Vasilevskiy, Lightning poach home ice from the ‘Canes.
Tampa Bay Leads the Series 1-0
Andrei Vasilevskiy was completely locked in allowing one goal on 38 shots for the win. He turned aside all 15 shots he faced in the First Period, which allowed the Lightning to weather Carolina’s emotion in the series opener and settle into the game. Commanding performance.
8:15 TB Point (5), (Hedman, Kucherov)
1:41 CAR Bean (1), (Svechnikov, Fast)(PP)
12:39 TB Goodrow (1), (Coleman)
Vasilevskiy and Barclay Goodrow were the game’s first and second stars.
If you were writing a textbook on how to steal a road game, you might use what the Lightning did today as a case study. They absorbed Carolina’s big emotional push in the first 20 minutes of the game, got things equalized in the Second Period and eventually manufactured a power play goal in the Second Period. And, in the Third Period, you saw a couple of hustle plays by Coleman freed up Goodrow for a bad angle shot and they got some luck with Nedeljkovic surrendering the howler. Soft goals often are the margin, and that softie was tonight. Mind you, it probably shouldn’t have been because I’m fairly certain that Carolina’s power play came on a call that came after a wildly blown offside call at the end of the Third Period. Thankfully, it didn’t come back to bite the Lightning.
What might come back to bite them is Erik Cernak leaving the game late in the Second Period with an apparent concussion. The Lightning don’t have the depth to really absorb it if Cernak has to miss a week, so hopefully he recovers very quickly. Hopefully he’s back for Game Two and the Lightning can try to replicate what they did against Florida by stealing the first two games on the road. The adage about playing with house money applies. Carolina’s going to make a push, but Carolina’s also going to get really tight if they don’t get the results from that push early. And, to my eyes, playing a more conventional opponent the Lightning looked way more comfortable against the Hurricanes than they did against the Panthers. Tactically they’re less unconventional. Physically they’re less imposing (dirty). It’s like a breath of fresh air for the Lightning, I think, that they’re playing hockey and not MMA masquerading as hockey.
Ross Colton had 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 7:56.