Lightning turn up the effort and finally get some puck luck.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the victory. His situational saves were the difference in the contest, and arguably are the one big advantage the Lightning have over Carolina with Tampa Bay down Kucherov and Cirelli.
13:27 CAR Fast (1), (Necas, Bean)
2:26 TB Stamkos (9), (Hedman, Palat)(PP)
7:12 TB Hedman (4), (Sergachev, Stamkos)
19:15 CAR Fast (2), (Pesce, Hamilton)(PP)
8:04 TB Palat (7), (Rutta, Point)
19:20 TB Killorn (3), (Cernak)(EN)
Victor Hedman and Vasilevskiy were the game’s first and third stars.
After a couple of weeks where the team didn’t seem to get many bounces offensively, I think they finally worked themselves into some good puck luck tonight on Palat’s game winner. They came out and played arguably one of their best periods of the season in the First Period only to fall behind 1-0 on some bad puck luck but to their credit they stuck with the program and eventually grinded out a win. Just as the sky wasn’t really falling after the last game, though, there’s still room for improvement after this one. The line shuffling by the coaching staff, for the most part, worked well and I’d expect to see those lines again in the coming two games, but there’s a cautionary tale in how the team got outshot in the last 40 minutes. The effort level and the commitment to a more playoff-style, north-south game need to stay front of mind if they’re going to stay competitive and get points off of Carolina.
Alex Barre-Boulet played 12:11 in his NHL debut. I liked how he played. He was creative and he was surprisingly adept along the wall for a little guy. He looked a little sluggish speed-wise for the top level but he’ll adjust and Carolina is pretty speedy. First couple of shifts I thought he looked a bit like Gourde when he first game up, but as the game wore on he was way more impactful than Gourde in his first few cups of coffee.
Alexander Volkov had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:42. The puck’s following him. He almost got a rebound goal in the First Period. I wish he’s stop trying some of the junior hockey puckhandling moves (he’s not quick enough to do those in the NHL), but there’s no denying since scoring his first NHL goals the puck has started seeking him out.