TORONTO, Cn. (FNN SPORTS) – The Tampa Bay Lightning had an auspicious performance versus the Florida Panthers in the exhibition game last week and some of the momentum carried over to their red robin game against the Washington Capitals. The Bolts are a skilled unit and Cooper is a logistical coach, a combination which takes Tampa far. The Lightning get shaken up 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 first period, displaying strong neutral zone play and the top line was at it again. Point had game, skating with speed and precision, applying plenty of pressure to the Caps. With roughly seven minutes left in the first 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 first intermission and mentioned that Point and Kucherov were leading the charge in the first period and the team needed to follow their lead. Coleman and Goodrow are working well on the third 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 second period performance goes to the Capitals. Although Tampa’s Stephens scored first about eight minutes into the period, the Caps upped the physicality to make a comeback with 2:36 left in the second. Panik finished off a goal that slid 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.
Third period went 0-0 in goals, but the guys battled it out trying to avoid overtime. Zach Bogosian, the Lightning’s new addition, 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 staring down another win.
Kasey Hudson is the Associate Sports Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org