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Hedman scores in homeland as Bolts sweep Sabres in Sweden

Wayne Masut | The Scrum Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning hoped to be on the positive end of a sweep Saturday in Stockholm. Swede Victor Hedman and the Bolts were one game away from sweeping the NHL Global Series in Sweden following a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. 

Troubling signs early

Two things stood out in the opening moments of the game. Two troubling tendencies carrying over from Friday. First of all, Hedman and the Lightning got off to a slow start yet again. The Sabres carried play in the opening moments and Curtis McElhinney was sharp in net for the Bolts.

Secondly, a major part of that tough beginning was due to the fact that Tampa Bay struggled to get a clean exit out of their own end. That was an issue during Friday’s game.

Hung out to dry

Eventually, the Lightning’s sloppy play caught up to them. It seems nearly every time McElhinney is in the net, the Bolts are very loose in their own end and leave the Lightning net-minder to fend for himself. Sam Reinhart broke the ice to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead.

Narrowing the gap

Though the Bolts gave up a whopping 17 shots in the opening frame, they were able to claw back with twelve of their own, where they eventually got rewarded.

Hedman wasn’t the only one enjoying the trip

Sweden may want to consider renaming Stockholm “Gourdeholm” because Yanni Gourde flourished at the Ericsson Globe. He buried a goal in the first game of the series, and produced on Saturday in a large fashion. In the dwindling seconds of a power play, Gourde ripped a one-timer that deflected off a Sabre stick, off Pat Maroon, and in. The game was knotted at one apiece through twenty minutes. Gourde wasn’t done yet.

How Swede it is, Hedman

The moment Tampa Bay fans had been waiting for came to fruition during a second period power play. Hedman got what may already be his favorite goal of his career. He blasted one home from the point and buried in his homeland. There was a massive ovation when the countryman’s goal was announced. Hedman was playing more offensively aggressive than he ever has in Saturday’s game, and got rewarded on the man advantage. He became the fifth Swedish-born defenseman to score a regular-season goal in his home country.

They don’t ask how, they ask how many

Like the first period, the Sabres controlled the majority of the second period. Though the Lightning outshot Buffalo 17-13, many of those shots were generated on their two-man advantage opportunities in the frame. Though the Sabres had the more dangerous looks, the Bolts were able to cash in on their chances. First on the power play from Hedman, followed by the Lightning using up every second of the period to extend their lead.

It’s not too late, it’s never too late

The Lightning banged and banged away late in the frame, and finally, beat Carter Hutton with just over one second on the clock. Maroon got his second of the night, making it 3-1 Bolts after two.

Right at home in Hedman’s territory

Hedman wasn’t the only Swede to bring the Globe fans to their feet. Early in the third period, Victor Olofsson cut in on his countryman Hedman, and banged home a rebound to get the Sabres within one.

Quick strike

Buffalo wasn’t in this hockey game for long after Olofsson’s goal. Tampa Bay needed a span of only a minute and seven seconds to essentially end this hockey game. Gourde continued a night where he was simply all over the place by ripping one immediately off a faceoff past Hutton.

Just moments later, Alex Killorn and Mathieu Joseph battled for a loose puck in the goalmouth that Joseph buried. Just like that, the Lightning were up 5-2.

Can we stay here? Hedman probably wouldn’t mind

Jack Eichel added a late goal, but the Bolts took it, 5-3. Sweden treated them nicely, as they grabbed all four points at Ericsson Globe.

Our Three Stars of the Game

    1. Yanni Gourde: One goal, one assist. Gourde was everywhere tonight, and it showed on the scoresheet.
    2. Curtis McElhinney: 40 saves. McElhinney kept the Lightning in the game in a sloppy first period and was solid throughout.
    3. Pat Maroon: Two goals. Just one double-post away from his second career hat trick. A good day at the office for Maroon.

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