The Tampa Bay Lightning, on the road for the second half of a back-to-back, squeaked out a 3-2 victory in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche. The victory came due to a beautiful play by Jonathan Drouin, who showed ridiculous stick work in his overtime winner. I like eating dessert before dinner, so here's the goal:
The best thing about the goal was that it seemed for a hot second like Drouin had let defender Matt Nieto force a giveaway. But Drouin skated neatly around him and took the puck back, thanks, sending in the goal on an unlikely backhand with Nieto just a step behind him all the way.
The victory broke the Bolts past the 60 point mark, bumping the team to 7th in the East and Atlantic.
The question remains: was it a good game?
The Bolts blew a 2-0 lead against the worst team in the league in the third period, due to (first) a goal from Mikko Rantanen, and (second) a last-two-minutes-of-play man advantage goal.
The Avs pulled goalie Calvin Pickard with two minutes left. The play developed from Gabriel Landeskog, who picked the puck up from a tangle of Bolts inside Bishop's crease and sent it to Tyson Barrie. Barrie saw that Matt Duchene had a good angle, and sent it to him. The tying goal came from Duchene, who took advantage of Bishop's scramble to get back into position to rocket home a slapshot past Bishop's glove.
The first two periods were well played, with shots always mounting in favor of the Bolts, notably from Kucherov, who at one point made eight shots on goal in 14 minutes, according to Joe Smith. Shots ended 40-29, Bolts, with Pickard saving 37 of those. The best part was that the steady pressure resulted neatly in one goal each period.
Alex Killorn out-psyched Pickard and set up Brayden Point for the first goal of the game. Bolts set up their cycle in the offensive zone, with Victor Hedman spotting Killorn deep in the zone to Pickard's left. Killorn spend a moment faking a shot, staring at Pickard as he lined up his stick, only to send it to Point -- who gleefully used Pickard's distraction to bury it home.
The second goal of the game came from Pickard sliding out of position and allowing Vladislav Namestnikov to send a puck in five-hole. Was it the ice that was at fault? There were a lot of problems with Pepsi Arena, including a moment where the arena ice crew had to sweep a pool of debris out from around Pickard's crease, and another moment where the plexiglass around the rink looked damaged. Whether or not the conditions had anything to do with Pickard's brain fart, he still likely wants it back.
Anyway. Tampa Bay Lightning won, and it's still fun to watch a victory. Bolts are 4-0-2 in their past six.
Here are a few semi-chronological thoughts about the game.
(0) OMG, it's Mark Barberio!
(1) If there was any team to play against on the second half of a back to back, it's this one. They leave plenty of space and strangely spotty defense, letting the Bolts walk all over them. If not for Pickard, the Bolts would've been up by much more.
(2) Drouin and Point have excellent chemistry. In 92 minutes of ice time together, they've garnered one goal and two assists, and a 57.9 CF%. Will we see more of this duo?
(3) When Andrej Sustr plays well, the team plays well. He made a good stretch pass to Drouin for an early shot attempt, even though it wasn't productive.
(4) Triplets are the line that Cooper trusted most for the last two minutes, and, um, they failed to protect the lead.
(5) The Av's best player is Pickard.
(6) I’m laughing at the disclaimer:
Tonight's #TBLvsCOL 3 Stars:— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 20, 2017
(as a reminder, this twitter account does not pick them)
(7) The Bolts are now 2-5 in three-on-three hockey.
(8) Never forget this stellar moment from the Avs broadcast: