The Florida Panthers would give the Tampa Bay Lightning all they could handle and leave with a 5-4 comeback victory. One that surely will leave a sour taste in the Lightning’s mouth after a thrilling opening season win just 24 hours prior.
It was a busy day at the office for Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy who turned away 43 out of 48 shots. Vasilevskiy looked unstoppable until the third period, executing several eye-bulging saves throughout the night.
One other player that stood out to me would have to be rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who displayed sound discipline as he stood up for himself in a few scrums. Not only that, but Sergachev frequently jumped into the play and was not hesitant to shoot the puck on net.
Lightning struck early as Tampa Bay scored on their first two shots of the game. Despite the quick start, they would be outshot 24-8 by the end of the first period.
The Russian sniper known as Nikita Kucherov initiated the scoring magic. Bolts’ captain Steven Stamkos’ shot rang off the crossbar and the biscuit found itself in Kucherov’s path. It found the back of the net at 3:30 of the first to put Tampa Bay on top 1-0.
Just over a minute later, fellow linemate Vladislav Namestnikov, made it 2-0 on the power play. Being in the right place at the right time (the front of the net) enabled Namestnikov an easy tap-in tally.
It was around this time that the Florida players decided that they would throw anything they could on net and they did. Vasilevskiy was tested early and often, having to deter 23 out of 24 shots.
Down by two early in the first, Florida showed that they would not turn over. They climbed their way back into the game with a plethora of shots, timely goals, and a constant attack in Tampa Bay’s defensive zone.
Florida began righting the ship at 12:18 in the first when they went on the power play. Florida forward Evgenii Dadonov was rewarded with a goal due to the efforts of his linemates on the man advantage.
They evoked chaos in front of Vasilevskiy, and Dadonov was able to set up a few feet in front of the net and fire off a rebound making the game 2-1.
The Panthers would eventually tie the game at two apiece 1:46 into the second. Fresh off an offensive rush from the Lightning, Florida forward Nick Bjugstad, was able to find room behind the Tampa Bay defense due to a poor line change, scoring the tying goal off a rush.
Back on track, the Cats did not seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Tampa Bay would take the lead once again a little over halfway through the second as Brayden Point capitalized on his own breakaway to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead.
However, this would not take the wind of out Florida’s sails. Their constant attack would eventually break the Lightning’s defense and create a third period of nightmares. In a flurry, Florida’s Colton Sceviour, Jared McCann, and Vincent Trocheck each found the twine and, in the blink of an eye, the Panthers led 5-3.
The Lightning would make it interesting after a Tyler Johnson goal, but in the end, it would be too little too late as Florida won 5-4.
When asked on how he felt about his team giving up 8 goals in two games, captain Steven Stamkos replied, “It’s concerning. You can’t win in this league giving up that many. And it’s not on the goaltender.”
Next on the docket for the Lightning with be the Washington Capitals on Monday night at Amalie Arena. Puck drop will be at 7:30PM.
My Three Stars of the Game
- Vincent Trocheck, GWG
- Nick Bjugstad, goal & assist
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, 43 saves on 48 shots