Colton continues to make his case.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed two goals on 21 shots for the victory. I got a little antsy when he allowed a couple in the opening frame that this might be another track meet game, but he put up the forcefield the rest of the way for yet another game with two or fewer goals allowed.
2:10 CHI Janmark (10), (Kubalik, DeBrincat)(PP)
13:15 TB Killorn (8), (Hedman)
17:02 TB Gourde (9), (Sergachev, Vasilevskiy)(PP)
18:45 CHI Strome (5), (Janmark, Keith)(PP)
5:32 TB Colton (2), (Joseph, Maroon)
19:44 TB Hedman (6), (unassisted)(EN)
Ross Colton and Yanni Gourde were the game’s first and second stars.
The Lightning did a pretty good job of taking control of this one in the final 40 minutes, bar a few mistakes Vasilevskiy erased. This was definitely a more toned down, defensive-minded game from these two teams than some of the earlier meetings, which is probably more indicative of what we could expect to see in a potential playoff matchup. Ultimately I think you saw the quality of the Lightning’s goaltending and bottom six forward depth is what carried the day.
For the record, I’d be 100% happy if the Lightning kept the reverse retro jerseys as their official third jerseys moving forward.
Cal Foote had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 14:27. That’s a sizable number of minutes for Cal as he continues to get tapped regularly to draw into the lineup. Clearly he’s a player with some limitations speed wise, but the great thing to see is he’s figuring out ways to play within those limitations while finding other ways to exploit some of his strengths like his passing ability, size, and shot.
Colton had the GWG and was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 10:29. He was also 57% on seven draws. He and the fourth line started to prove tonight that what happened against Dallas wasn’t a fluke. Put aside Colton’s highlight reel goal, you had multiple shifts in this game where the fourth line played the kind of dominating cycle game they were able to show against the Stars. This is potentially a big deal for the Lightning moving forward if it continues. Last year the Lightning were able to ride to a Cup in no small part due to the strength of a third line that played any other bottom six line that they matched up against under the table. If the Lightning have both bottom six lines capable of dominating possession, forechecking like demons, and creating offensive pressure? What a potential weapon for the playoffs, especially knowing your top six is already star studded and will be getting Kucherov back. Maybe this is just a flash and this fourth line won’t keep up this level of play, but maybe we’re seeing the making of a real difference-making line that will pay big dividends in the postseason.