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Lightning beat Panthers 4-1 behind strong performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy

The Big Cat stopped 24 of 25 shots to pick up the win

Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images

Brayden Point snapped a 1-1 tie with a goal earlier in the third period as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-1. The Bolts stymied the high-octane Florida offense by allowing just 25 shots with Andrei Vasilevskiy stopping 24 of them. Technically, the only puck that got behind him wasn’t even off of a Panthers’ stick as it was a goal that came off of Mikhail Sergachev’s shinpads.

Pat Maroon (!), Sergachev, and Steven Stamkos had the other goals for the Lightning while Zac Dalpe was credited with the deflected goal for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky was strong over the first two periods, turning aside 27 of 28 shots over the first 40 minutes. He finished with 34 saves on 38 shots.

Let’s go with a running commentary recap tonight!

First Period

Zach Bogosian is out of the line-up for the second straight game and Coach Cooper has returned to the original lines that we saw when Anthony Cirelli returned to action.

17:27 We finally get a whistle as Eric Staal is off for tripping. That was a fun start to the game as each team had copious opportunities that resulted in 5 total shots on net.

16:30 The first unit comes onto the ice after the second unit has some zone time, but no shots on goal.

15:54 After Victor Hedman breaks up a shorthanded chance by Sam Bennett, Point fires a shot into the crest of Sergei Bobrovsky. It’s the first real solid chance for the Lightning today.

15:35 Nikita Kucherov splits the defense but isn’t able to finish it off. So a couple of good looks, but no goals for the league’s third-ranked power play offense.

13:49. Are we having fun yet? The first TV timeout is upon us as Vasilevskiy calmly slides post-to-post to stop Marc Staal. So far the teams have combined for 16 shot attempts (10 by Florida) and 7 high-danger chances (6 by Florida). Vasy has been busy early.

11:20 “THE BIG RIG IS ON THE BOARD”. You said it Dave Randorff. Finally. Maroon sneaks it into the far corner on a feed from Anthony Cirelli from behind the net as he snaps his season-long goalless streak. Nice play by that line as they work it down behind the net, maintain possession, and Cirelli waits for Maroon to get into a good shooting spot before feeding him the puck. Not only was it the first goal of the season for Maroon, it was the first assist for Cal Foote of the season.

Pat Maroon (Anthony Cirelli, Cal Foote) 1-0 Lightning

9:09 Nick Perbix’s shot is stopped by Bobrovsky’s noggin as the goalie headbutts it into the stands. Since the goal it’s been pretty much all Florida as the top line for the Bolts is pinned back in their own zone for the second time tonight.

7:08 That top line gets a face-off in the offensive zone and zips around creating chances, but no goal. Shots are now 10-8 Lightning after Florida had the early lead.

5:56 Ross Colton draws a slashing penalty from Ryan Lomberg as he breaks in on a two-on-one. This line (with Cirelli and Maroon) has been really noticeable when they’ve been on the ice together. This may be the line that helps take pressure off of the top six.

5:53 Well, that was a quick power play. Sadly, not because they scored off of the face-off, but because Brandon Hagel tripped Aaron Ekblad. Four on four time!

5:24 The power play is back on! Ekblad is whistled for hooking on Stamkos. Four on three time!

4:12 From a tough angle Stamkos’ shot is swallowed up by Bob. Not sure how there wasn’t a rebound on that shot that sounded like it went off the pad. Bobrovsky will make a couple of more saves right after on Stammer and Nick Paul.

03.5 Aaron Ekblad slips behind the Lightning defense and has a chance alone on Vasliveskiy. The netminder gets just enough of it to direct it wide and the period ends before the Panthers can capitalize on the pressure. Whew, what a first period.

At even strength the shot attempts were tied, and the Lightning were down in scoring chances (14-11) and high-danger chances (9-4). However, most of those HDC for the Panthers came in the first 8 minutes of the game. Lightning used the momentum of the power plays to take over the game as the period went continued. Factoring in the special teams play the Lightning take over the shot attempts (29-20) and scoring chances (17-14) while evening up high-danger chances (9-9). Gotta be good in all facets of the game in order to beat the Panthers.

Second Period

19:02 Stamkos is off the ice for a tripping call, but right before the call he made a really nice move to pick up a glove he had lost earlier in the play. So skillful.

17:55 The first minute of the Panthers’ power play was spent mostly in the Florida zone and neutral zone as Brandon Hagel and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare created a turnover as did Alex Killorn and Cirelli.

16:27 Stamkos is out of the box and sees a slapshot denied by Bobrovsky, who has been really sharp despite allowing the one goal (he’s up to 22 saves). Nick Paul heads to the box for a high stick. Panthers with basically back-to-back power plays.

14:06 The Lightning have killed off the penalty despite having Hagel out there for an extended shift and Cal Foote without a stick for the last 15 seconds or so.

13:58 The Panthers tie it up on a lucky bounce as Zac Dalpe throws a puck across the crease that bounces off of Mikhail Sergachev and into the net right before Vasilevskiy can cover the far post. Sergy was doing the right thing in closing off the far side, but isn’t rewarded.

Zac Dalpe (Josh Mahura, Eric Staal) 1-1

11:49 Coach Cooper shakes his head a bit in disagreement as Ross Colton gets his stick between the legs of Eetu Luostarinen and trips him up. That’s three straight calls against the Bolts (all earned, by the way). The good news is, the Panthers only have one shot on the previous two.

