TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Tampa Bay Lightning had to fight off the impeccably good goaltending of Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek and a strong Hurricanes forecheck for nearly two-and-a-half periods before two timely power play goals by Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point allowed the Lightning to eclipse Carolina 3-1 at Amalie Arena on Thursday evening.
It was the sixth time this season that Tampa Bay had come from behind in the third period to secure a win as Lightning victories have become more and more dramatic. Even more impressive is that the Lightning extended their home win streak to 9-0-0, one win shy of their 2014-15 record.
“I think it is confidence and our guys feeling that no lead is insurmountable because obviously you don’t want to be in that spot,” said center Brayden Point, who added his 27th and 28th goals of the season, “We just have a confidence that we are not out of it and we are just sticking with it.”
Trailing 1-0 midway through the third period, Lightning center Steven Stamkos lined up a shot in the left circle, but it was deflected by Carolina’s Justin Faulk before Palat gathered it and pushed it by Mrazek on the right side.
The goal picked up an entire arena which was sitting on its hands waiting for more heroics from a hockey team that has found so many different ways to win in its 34-8-2 start.
The goal was Palat’s third of the season as Stamkos collected his 25th assist.
Palat noted that they puck hit his bald and went into the net at 11:58 in the third period. “It wasn’t our best game but we found a way again,” said Palat. “This is a good team–Carolina–so they were on top of us and they are hard to play against, but we got two points.”
Drama ensued earlier in the second period when, at the 10:49 mark, Tampa Bay had seemingly tied the contest at 1-1 when Point collected a loose puck on a Hurricanes turnover and fired it on the breakaway off the left blocker of Mrazek. He displayed impeccable hand-eye coordination in staying with the rejection and flipping it by Mrazek on the second try.
However, the Lightning were stuck with an offsides penalty on Tyler Johnson as the officials said he was not all the way off the ice as Point entered the zone. Point’s goal was waved off.
“Part of video replay was–we knew it,” said Tampa Bay coach John Cooper. “The replay shown in the arena didn’t show the offsides and the crowd started going nuts and to be honest, I thought our game really picked up on a non-goal call on an offsides. We needed something and the crowd really helped us out.”
Nikita Kucherov then had two scoring chances on shots close to the net after Palat’s game-tying goal. Mrazek continued to play tough and stopped one just outside the crease before Kucherov hit the top of the goal post on a snapshot on the same shift.
After a slashing penalty on Carolina’s Greg McKlegg, Tampa Bay took the lead for good when Point scored from the right circle as Nikita Kucherov picked up his 51st assist of the season.
Kucherov picked up a point for his 13th consecutive home game as he is the NHL scoring leader (71), assist leader (52), and power play scoring leader (26).
“You have Stam [Stamkos], Kuch [Nikita Kucherov] and Heddy [Victor Hedman] making plays up top so obviously all of those guys can really shoot the puck and then we have Millsy down low and Yanny,” said Point. “I think it’s just guys just doing their job and like I said those three guys have a tendency to find open guys and give them a chance.”
Point’s empty-netter at 19:35 was his 28th marker of the season and iced the Lightning’s 34th win of the season.
The. Hurricanes’ Justin Williams gave Carolina the 1-0 lead on a second period goal, his 11th goal of the season, at the 4:34 mark on a tap in on the left side as Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevsky. Carolina had an odd man-rush as Doug Hamilton fired a shot off Vasilevsky’s blocker on the right side and then Williams put the blade on the ricochet to score the goal.
Williams, who was taken in the 2000 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, best known as “Mr. Game Seven” with a personal 7-1 record with seven goals, 14 points in Game Sevens of three Stanley Cup Finals.
The Hurricanes had their win streak snapped at five games while the Lightning won for the ninth time in its last 10 games and increased its Atlantic Division lead to 14 points over Toronto.
Ken Cross is a sports contributor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
Lightning Sign D Mikhail Sergachev, F Anthony Cirelli and D Erik Cernak to Eight-Year Contract Extensions
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak each to an eight-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Sergachev, 24, has skated in 362 career regular season games, 358 of them with the Lightning, notching 36 goals and 174 points. He ranks fifth all-time in Tampa Bay franchise history among defensemen for goals and scoring and fourth for assists (138). The former ninth overall pick (of Montreal) in the 2016 NHL Draft has also played in 92 postseason games and posted eight goals and 30 points. He ranks second in Lightning history among defensemen for playoff games, goals, assists (22) and scoring. Sergachev’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $8.5 million.
Cirelli, 24, has skated in 294 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, recording 66 goals and 159 points. During the 2021-22 season, Cirelli posted 17-26—43 points in 76 games played, one point shy of his career high 16-28—44 pts. from the 2019-20 season. He led Tampa Bay forwards for blocked shots (67), ranked sixth in the NHL for penalties drawn (42) and finished fifth in Selke Trophy voting in 2021-22. In postseason play, Cirelli has notched 14 goals and 34 points in 92 games, ranking 11th all-time in Lightning playoff history for scoring. Cirelli’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $6.25 million.
Cernak, 25, has skated in 226 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, posting 16 goals, 59 points and a plus-51 rating. During the 2021-22 regular season, the Kosice, Slovakia native notched a goal and 13 points and led the Lightning for hits (165) in 55 games. Cernak has played in 73 career postseason games, recording two goals and 19 points. He netted the Stanley Cup-opening goal in Game 1 of the 2021 Cup Final versus Montreal, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to net his first career playoff goal in a Stanley Cup Final. A second round selection of the Los Angeles Kings (43rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Cernak was traded to the Lightning on February 26, 2017. Cernak’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $5.2 million.
NHL: Lightning Re-Sign Forward Simon Ryfors to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract
TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Simon Ryfors to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced.
Ryfors, 24, played in 72 games during the regular season for the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate, posting 11 goals and 35 points, ranking tied for seventh on the Crunch for scoring. He also skated in five Calder Cup Playoff games with the Crunch and notched a goal, assist and a plus-four rating.
The Stockholm, Sweden native originally signed with the Lightning organization on May 12, 2021. Prior to that, he skated seven seasons with Rogle BK of the SHL, tallying 41 goals and 93 points to go along with 165 penalty minutes in 250 games. He set career bests in the SHL in 2020-21 for goals (25), assists (20) and points (45).
Lightning Acquire F Brandon Hagel, Two 4th Round Picks from Chicago
TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Tampa Bay Lightning // The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Brandon Hagel, Chicago’s fourth-round selection in 2022 and fourth-round pick in 2024 from the Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, Tampa’s first-round selection in 2023 and first-round selection in 2024, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. Both first-round picks the Lightning are sending to Chicago are top 10 protected.
Hagel, 23, has played in 55 games so far this season for Chicago, recording 21 goals and 37 points. Hagel ranks second on the Blackhawks for goals and game-winning goals (3) and fourth for scoring and power-play goals (4). In 108 games with Chicago over three seasons, Hagel has posted 30 goals and 61 points. He made his NHL debut March 11, 2020 versus San Jose, the only game he played during the 2019-20 season. Hagel is under contract through the 2023-2024 season with a salary cap number of $1,500,000.
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