The Tampa Bay Lightning beat their Central Division foe in Chicago by a score of 4-2. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves in the win, his 10th straight victory of the year. Alex Killorn, Yanni, Gourde, Ross Colton, and Victor Hedman (ENG) all scored in the win. Fun fact, Vasilevskiy earned his second assist of the season on Gourde’s power play goal set up by Mikhail Sergachev.
The Lightning did not come out looking that great, with Chicago really giving it their all in the early goings and scoring first as a result. After finding the lead and keeping it tied after two periods, the Lightning came out with a great third period, which they rode to two points. Chicago scored both their goals on the power play, they were 2/4 in the game.
Brayden Point led the way with six shots, including five scoring chances, while Hedman once again played 25 minutes of dominant hockey paired with Jan Rutta. The pairing of Sergachev and Cal Foote did not have a great night as they got swamped in shot share, but Coach Cooper made the most of Sergachev away from Foote, playing him with Hedman offensively and allowing him to create the power play goal in the first.
The Hawks scored with the first couple minutes of the game on an early power play with Barclay Goodrow in the box for “unsportsmanlike conduct.” The Lightning had a chance to clear the puck on the power play but couldn’t get it up the half wall. This left three players high in the zone, Sergachev alone to cover the entire slot, including the winger at the left circle. As a result, Mattias Janmark was left wide open and got two tries at the puck before beating Vasilevskiy.
After Chicago scored early, it took a good portion of the period before Killorn tied the game on this goal. The Chicago defenders got caught drifting too high into the half wall, leaving Killorn all alone behind the net with enough time and space to get off a wraparound shot without being contested. The puck somehow found its way through as Kevin Lankinen tried to poke check the puck.
Vasilevskiy got the assist on this goal from Gourde after Sergachev picked up the puck from him and slinked his way through the neutral zone before finding Gourde with a head of speed through the middle. Gourde was persistent on the puck and fought through sticks before tapping away his ninth goal of the season.
This goal from Strome on the power play was the best chance the Lightning gave up in this game as he walked across the blue paint and shoved the puck into the back of the net. I didn’t like how the Lightning defenders, McDonagh and Cernak, stood there while Vasilevskiy was sprawling, they needed to do more to cover Strome’s stick or body.
After being 0/2 on the penalty kill in the first period, the Lightning had two chances in the second period to kill off penalties and they succeeded on both of them. They limited Chicago to four shots total, one on net, and nothing from a scoring chance area. This was a big change from the first when the Hawks were all over the slot and the Lightning didn’t have enough urgency to stop them. The Lightning had a power play in the second, but didn’t get much in terms of chances beyond a few half-chances from Stamkos.
Ross Colton scored his second goal of his career after Mathieu Joseph found him through the defense for a breakaway. Moving right, then back left he was able to beat Kevin Lankinen, sliding the puck past his pad. The fourth line didn’t have a great game in terms of controlling the puck, but they worked hard and made the most of this chance with a connection of skill that the Lightning always aim to bring with their bottom six.
Hedman scored the empty net goal after winning a race to the loose puck and accurately whipping it into the back of the net.
The two teams play each other again on Saturday. A matinee in Tampa starting at 4pm. Once again, fans are allowed in the building.