The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime at Amalie Arena in Tampa Wednesday night.
In terms of artistic merit, not only was this one not an oil painting, this wasn’t even a toddler’s poorly rendered finger-paint portrait of a family pet that would be worthy of displaying on the fridge door.
Regardless, the post-2017 trade deadline version of the Tampa Bay Lightning came away with a win.
“I think it was one of those games where – clearly, I don’t know how the mindset was of our team in the first period, but we were not focused or ready to play that game. I don’t know if it was because it was March 1st. I don’t know if there was a stress level going on and a relief level all in the same boat, but we got schooled in the first period. It was another game where Vasy (goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy) had to come up huge for us just to keep it a one goal game. I think that was the difference for us was keeping it a one goal game. After that second and third, what were shots? 13-11 or something? 13-12? It was a pretty even game. Poor Pally (Ondrej Palat) missed a six by four on the back door. (Adam) Erne hit a crossbar. We had some really good chances. Our shot total was low because I think we missed the net 23 times. That’s a large number. They got in lanes and blocked some shots and stuff like that, but I truly believe it’s one of those – I don’t know if paying it forward or whatever it’s called -- we’ve played a lot of games in the last month and a half where we felt we deserved a better fate and didn’t get it and tonight was probably one where maybe it was just reversed a little bit, but we got points. Carolina’s probably sitting there thinking the same thing. We deserved a little bit better fate than they received, but we will take it for sure.” - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
“I don’t think we can sit here and be really proud with what we did out there. We got the win so that’s good, but I think there’s a lot of room for improvement there. Quite frankly, there’s probably games that we’ve lost that we probably should’ve won. Tonight, I don’t know if I can sit here and say that for 100 percent we should’ve got those two points, but luckily for us we were able to get them.” - Lightning forward Tyler Johnson
“Well, I think sluggish is probably a little understatement. I think, especially our first period, was unacceptable. I overheard what (Tyler Johnson) said, sometimes you lose games you feel like you should’ve won and today was one of those where we probably wouldn’t argue if they came out with the two points. We’ll take these two points. In a week or so, you look back at it and it’s two points in the bank. Obviously the performance is something we’ve got to improve on, but two points is two points. At this time of the year, you take them any way.” - Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman
The Lightning didn’t register their first shot of the game until 7:58 into the first period, but it came on the power play and Victor Hedman converted it. He was assisted by Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.
The Lightning would go on to register just four shots during the period.
Just under four minutes later, Noah Hanifin tied it for Carolina, scoring with help from Elias Lindholm and Sebastian Aho at 11:51.
And just over three minutes after that, Carolina took the lead on a goal from Derek Ryan at 14:54. Hanifan and Victor Rask assisted on the play.
The Hurricanes would carry that 2-1 lead all the way into the third period.
Tyler Johnson found himself in the right spot at the right time when Jake Dotchin’s shot deflected off of him to tie the game at two. Palat picked up the secondary assist.
The Lightning regained the lead at 15:18 when Kucherov extended his Lightning-season best goal-scoring streak to four games. Johnson and Jason Garrison chipped in with the helpers.
The Lightning would go on to record just three shots in the period (a total of 16 for the game) but scored on two of them.
That lead lasted a little longer than two minutes, as the Hurricanes’ Jay McClement scored shorthanded at 17:23, assisted by Jaccob Slavin and Lindholm.
Regulation ended with the teams tied at three.
Just 46 seconds into overtime, Hedman book-ended the scoring with the game winner, a goal initially waved off on ice but correctly upheld after a brief discussion. Kucherov and Johnson offered assistance on the play. For Hedman, it’s the fourth multi-goal game of his career.
The Lightning have recorded points in nine of their last 10 games and are 7-1-2 over that stretch.
The Lightning will be in action again on Friday when they take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh.