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Third Time’s Not a Charm for Lightning in Loss to Devils

Photo Credit: Alex Walworth
Photo credit: Alex Walworth Scrum Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils are meeting tonight at Amalie Arena. This is the third game between these two in the last six days. That is playoff territory. For two teams to play basically every other day for multiple games is what happens in the postseason. This quirk in the schedule may very well prove to be a huge benefit for the Lightning. Nothing like a good playoff dress rehearsal when you have a desire to go deep in the playoffs. Before the first game of this three game set, the Devils had 94 points and the Lightning had 84 points. The Devils are holding at 95 while the Lightning have zoomed up to 90 points. What will be the outcome tonight?  Will it be third time’s a charm for Tampa? 

In the immortal words of Meatloaf, sometimes two out of three ain’t bad. For the Lightning, they really turned around a bad stretch beginning in that first game against the Devils last Tuesday. To win two straight last week against New Jersey sparked the Lightning and seemed to give them confidence. Not a bad time of year for this to happen. So, even if the Lightning lose tonight, we revert back to Meatloaf’s words. If they find a way to win, then it could be the third time’s a charm for Tampa tonight.

Feeling Each other Out

Look, it can’t feel too good in Jersey’s locker room tonight. They must be thinking just what in the hell do we have to do to beat these guys? Clearly, the Devils were going to come out and try to salvage this third game. For the Bolts, they’re playing with house money coming off the come from behind win last night against Montreal. 

Just past the first minute of the game,the Devil’s Dougiie Hamilton was called for an interference penalty. The Devils worked hard to keep the Lightning off the scoreboard. Just as the penalty expired, Nikita Kucherov scored the game’s first goal. The Devils, killing the penalty, attempted to clear the puck that Kucherov kept in their zone.  Straddling the blue line, Kucherov played a nice give and go with Steven Stamkos. On the pass back from his Captain, Kucherov blasted the puck past Devil’s goalie Vitek Vanacek. For Kuchreov, this was his 28th goal and 100th point of the season.

People Get Ready 

Heading into the first intermission, Jersey had to know they would have to make it happen in the second period. Down 1-0 after the first, their speed could make a difference in the second period. Especially with the long change. As hard as the Devils were playing, sometimes the best laid plans go awry. Despite controlling the game, the Lightning scored the game’s next goal. Alex Killorn took a long pass from Erik Cernak. Strolling into the Devils zone, nobody on defense picked up Killorn. He floated to the low slot and snapped the puck past Vanacek to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.

The Rest of The Second Period Story

Not even 10 seconds after the Killorn goal, the Devils, now in desperation mode, answered with their first goal. Jesper Bratt scored his 28th goal of the season. Now, we got a ballgame. One thing was evident, that goal gave New Jersey a lift. They were now taking complete control of the game. Three minutes after their first goal, Bratt nets another goal. He wristed a shot past a crowd in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Just like that, it’s two all. 

The speed of the visiting team was evident. Beating any NHL team in three straight games is difficult. The Devils were doing everything they could to make it that much more challenging. Three minutes after Bratt’s second goal, New Jersey scored again taking a 3-2 lead. Devils Captain Nico Hischier wristed a shot that Vasilevskiy got most of but not enough as it trickled past him. Okay, so maybe sometimes bad things come in threes. Maybe, the goals coming in threes means third time’s a charm for Jersey. Three consecutive goals coming approximately three minutes apart for New Jersey. Now, it’s 3-2 Devils. 

Third Time’s A Charm for Jersey

Coming into the final regulation period, the Lightning had 49 seconds on the power play. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. New Jersey was playing with a two game loss chip on their collective shoulders. If the Lightning were to pull this game out, Jersey wasn’t gonna lay down. Taking on all the traits of a playoff game, tight defense, good goaltending and hard as hell to get a good look at the net. Just at the halfway point of the period, Lightning draft pick Nolan Foote scored his first goal of the season. This gave Jersey a 4-2 lead.

The Lightning had their chances including a power play with a bit over four minutes remaining. This game proved to be Jersey’s night. Bratt added an empty netter to give us the final 5-2 score. Definitely, the third time’s a charm for him. Okay, so maybe that Meatloaf guy had it right.

Three Stars

  1.  Jesper Bratt – Hat Trick on the road.
  2. Nico Hisschier – A goal and an assist for the New Jersey captain
  3. Nikita Kucherov – One goal and his 100th point for the season. Third time in his career he has hit that mark.

What’s Next

Tuesday in Montreal at the Bell Centre. Lightning vs. Canadiens. Puck drop at 7:00 p.m.


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