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Winter Classic Reunion Goes to Overtime

Last time the Lightning visited Nashville, the streets were lined with Bolts fans. We were excited to watch our boys take on the Predators in a Winter Classic outdoor game. That game did not disappoint, as the two teams battled throughout with the Lightning ending up on top. But this year’s visit to Nashville would be different. The game is being played indoors. The streets are not likely lined with Bolts fans. And notably, Ryan McDonagh is now wearing the opponents’ jersey. McDonagh left the Tampa Bay area rather abruptly when he learned that general manager Julien Brisebois needed his heavy contract off the books. He did not get the opportunity to say goodbye to many of his teammates. And so this weekend was a bittersweet reunion. A reunion of last year’s exciting Winter Classic, and a reunion with a beloved friend and teammate. But what would tonight’s game bring? Both teams came in on 3-game winning streaks. Who would make it a fourth?

Penalties Plague the Bolts

The Lightning started this one with a few different faces in the lineup. Zach Bogosian suited up for his first game of the season. Erik Cernak was back in after missing the last three games. And Rudolfs Balcers donned a Lightning uniform for the first time, having been picked up off waivers last week.

The Bolts came out looking strong in this one, taking a few shots in the opening minute. But the momentum shifted when Victor Hedman took a penalty just 40 seconds in. The Predators’ power play has struggled somewhat this season but wasted little time connecting on this one. Filip Forsberg beat Andrei Vasilevskiy at the 1 minute and 50 second mark with the first shot of the game for Nashville. Twenty seconds later, Steven Stamkos took a penalty, sending the Predators right back to the power play. This time, the Bolts did kill it off and did not allow a shot on goal. Then, with under four minutes remaining in the period, the Bolts took yet another penalty on a somewhat questionable call. The Lightning penalty kill came through again to keep the score at 1-0.

Saros Slams the Door

The Bolts had their chances in the first period, as they set their record for the most shots in a period this season with 18. But Juuse Saros was up for the challenge and stopped them all. At three minutes and 44 seconds into the second period, the Lightning finally got a power play of their own. Less than halfway through it, Nikita Kucherov solved Saros with a wicked shot. It was Kucherov’s tenth goal of the season for the team lead. Sergachev continued to rack up his point total with an assist on the goal. The two teams headed to the dressing room all tied up at 1.

The third period quickly turned in Nashville’s favor as Nino Niederreiter scored his ninth of the season just past the five-minute mark.

Saros continued to stymie the Bolts for the next ten minutes. Then, with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, Alex Killorn tied the game at two on a deflection. Cole and Kucherov picked up assists on the goal.

To Overtime We Go

There were some chances both ways to start the 5-minute four-on-four overtime period. Then the Bolts got a great chance as Steven Stamkos went in a breakaway. Mattias Ekholm was following close behind him. Saros stopped the shot but Ekholm was whistled for a high stick. Bolts to the power play for the 5th time of the game at the 2:22 mark of overtime. Just 14 seconds in, the captain would make the Predators pay for that high stick with a rocket off a beautiful feed from Nikita Kucherov.

Lightning take 2 important points on the road to extend their winning streak to 4 games.

Three Stars

1- Steven Stamkos- Overtime winning goal

2- Andrei Vasilevskiy- 30 of 32 saves

3- Juuse Saros- stopped 36 of 39 Lightning shots

Up Next

The Bolts return home to face the red-hot Boston Bruins Monday night at 7pm.

Follow all our Lightning coverage at The Scrum Sports.



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