Lightning had an auspicious performance versus the Panthers in the exhibition game last week and some of the momentum carried over to their Red Robin game against the Capitals. The Bolts are a skilled unit and Cooper is a logistical coach, which is combination that takes Tampa far. Where the Lightning get shaken up is against physical teams like Washington and this match up was nothing short of physical, but the Bolts came to play.
Tampa hit the ice controlling most of the 1st period, displaying strong neutral zone play and the top line was at it again. Point had game, skating with speed and precision, applying plenty pressure to the Caps. With roughly 7 minutes left in the 1st period, Washington lost control of their offensive progression up the ice and Point took full advantage of it, charging after the puck, getting a pass off to Kucherov to do what he does best, using his unique puck handling skills to seal and unstoppable goal on Holtby.
Blake Coleman answered a few questions during the 1st intermission and mentioned that Point and Kucherov were leading the charge in the 1st period and the team needed to follow their lead. Coleman and Goodrow are working well on the 3rd line and beginning to build some chemistry. Goodrow had a decent amount of ice time and made his presence known in some keys plays. But the 2nd period performance goes to the Capitals. Although Bolts, Stephens scored first about 8 minutes into the period. The Caps upped the physicality to make a comeback with 2:36 left in the 2nd, Panik finished off a goal the slide between Vasy’s pads making the game 2-1. Then with just 27.1 seconds left in the period, Lefty shooter, Evgeny Kuznetsov tied up the game.
3rd period went 0-0 in goals, but the guys battled it out trying to avoid overtime. New addition to the Lightning, Zach Bogosian played a good game and was a strong body on the ice for the Bolts, surely, we’ll see more of him through playoffs. As the clock winded down, overtime in the red robin games apply the regular season overtime rules. 3 v 3 had no success, so off to shootouts the teams went, after two big saves from Vasy with a .917 save percentage and a goal from Kucherov and Point, Tampa took a 3-2 victory.
The Bolts with take on Boston, Wednesday at 4pm and if they manage the Bruins the way they did they Capitals, they could be starring down another win.