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Lightning Blow Late Lead, Rebound For 2-1 OT Victory

Late in the third period of Friday night’s game in Raleigh, the Tampa Bay Lightning were desperately trying to kill off a four-minute power play when their 1-0 lead slipped away.  It didn’t take long for Ondrej Palat to come to the rescue.

Palat scooped up a loose puck and found himself on a breakaway, where he scored 1:38 into overtime to give the Lightning a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.  Palat also tallied an assist in his first action of the preseason, while Tyler Johnson scored the other goal for the Lightning.  Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 28 shots, with Carolina’s Jeff Skinner tallying the Canes’ lone goal on a 6-on-4 advantage with 1:05 left in the third period.  Vasilevskiy was sensational in the third, making 15 saves before Skinner’s tally, which ended the Lightning’s streak of 16 straight opposing power plays killed off.  Carolina finished 1-for-6 with the man-advantage, while Tampa Bay ended up 0-for-1.

In the opening period, the two teams combined for only seven shots on goal, but the Bolts made one of them count, as Johnson scored his first goal of the preseason at the 5:21 mark to put the Lightning up 1-0.  Nikita Nesterov hit Palat with a breakout pass, and he ended the rush by finding Johnson in the right circle.  Johnson beat Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack top shelf for the goal.  Lack would play the first two periods and ended up stopping 11 of 12 shots.

The second period would play out much the same way as the first, as Carolina had the early edge in offensive zone time, followed by the Lightning tilting the ice back in their favor in the middle portion of the period, and ending with the Canes making a late push in the final minutes.  Gabriel Dumont and Brayden Point had excellent looks at the Carolina net, but were unable to take advantage.  In the final minute of the period, the Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal rang a shot off the crossbar.

At the start of the third period, Carolina took out Lack and put in Michael Leighton between the pipes, but the majority of the action took place in Tampa Bay’s zone.  The Hurricanes had a lot of jump early in the period, as Skinner was denied by Vasilevskiy on a huge save off a one-timer from the slot.  Carolina’s puck possession led to the Lightning taking more penalties as the Canes had four power plays in the third period, which helped contribute to the Bolts having one shot on goal through the first 13 minutes of the period.  With 2:48 left, Point took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking, which led to Carolina pulling Leighton for a 6-on-4 advantage.  Following a rebound off a shot that was stopped by Vasilevskiy, the puck bounced to Skinner at the back post, where he buried a rebound on a backhander to tie the game 1-1.

In overtime, the Lightning still had to kill off a 4-on-3 power play and were successful in doing so.  Teuvo Teravainen had a chance to end it, but his shot was turned aside by Vasilevskiy.  Carolina’s Victor Rask would then make a costly mistake, as his errant centering pass bounced off the boards and was scooped up by Palat.  Palat would go coast-to-coast before beating Leighton for the unassisted game-winning goal.

The Lightning will return to the ice Saturday night when the travel to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for a preseason contest with the Predators.  Puck drops at 8 pm.

THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1st Star:  Ondrej Palat – Tallied the game-winning goal in overtime and had the primary assist on Tyler Johnson’s first period goal.

2nd Star:  Tyler Johnson – Opened the scoring with his first goal of the preseason.

3rd Star:  Andrei Vasilevskiy – Stopped 27 of 28 shots, including 15 saves in the third period.

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