In the last game at Amalie before the All-Star game, the Tampa Bay Lightning welcomed in the Vegas Golden Knights for their only Tampa appearance during the regular season. These two teams could face off much later in the season…
The Tampa Bay Lightning came into this game looking for a measure of revenge following their loss to the Vegas Golden Knights back in December. No one could have predicted at this point of the season the Lightning and the expansion Golden Knights would be the top two teams in the NHL.
Former All-Stars drop the puck
Prior to the game the Tampa Bay Lightning held a ceremonial puck drop, as for the men dropping the puck? Four former Lightning greats and former all-stars participated in the pre-game celebration. Fredrick Modin, Pavel Kubina, Dino Cicerelli and first ever all-star Brian Bradley we those men. They dropped the puck for a couple of current all-stars. Lightning and Atlantic Division Captain Steven Stamkos as well as the Vegas Golden Knights only all-star James Neal.
Picking up where they left off
Vegas didn’t wait long to get the lamp flashing. 56 seconds into the first period, James Neal redirected a shot from the point and got it past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Back on December 19th, the Golden Knights beat the Lightning after scoring the winning goal with 2.3 seconds left in the game. Later in the 1st period Nate Schmidt would send a slap shot over the shoulder of Vasilevskiy for a 2-0 Vegas lead late in the first.
I Like it I Like it Palat…
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 19, 2018
Ondrej Palat hasn’t had the best of luck lately in the scoring department. While he has seemed a little snake bitten when it comes to putting pucks in the net, his all around play has be the superb play Lightning fans have been accustomed to. At 10:18 of the second period, while on the power play he would get back in the scoring column. With the Bolts buzzing in the Golden Knights zone, Palat would get a pass from Nikita Kucherov and Stamkos to cut Vegas’ lead to one goal. The Golden Knights would get their two goal lead back late in the 2nd period courtesy of David Perron. As both teams headed to the locker room the expansion team would hold a 3-1 lead.
They may miss Hedman more than they thought
The Lightning never truly got into this game tonight. They never truly seemed comfortable at all on the ice. The Bolts recently lost All-Star defensman Victor Hedman, and everyone knew they would struggle without him. No one knew exactly how much they would through. One thing that was transparent tonight was the passing out of their zone. Hedman was so good and precise and you could see it hurt the team without him. Pass went wide high or not even close at times.
Golden Knights have the Lightning’s number
While both teams are the tops of their respective conferences for the time being, Vegas seems to know exactly how to beat the Lightning. For the second time in this game the Golden Knights scored in the first minute of a period. William Karlsson would put Vegas ahead 4-1 early in the 3rd period. While the game in Vegas was won at the last minute, it seemed Gerard Gallant knows the Lightning’s achilles heal and how to exploit it. The Game would end 4-1 and the Lightning in the midst of a rare losing streak.
Next Up: The Lightning head to Minnesota on Saturday to face the Wild in the beginning of what could have been a long road trip, had it not been for All-Star weekend.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star – Marc-Andre Fleury: Stopped the Lightning from truly getting into the game.
2nd Star – James Neal: Scored the game opening goal, 56 secs into the 1st period.
3rd Star – Deryk Engelland: Notched two assists (The first goal and the last goal)
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