Devil of a Comeback

By on October 16, 2016

Tampa, Fla. — Although the  Lightning won the opening face off, they quickly turned the puck over and just 52 seconds into the game at Devils #2 John Moore wrists one over the left shoulder of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who got the nod tonight between the pipes, and the Devils were on the board with Moore’s first goal of the season.

If that wasn’t enough to quiet the crowd, just minutes later at 4:26,  the Devils #19 Travis Zajac slips one through the five hole with an assist to #11 Pa Parenteau. I’m sure at this point in the game, the Lightning would like to start this game over, can we get a rewind please! Devils jump to a two goal lead.

This first period the Devils were doing a good job of possessing the puck, fast to the corners and entering the zone. The Lightning were definitely on their heels, they needed a break, like a man advantage to get something started offensively.

At 12:55 they were given that chance, but failed to capitalize on it. Devils net minder Cory Schneider was on his toes and keeping a good eye on the puck. The first period came to a close with the score 2-0 Devils. The shots were tied at 13.

The Bolts were going to need to skate harder, dig in the corners and get physical to come back in this contest. The Devils were playing a tight game, not giving much room on the ice for the Bolts to move the puck. Then just as I envisioned it, Ondrej Palat started the physical less than two minutes into the second. He received a two minute minor for roughing. Putting the Devils on the man advantage, but stirring up his teammates,  hopefully!

The Bolts managed to kill off the penalty and immediately start with an odd man rush down the ice. A couple more good scoring chances by Tampa, as newcomer Brayden Point wristed a shot right in front of Schneider but he had a quick glove hand and robbed Point,  the rookie who made his debut here Thursday versus the Detroit Red Wings.

Finally at 10:07 in the second a beautifully executed play by #27 Jonathan Drouin to bring the puck across the blue line, pass it to #18 Ondrej Palat who made a shot-like to #91 Captain Steven Stamkos was positioned perfectly in front of the net for the tip in. Stamkos first goal of the season, and a beauty at that, it’s “Hammertime.” The score now 2-1 Devils.

UH OH, here come the Bolts just seconds later, 9:53 another awesome goal, #17 Alex Killorn who picked up a rebound (that’s what I call picking up the trash) assist by #86 Nikita Kucherov and #9 Tyler Johnson. It was heating up at the “Oil Can.”

The Devils were still holding their ground, and doing a pretty good job of moving the puck around with a few good scoring chances towards the end of the second period.

At 13:32 in the second, Steven Stamkos committed a two minute minor for holding the stick giving the Devils  another power play with a chance to move ahead. The Lightning did a good job of shutting down the Devils power play, but just as the time ran off the penalty clock New Jersey entered the zone and easily scored their 3rd goal of the game.

Wait, rewind. Coach Jon Cooper challenged the goal stating that the Devils were off sides.   I guess he’s got good eyes, because he was correct. Ding Ding and the score remained tied 2-2. The crowd cheered, and play resumed.

The Bolts were hungry for their 3rd goal of the game putting the pressure on at the close of the 2nd period. Brayden Point crashing the net looking for that first NHL career goal and  Miles Wood  was assessed a two minute tripping minor to give the Bolts their second power play of the game. No gain, both teams head to their locker rooms after two periods of play tied at 2.

Just fourteen seconds into the 3rd New Jersey commits a two minute delay of game penalty to put the Bolts back on the man advantage. It looked as if Tampa slipped one by Devils net minder Schneider as they threw the puck down the ice, so the whistle blew and the play was under review. The officials said “NO GOAL.” The crowd booed as they showed the review on the massive jumbo tron, it was apparent that the puck did cross the goal line.

The NHL officials have decided no goal, so play continued with an unhappy crowd! The score remained 2-2. The Devils were suddenly buzzing and hungry to get the go ahead goal. Exciting game on a Saturday night.

Wow, and suddenly the goal horn sounded, #51 Valterri Filppula just scored his 2nd goal of the season and the go ahead goal of the game, the assist to #21 Brayden Point and #5 Jason Garrison at 5:43. So it was Point with his first point in the NHL.

Shortly after the celebration of the goal, Devils #23 Michael Cammalleri attempted to pick a fight with #23 J T Brown, matching roughing penalties were given, the 23’s went to the sinbin and the game resumed.

 The crowd was alive shouting “Let’s Go Lightning!” With 12 minutes left to play in the game, the Bolts had already managed to get 30 shots on goal. This team is a highly offensive powerhouse.

I was literally on the edge of my seat watching this game unfold. Valterri Filppula was playing like a man with a purpose, this team has great chemistry. Late in the third period Andrej Sustr committed a two minute minor hooking penalty giving the Devils a chance to tie the score. The Devils Kyle Palmieri fired a shot at Vasilevskiy and he made a beautiful glove save. The Bolts held off the Devils and continued at even strength. Another great save by #88 as a bouncing puck came his way.

The Devils took a time out with 1:10 left to play in the game, looking for a strategy to tie the score. With Schneider on the bench,  an empty net on one side, the Bolts had to stand their ground defensively to win this 3-2 for their second win of the season in as many games.


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