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Recap: Bolts close home stand with 5-4 win over Canucks, but not 500 goals for Stamkos

The Captain is one away as the Bolts head on a five game road trip.

Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 12: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at Amalie Arena on January 12, 2023 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning made up ground on their divisional rivals with a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks at home. The Bruins lost in regulation at home for the first time this season, and Toronto lost to Detroit on the road. The Bolts are now six points back of Toronto with two games in hand as they head on a week-long road trip to the northwest.

Steven Stamkos scored goal #499 in the win, with the team and fans urging him onto #500 throughout most of the third period. Stamkos, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov each had a goal and an assist in the win that got a little close at the end. The Lightning were actually up 5-2 late in the third, but allowed two goals late, one with the net empty, to bring them dangerously close. The Lightning were playing with fire trying to get Stamkos an empty netter for #500, but it nearly cost them the win.

Corey Perry, Brayden Point also scored for the Bolts. Nick Perbix finished with two assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 40 in the win. Garland, Miller, Hughes, and Pettersson scored for the Canucks. Collin Delia allowed five on 35 shots in a loss where he impressed at times.

The Lightning struggled in their own zone a bit against the Canucks forecheck, but at the same time the Canucks struggled to win battles against the Lightning in the neutral zone. This led some very choppy play throughout the game, but nevertheless plenty of scoring.

On the whole, the Lightning got the better of the chances in this game while shot attempts were tied at 62 each. Expected goals were approx. 4-3 in favour of the Lightning.

First Period

0-1

Vancouver opened the scoring with Conor Garland on the rebound alongside Bo Horvat from the Luke Schenn point shot.

Lane Pederson and PE Bellemare had a fight in the middle of the period, Bellemare got 17 minutes in penalties (two for instigating, five for fighting, and 10 for misconduct) and wasn’t allowed to return until the middle of the second. This all came from Pederson boarding Namestnikov into the lip of the wall. Pederson didn’t get anything more than five minutes for fighting. Schenn got a minor for holding Bellemare so there was no power play for either team.

1-1

Corey Perry responded later in the period, deflecting a high point shot from Sergachev around Collin Delia and into the back of the net. The goal was Perry’s sixth of the season, with Ross Colton getting the secondary assist.

After One

A less-than-good period for the Lightning, who got out-shot by the Canucks 16-24, and especially gave up lots of rebounds in front of the net. You could say they were classically slow to react in their own zone and weren’t prepared for the forechecking of the Canucks.

Second Period

2-1

2-2

Miller cherry-picking behind the defense got a breakaway on the power play for the Canucks — a time in the game where the Lightning should’ve been on the power play for the missed hook.

3-2

KUCH! Point started the play with a hard rush to the net before finding Kucherov trailing behind. Kuch took the shot and buried his own rebound to give the Lightning the lead once again. Stamkos got an assist as he took a whack at the Kucherov shot before the winger found the second rebound. Imagine if Stammer had buried that...

4-2

BAGEL!!! A won faceoff by Cirelli, a beautiful chip ahead into the offensive zone by Perbix, an EXCELLENT power move by Killorn to retrieve the puck, and a top class finish by Hagel gave the Lightning some breathing room late in the second period. I loved so many parts of this goal, from Perbix’s back-spinning puck to Killorn’s fighting through two bodies.

After Two

A better period for the Lightning, mostly because of the scoreline. The Bolts led in shots at 5v5 18-13. The Lightning should’ve gotten a few power plays in the period, but they didn’t get any from the referees.

Third Period

#499 (5-2)

STAMMER! Schenn and Myers each took penalties within 30 seconds of each other and the Lightning took advantage of the 5v3. The puck cycled around the perimeter until it got to Stamkos’ stick, before leaving his stick in a split second, just barely beating the blocker of Delia.

Stammer wanted #500 on the continuing 5v4 power play, but his slapshot was stopped. In the game that’s essentially over, the Bolts had no problem feeding Stamkos several times on the power play, but Delia made some huge saves. The Lightning are going on a long road trip, and the home fans deserve to see him make history, so I have no problems feeding Stammer for the rest of the game.

5-3

Quinn Hughes brought the Canucks closer with a long range shot before the goalie left the net.

Stamkos got out on the ice as the Canucks pulled their goalie. As the Lightning tried to get the puck to Stamkos, the Canucks defenders stood downrange and blocked the long range shot. The Lightning really wanted Stamkos to be the one to score and the Canucks were happy to take advantage of their priorities.

5-4

The Lightning missed their opportunity and Pettersson made it count, bringing the game back down to a one-goal lead.

Killorn got called for tripping on the faceoff directly after the goal, making the win even less in the bag. Vasy made a last minute stop to end the game, but sadly no history for Stamkos. The Lightning now head out on a five-game road trip to northwest USA and western Canada.