The Tampa Bay Lightning put up a tremendous effort defeating the Florida Panthers 6-1. Missing Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli, Tampa played with a next man up mentality. They exploded for 4 goals in the second, while Andrei Vasilevskiy was incredible in net. Tampa put forth a much better effort than on Thursday. They were aggressive on the puck and were able to spend long stretches of time in the Florida end. In addition, Tampa brought a relentless physical mentality and did not shy away from scraps. The Lightning were looking for redemption and got it in a big way and remain in first place in the Central Division.
Penalty killers come up big early
Tremendous penalty killing is key when playing a team with a dynamic powerplay. Florida came into the game sporting the second best powerplay in the league at 37%. Tyler Johnson said “the penalty killers did their job” and they did and more. The unit was tested early when Victor Hedman took a double minor for high-sticking. They were quick to pressure the puck carrier and made it difficult for the Panthers to get clean entries into the zone. When they did Vasilevskiy was there to shut the door. The Lightning killed off all four of the Panthers powerplays.
Tremendous effort and mentality
After losing to Florida 5-2 on Thursday, Tampa knew they would have to bring a much better effort if they were to remain in first place. Captain Steven Stamkos missed his second game due to being placed on the Covid-19 list. In addition, Forward Anthony Cirelli sustained an upper-body injury in the last game and is considered week-to-week. Down two important pieces the next man up mentality was extremely important and the Lightning answered the bell. Mathieu Joseph said “We are confident in our group, no matter who is in the lineup”, and rightfully so as depth pieces were able to contribute offensively.
Gemel Smith making his season debut after being called up from the taxi-squad had a big impact. He picked up two assists including a fabulous play along the wall and feed Alex Volkov, giving him his first career NHL goal. Mathieu Joseph who has played excellent after being scratched for the playoffs scored his fifth of the season on a breakaway after blocking a shot. Goodrow would also take advantage of a lack luster third period effort by the Panthers and added his third of the season sliding it through the five-hole of Bobrovsky on a breakaway. The Lightning’s depth dominated this game.
A pair of triplets
Ondrej Palat has been tremendous since having a great 2020 playoff. Coming into tonight’s game he had 5 goals and 4 assist in 12 games this season. Palat has been the blue collar player on the top line and he came through tonight scoring on a wicked one-timer on the powerplay to open the scoring. Tyler Johnson stepped up to the plate with key players missing. After only scoring one goal in the first 11, he scored twice tonight. His first came from a nice pass from Smith and Johnson was able to fire it top shelf. His second came from great positioning at the side of the net.
The Lightning will have to bring the same effort and mentality Monday if there are to take 2-of-3 from Florida. Expect a much better effort from Florida as they did not play hard in the third period. Following Monday’s Game the Lighning will head to Dallas
- Andrei Vasilevskiy: He made numerous tremendous saves including robbing Anthony Duclair at the side of the net.
- Tyler Johnson: Picked up 2 goals including one late in the second to slam the door.
- Gemel Smith: After being called up from the taxi squad due to injuries, he played a major role getting two assister and played a hard nosed game.
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