10:41 PING! Matty Tkachuk off the post.

10:12 Sam Reinhart is stoned by the quickness of the Big Cat. It was a one-timer off of a bump pass and Vasy got the leg out just in time. Something, something, goaltender best penalty killer.

9:06 As I momentarily get distracted by the first images from Joker 2, Kucherov makes a nice little play along the boards to free up a chance. It didn’t lead to anything, but it’s a reminder at how good he is at emerging from the boards with the puck when he’s under pressure.

5:43 There is Kucherov again getting the puck off the boards where he sets up Point for a wicked one-timer that Bobrovsky stops. One of the longer stretches in the game without a lot of action. Turnovers are dwindling away and the defenses are tightening up.

2:39 The Bolts ice it and the Panthers will have a face-off in the Lightning zone. Both teams have locked things down a bit with a lot of the game being played along the edges. When the pucks have gotten through, both goaltenders have been really, really good.

1:40 Well, that was one of those ugly plays. Sergachev fans on a passing attempt. Lomberg pounces on it and Sergy has to take him down to prevent a prime scoring chance. It’s the fourth power play of the period for the Panthers.

0:17 Panthers ice it on the power play, they are really struggling to get anything going with the extra skater.

The Panthers tied it up in the second, but overall it was actually a pretty good defensive period for the Bolts. Florida had 13 shot attempts at 5v5, but 6 were blocked and 4 more went wide so only 3 shots ended up on Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay was shorthanded for 7:39 of the period and allowed just 3 shots, heck, they only allowed 10 shot attempts. While it disrupted their lines a bit (in the period Point only had 3:12 of ice time, Kucherov just 3:16, and Stamkos 4:07), the kill itself was really strong. Look at how they’ve kept most of the pressure away from Vasilevskiy while shorthanded:

Natural Stat Trick

Third Period

20:00 Lightning start the period on the PK and I start on beer number two (Denver Beer Company Graham Cracker Porter - delightful). Expected goals through two periods - Tampa 2.34, Florida 2.94. We’re officially in a goalie duel.

19:03 Boos rain down in Amalie Arena as Vlad Namestnikov is taken down in the offensive zone without a call from the officials. So much for the refs evening things up after a streak of power plays for the Panthers.

17:32 Namestnikov goes down again and then it looks like he takes a stick off the dome while he’s sliding on the ice. Not a great first couple of shifts.

16:57 BRAYDEN POINT IS NOT TO BE DENIED! Kucherov loops out from behind the net and feeds it to Point who has position on Bennett. He slides it inside the near post for his 14th goal of the season.

Brayden Point (Nikita Kucherov, Brandon Hagel) 2-1 Lightning

14:14 Vasilevskiy blockers away a shot from Aleksander Barkov. What sounds better a save off the blocker or off of the pads?

Poll

What kind of save sounds better?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Blocker save
    (21 votes)
  • 40%
    Save off of the pads
    (14 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now

13:29 We have a goal horn and chaos! Ekblad, Bellemare and Bobrovsky get tangled up in the crease. Bob’s stick is under Bellemare and he can’t get up before Sergachev fires the puck into the net. It’s called a goal on the ice, but Florida challenges immediately. We’re going to the replay as Sweet Caroline plays on.

They determine that the “Florida player tripped his own goalie” BAH BAH BAH!

Mikhail Sergachev (Cal Foote, Vlad Namestnikov) 3-1 Lightning

Oh, and the Lightning are on the power play due to the failed challenge.

11:24 Bobrovsky stops a one-timer from Stamkos. Even when it doesn’t go in, it’s so much fun to watch. Kucherov fires one off the goalie and the post as the penalty winds down. A couple of good chances, but no goal.

8:19 Hagel is credited with a blocked shot. It’s the 18th blocked shot of the game for the Lightning according to the NHL statkeepers. Florida only has 18 shots on net at this point.

4:21 Florida has been pushing a bit over the last few minutes, but the Lightning defense has been staunch and Vasilevskiy has cleaned up anything that has gotten through. The early saves he made in this game, and the one he made in the second against Reinhart in the second are looming large. Natural Stat Trick has the Panthers at 3.36 xGF.

3:15 GOAL 496 FOR STAMMER. Chances are Paul Maurice was thinking about pulling Bobrovsky for the extra skater, but the Lightning didn’t give him a chance as Florida was prevented from maintaining possession. Not only that, they turned it over and it led to a two-on-zero for Alex Killorn and Stamkos. Killorn made the smart play to give it to The Captain who stickhandled it around the goaltender. Forehand, backhand, forehand, goal

Steven Stamkos (Alex Killorn, Nick Paul) 4-1 Lightning

0:00 The final horn sounds and the Lightning are 4-1 winners. That is as solid of a win as we’ve seen all season long. Outside of the opening few minutes where Florida came out with a jump in their stride, the Lightning controlled all three aspects of the game (offense, defense, special teams).

Even with Florida down and pressing in the final period, the Lightning only allowed 10 shots on goal and 3 high-danger chances (while posting 6 HDC of their own). Vasilevskiy was outstanding in net, making key saves throughout the game and they basically picked up goals from all four lines (Sergachev’s came with the fourth line on the ice).

Absolutely solid win for the Lightning. They’ll look to extend their winning streak to three games on Tuesday when they host the Seattle Kraken.