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Edmonton McDavid’s bend, but don’t break Lightning

Corey Perry finally nets career goal number 400 in the Lightning’s 5-3 win

Edmonton Oilers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Nikita Kucherov’s empty net goal sealed the game in the third period for the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they defeated the turned around Edmonton Oilers 5-3 Wednesday evening.

Patrick Maroon and Kucherov supplied a goal and assist each as Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point added goals for Tampa Bay (33-11-6). Connor McDavid led with two goals for Edmonton (28-19-3). As his linemate, Zack Hyman put up a goal and an assist, while Leon Draisaitl had three helpers for the away team. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves for the Lightning, while old friend Mike Smith stopped 18 for the Oilers.

First Period

Maroon got the Lightning on the board with some assistance from new father Devin Shore of the Oilers. Anthony Cirelli dazzled with some nifty dekes in the neutral zone passed the puck to the Big Rig who greased a strong shot on net but got knocked in off of Shore.

Midframe, Oilers forward Warren Foegele went down on the ice awkwardly in the corner of the offensive end, and slowly got to the bench on his own.

A screened Vasilevskiy courtesy of Zack Hyman’s frame, and a well-placed shot by Connor Mcdavid over the right pad of Andrei, tied the game late in the initial period on the powerplay, one a piece.

The Lightning struck right back to close out the period. The Bolts Captain spun away from defender William Lagesson to wrist a quick snipe by a right-leaning Smith.

Second Period

Midway through the second period Lightning coach Jon Cooper started mixing up the lines to charge up the team.

Moves:

Anthony Cirelli moved back to wing with Stamkos and Alex Killorn

Ross Colton moved to center with Mathieu Joseph and Taylor Raddysh.

Brayden Point scored on a delayed man-advantage rebound opportunity for Lightning to take a 3-1 lead. Leon Draisaitl was not thrilled about a non-call earlier in the shift, and committed his own infraction which took himself out of the play for the Bolts to capitalize.

After two shorthanded opportunities for the Oilers (courtesy of Ryan Nugent Hopkins pressure) were stopped by the Lightning goaltender, Tampa Bay settled down with the 5 on 4 chance.

Sergachev found himself with the puck at the face-off circle and fired it off Corey Perry’s stick next to Smith for the Bolts to take a 4-1 lead. For Perry it was his 400th career goal in the NHL.

“It’s exciting. I have to give a lot of credit to the players I’ve played with in the past and the guys here” said Perry about his achievement, “I never thought growing up that I would hit 400 goals in the NHL.”

Hyman would continue to be a factor, after accepting a sweet breakaway pass behind the Lightning defense from Draisaitl. The $5.5 million dollar man would go backhand around the Conn Smythe goaltender to cut the lead in half 4-2.

Third Period

The Oilers were on the board first in the period when McDavid delayed his release till Vasilevskiy gave him enough room on the left side to strike for his second of the night to put the Oilers only down by one, 4-3.

New Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft has been quick to get his players geared up, in this instance he put his two biggest horses (Leon and Connor) to connect on that shift.

Cirelli had the best opportunity to put the game away in the slot after a Stammer set up, but missed the net. With a ton of traffic and action as the Oilers pressed to tie the game, a scramble ensued with Point and Kailer Yamamoto in headlocks next to the home net.

Mike Smith was taken out for the extra man, but Kucherov sealed the deal into an empty net for the 5-3 win.

Bojarinov’s Stars and Rocks:

Stars: Patrick Maroon, Mikhail Sergachev, Steven Stamkos

Rocks: Ross Colton, Cal Foote, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Notes:

  • Edmonton hasn’t won in Tampa since December 2009, and Mike Smith was the losing goaltender. Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos were in the lineup for the Lightning.
  • Corey Perry scored his 400th career NHL goal, among the 9th highest active players, the 103rd player in NHL history to reach the 400-goal plateau.
  • Ryan Nugent Hopkins played in his 700th NHL game.
  • The first game between the Lightning and the Oilers this season and first game since the 2019-20 regular season.
  • Phil Esposito’s 80th Birthday, who is in the booth tonight.

Going into the match, last 10 games:

Oilers : 6-3-1 Streak: L 1

Lightning 7-2-1 Streak: W 2