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Lighting power play leads them past Ducks 6-2

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Vasy sets the franchise record for wins by a goalie.

Anaheim Ducks v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

The Lightning defeated the Ducks 6-2 behind a dominant power play that scored three goals including two in the third period. The win established a new franchise record by a goaltender for Andrei Vasilevskiy at 132. He passed Ben Bishop for that honor.

Steven Stamkos missed the game after not returning following the first period on Thursday. Nikita Kucherov returned to the lineup and scored a goal. The coaches once again used an 11 forward / 7 defender lineup with Braydon Coburn as the 7th defender and Carter Verhaeghe scratched in favor of Cory Conacher.

First Period

The first period was not a particularly good one for the Lightning.

It started with Cory Conacher taking a penalty less than two minutes into the game. The Ducks got a good chance off the opening faceoff but the penalty kill tightened up after that and didn’t allow much else.

The Lightning got their best chance of the period a little over four minutes in when Brayden Point got loose in the offensive zone and skated in with plenty of time and space on Ryan Miller. But Point couldn’t finish and the game stayed tied.

After that, Anaheim took over for an extended stretch. They kept the puck in the offensive zone and generated lots of shots. Erik Gudranson wristed one from the point that deflected off of Point and then off the crossbar. The Ducks kept up the pressure as the period progressed. Rickard Rakell got a good look on the rush but Andrei Vasilevskiy made the save.

The Lightning took the lead against the run of play with about four minutes left in the period. Jan Rutta fired a shot from the point. Miller blockered it away but it bounced off of Point’s shoulder and into the net.

With under three minutes left, Ryan McDonagh drew a tripping penalty on Gudbranson and it looked like the Lightning would have a chance to start turning the game in their favor. Instead, the first power play unit looked awful repeatedly turning over the puck in the neutral zone. Their shift ended when Nikita Kucherov threw a backhand pass off the linesman at the defensive blue line and the puck bounced directly to Derek Grant who put it past Vasilevskiy to tie the game.

Thankfully, the second unit looked much better and threatened to score multiple times. Unfortunately, they couldn’t finish and the Ducks killed off the penalty. Anaheim got the last chance of the period as Adam Henrique had a good look from the slot.

At the end of the period, Anaheim had a big lead in shots but expected goals were dead even.

Second period

The second period started with more of the same from the first period but it did not end that way. As a first example of the parallels, the Lightning scored the first goal of the period before giving it back a few minutes later. They took the lead about five minutes into the period when Anthony Cirelli recovered the puck behind the goal line and slid a perfect pass to Kucherov in the slot who buried it to make up for his mistake on the first Anaheim goal.

On the next shift, Jan Rutta took a hooking penalty that would lead to Anaheim’s tying goal. But before that, Jakob Silfverberg almost did the deed collecting a rebound chance in front of the net and sliding a puck through Vasilevskiy but wide of the net.

The goal would come at the very end of the power play after the Lightning penalty kill unit had been stuck on the ice for far too long. Making matters worse, McDonagh had broken his stick and was using Cirelli’s so the Bolts only had three skaters on the ice with a stick. Rickard Rakell took advantage rifling a one time past Vasy as the power play expired.

The Ducks continued to pressure after the goal and it looked like maybe they would take over the game. That didn’t happen though as the Lightning came back and thoroughly outplayed them over the final eight minutes or so.

It started with Kucherov drawing a hooking penalty on Hampus Lindholm. Brayden Point took advantage scoring a goal on the rush. Instead of trying to get set up in the zone, he attacked with speed down the right side and fired a shot that slid through Miller to give the Lightning the lead again.

Not long after, Pat Maroon extended the lead to two goals recovering a rebound off a well placed shot by Mikhail Sergachev and flipping it past Miller. Maroon has had a few chances like that recently and not been able to finish so it was good to see him put one in the back of the net.

Barely over a minute later, it looked like the Lightning would score again as Sergachev recovered a loose puck in the offensive zone and slide a perfect shot pass to Tyler Johnson who was wide open in the slot. But the puck kicked off the winger’s stick awkwardly and slid wide of the net to keep the score 4-2. The Lightning continued to get the better of play over the final few minutes and headed to intermission with momentum.

At the end of the second, the Ducks still led in shots but the Lightning had a slight lead in expected goals.

Third Period

The third period was the Lightning’s best of the game as they finally outclassed the Ducks the way they should have for the first 40 minutes. They frustrated Anaheim to the point where they started taking dumb penalties that led to power plays that led to more goals. By the end of it, the Lightning turned what had been a relatively even game into a blowout.

The Ducks got the first power play of the period with 16 minutes to go. But they couldn’t do anything with it and eventually took a penalty with 30 seconds remaining. The Lightning didn’t take long to take advantage. Cirelli scored for the second consecutive game. This time collecting a rebound and stuffing it into the net as he was falling down.

The Ducks got their only good chance of the period when the created a scrum around the net without about 10 minutes left. But outside of that, the Lightning controlled the game. Anaheim fully lost control with a little under five minutes left as Korbinian Holzer threw a dirty cross check that led to a scrum and multiple penalties including Nick Ritchie getting tossed for repeatedly cross checking Cirelli in the back while he was engaged with Holzer.

The Lightning used the opportunity to pepper the Ducks net. Kucherov fired a shot off the post early in the power play. The second unit finished the job as Ondrej Palat corralled a Kevin Shattenkirk rebound and put the puck in the net to make it 6-2.

At the end of the third, the Lightning still trailed in shots but led comfortably in expected goals.

Wrap-Up

In many ways, this game harkened back to last season. The Lightning were just ok at 5v5 but dominant on special teams. Their power play turned a close game into a blowout. At some point, it would be nice to see them put together a stretch of games where they show they can control the game at 5v5 but for now, putting six goals on a bad team is a step in the right direction.

The team will be back in action on Monday against the Sabres.