Following a disappointing loss to the New Jersey Devils that ended their win streak, the Tampa Bay Lightning return home to face the Los Angeles Kings.
The Tampa Bay Lightning tied their franchise record 10 consecutive wins against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Lightning came up short against the Devils though. Curtis McElhinney faced only 19 shots, but allowed two goals. The Devils scored three that night with the third being an empty netter. Tonight the Lightning welcomed in the Los Angeles Kings, hoping to start another win streak.
Tyler ties Richards
With his goal against the Devils on Sunday, Tyler Johnson tied Lightning legend Brad Richards for goals with the Lightning. Richards who retired from the NHL in 2016 finished his career with the Lightning netting 150 total goals. Richards was a third round pick for the Bolts the year they took Vincent Lecavalier first overall. Johnson has been with the Lightning since coming in undrafted in 2012-2013 and is under contract with the Lightning through the 2024-25 season.
Getting hot at the right time
Since their first game in December on the 3rd, the Lightning have won 15 games while only losing six. Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has also seen his stock rise during that span. So much so that he is now tied with Jordan Binnington (heading into this game) for the league lead in wins at 22. He also was last weeks number on star and named to the All Star game replacing Tukka Rask. Vasilevskiy will join Victor Hedman in St Louis for the annual game pitting the top players in each conference against each other. In his last eight games Vasilevskiy has a 8-0-0 record to go along with two shutouts and a 1.63 goals against average.
Carter opens the scoring
Kings veteran forward Jeff Carter opened the scoring at 4:18 of the first period. With puck possession going back and forth to start the first, Carter was able to tap a puck past Vasilevskiy. Erik Cernak was left kind of alone for a split second. That was just enough time for Carter to slip it past the Lightning net-minder for a 1-0 lead. That ended Vasilevskiy’s shutout streak at 150:13. Kyle Clifford would put the Kings up 2-0 on a shot that Vasilevskiy never saw coming due to being screened. Clifford assisted on Carters goal, Clifford’s was unassisted at 6:52 of the first period.
Alex Killorn gets the Bolts on the board at 10:06 with his 19th goal of the season. Volkov who is playing in his 7th NHL game finally notched his first NHL point with an assist on Killorn’s goal. Killorn is now one goal away from finally hitting the 20 goal plateau for the first time in his career. 1:19 later following a few rebounds off Jonathan Quick, Steven Stamkos put a puck past the Kings goalie for 2-2 tie game.
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Second period stalemate
While the first period featured four total goals, the second period was more of a defensive back and forth affair. Through one period the Kings held the advantage on shots 11-9, the second period went in the Kings favor as well. Quick and Vasilevskiy kept the other team off the board in the middle period. LA held the advantage at 11-9 in shots on goal in the second.
3rd starts and ends the way the 2nd started and ended
With eight minutes remaining in a period where it appeared this game was heading to OT, the Kings took the lead. Dustin Brown set up in front of Vasilevskiy, tipped a puck past the Lightning goalie for a 3-2 lead. A few minutes later Cedric Paquette thought he had one as he directed one past Quick, but Toronto though otherwise. The referees on the ice called no goal for high sticking, but Paquette and the video appeared that there was no high sticking. Toronto thought otherwise as they confirmed the call on the ice of no goal.
With the game nearly over Nikita Kucherov would get one past Quick that would not be doubted to tie the game at 3-3 with 1:15 remaining in this back and forth game. Overtime coudn’t settle the score, and the shootout went longer than anyone wanted. In the end Brayden Point and Stamkos scored to give the Lightning a 4-3 shootout win. Vasilevskiy notched his 9th straight win in this game, continuing his re-emergence to the top of the league leader ranks.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star – Steven Stamkos: Scored the 2nd goal of the night, and the game winning shootout goal.
2nd Star – Jeff Carter: a goal and a assist
1st Star – Nikita Kucherov: Scored the game tying goal late in the third to force OT and a shootout.
The Lightning will travel to Minnesota to face the Wild on Thursday January 16th at 8:00pm
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