Tampa a late 3-2 lead in the period. First period may have had a rapid start, but the opposite could be said for the second period. Would the third period keep the quick pace rolling?
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Frantic third period
Once again pace showed no sign of slowing down with both teams eager to score goals. About 4 minutes the period only the third penalty of the game was called this time on Hedman. On the opening face-off, Sharks win the draw and Karlsson nets his second of the game. Game was then tied 3-3 with the Sharks hungry for more. Fans at the Shark Tank became energized and hoped to keep the momentum on San Jose’s side. After, Sturm nearly gave the Sharks the lead, but Ian Cole blocked the shot to keep the score tied. Second half of the period again kept the rapid play in effect as a go-ahead goal was surely on the horizon.
Kucherov seals the deal
Question is, which team would score the goal to give their squad the lead. Off the face-off Kucherov is called for tripping giving the Sharks yet another power play. This would be a crucial penalty kill for the Lightning to keep the game tied. Penalty was killed off successfully with the closing frame of regulation on deck. Following, Tampa Bay would go on the power play for the second time tonight. Before the power play started Tampa used their timeout to set up Point and Kucherov on the first power play unit. Power play was unsuccessful with the closing minutes of regulation to be played. Overtime would not be needed as Kucherov breaks the tie with under a minute to go. To summarize, Lightning defeated the Sharks 4-3 ending the California trip on a high note.
Three stars of the game
1st Star: Nikita Kucherov – Go ahead goal with under a minute to go
2nd Star: Erik Karlsson – 2 goals
3rd Star: Victor Hedman – 1 goal
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