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Recap: Lightning spark line brawl and late comeback, but fall short against Golden Knights

The Tampa Bay Lightning fell 4-3 to Jonathan Quick and the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime despite a third period comeback by the Bolts. Brayden Point scored twice, with his linemate Nikita Kucherov scoring another as the dynamic duo scored in the final three minutes of the game to send it to overtime. Both players ended with three-point nights on 10 combined shots on goal (15 total shots). Point scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season, while Kucherov sits at 68 assists and 94 points after tonight.

Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t have to face many shots, stopping 17 of 21 in the OTL. Quick on the other hand was kept very busy by the Lightning, who peppered him with 37 shots, three of which went in. Keegan Kolesar, William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, and Alec Martinez scored for the Knights, with Martinez scoring the overtime winner. The Lightning allowed a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the loss.

The reality of the game was that for relatively long stretches, the two teams played each other to evens. On one side, the Golden Knights were able to capitalize on special teams, scoring twice on only two power plays while the Lightning had five.

On the other side, the Lightning had bursts of dominant play where they got lots of shots on their opponent. That was the difference in shot share, but the Bolts would’ve needed their chances to be more consistent and frequent if that sort of volume was going to pan out. In the end, they got their offense from the top line in crunch time.

I had talked about the Lightning during their slump that they were drifting farther and farther from the front of the opponent’s net. That has confidently been turned back in the right direction with the last two performances.

First Period

0-1

Keegan Kolesar scored within the first 30 seconds of the game. Bogosian went for a risky pinch at the board that put him way out of position, no one was available to circle back, leaving Teddy Blueger with all the space in the world to freeze the defender and goalie and find Kolesar at the back door.

1-1

Brayden Point responded shortly after with his 40th goal of the season all within the first five minutes of the game. The duo were paired up with Steven Stamkos in this game and it was Quick in net who couldn’t control a relatively surprising shot from the point by Kucherov that gave Point an open chance at the side of the net.

After One

The shots were slightly in the Lightning’s favor (14-12), but what really stood out were the location of chances — right in front of the net. Big improvement there.

Second Period

No goals in this period, but Tanner Jeannot and Brayden McNabb got into a row. This was important to the game as tensions flared up and broke in several places at the end of the second and all through the third. Saying players were told to sit is an understatement.

To get a full picture of this first incident, I’ll turn it to Chris Krenn and Gabby Shirley for the context.

After Two

Right at the end of the second, Kucherov was dangling to the middle as the buzzer blew. The Golden Knights defender tripped him for doing so and Stamkos went straight for Pietrangelo. Stamkos ended up getting two-minutes for cross-checking to start the third.

Third Period

1-2

Karlsson gave the Knights the lead back with a breakaway goal. Sergachev got really unlucky as the puck bounced over his stick as he was trying to collect it at the blue line. This wasn’t as bad as a similar gaffe last week by Sergy because he was close enough to the puck to try and get it, and he did his best to be on the body and try disrupting the play. Unfortunately, it ended up being a shorthanded goal.

1-3

Chandler tipped Theodore’s shot from the point for a power play goal. Oddly the least interesting goal of the game. Tipped goals happen, the Lightning weren’t especially in the wrong place anywhere.

Perry, Maroon, Bogosian, and Essyimont all on the ice at once with Nic Hague whose mouth is somehow bigger than his 6’6” frame and a line brawl ensues when bodies come crashing into the boards and an errand stick finds a face.

I’ll be honest, I think the Lightning started this, but I don’t think they’re especially upset they did. They were down two goals and were looking for a fight. I doubt they anticipated it would escalate so quickly into a line brawl, but here we are. Whole clip is below for you to form your own opinions!

In total, 21 penalties were dished out to the 10 skaters on the ice. Minor penalties (roughing or cross-checking) for all of them and 10-minute misconducts to all involved.

The extra penalty went to Maroon for the high stick, which, sure? I have thoughts on this. I get giving the extra penalty to the Lightning as they were relatively more the aggressors than the Golden Knights. But for the inadvertent high stick? It didn’t look intentional at all. I doubt it would’ve raised an eyebrow if the refs just called it two for roughing or something much more face-punchy related.

In the end, the Lightning killed off the penalty, pulled the goalie, and got the two goals they needed:

2-3

With the net empty, Kuch gets part one of their two-part job done early! One timer, through traffic, off the post and in. Excellence. Sergachev and Point on the faceoff got the assists. It was a very clean faceoff win by Point that allowed this play to happen.

3-3

And then after drawing a power play with less than a minute to go, Kucherov made one pass too many, oh wait, it was absolutely perfect as Point one-timed the shot from the slot into a wide open net. Tie game with less than 30 seconds to go.

Overtime

3-4

Martinez scored his second goal of the season after Eichel’s shot from the top of the slot just barely squeaked under Vasilevskiy. There was a dive for the puck ala baseball, but it was Martinez who got there first. Exciting goal, but a crusher for the Lightning.

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