Four (goals) in the Third Gives the Lightning Two (points)

By on October 13, 2016

Tampa, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning home opener is against what’s becoming a growing rival in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings. Last year the Lightning and the Wings faced off in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Bolts knocked them out in  five games.

Making his NHL debut tonight for the Bolts is #21 Brayden Point.

The Lightning fell behind 2-0 in the first and trailed 3-1 later but a four goal third period, which included an empty netter by Valtteri Filppula, the Bolts start the season perfect with two points.

 The Wings got an early man advantage, the first penalty would go to Braden Coburn at 2:40 in first  for holding. So the Wings would quickly have a man advantage and put Big Ben (Bishop) to the test. With little effort, the Wings quickly go on the board with an assist by Henrik Zetterberg and a goal by Thomas Vanek at 3:26.  Vanek a Wings newcomer gets the 2016-17 scoring season started for the Mo-town Wings.

 Petr Mrazek stood his ground in the crease and held the Bolts off during two quick power play chances.   Danny Dekayser was off at 3:39 and then Steve Ott at 5:26.

Back at full strength, the Wings quickly scored the second goal of the game at 8:26. It was Vanek again with the assist from Gustav Nyquist. It would be safe to say the air quickly left the building at 401 Channelside Drive. I thought the Wings Vanek was sure to come up with a hat trick tonight, maybe he was inspired last night by Austin Matthews.

 Ondrej Palat was feeling the heat as he started to get physical with about eight minutes left to play in the first period. Something definitely needed to happen to put some Lightning in these boys in blue. Up to this point they looked like they were in a pre -season game or perhaps practice. The first period ends with the score Wings 2, Bolts 0.

 The second period takes off just as quietly as the first one ended. Hopefully they will pick up the pace, it’s been pretty somber here tonight at the “Oil Can.” I was starting to wonder what was more exciting….the game? the jumbo tron? Or the ice crew on commercial break.

 I guess Jonathan Drouin got a little tired of the silence and decided to light the lamp for the Bolts at 7:23 in the second period, that’s making the fans wait a while don’t you think! The assists from Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman. So the young #27 who had such a controversial season last year popped the scoring cherry of the 2016-2017 season for the Bolts.

Newcomer night was theme so far as the Wings quickly answer back with their third goal as newcomer Frans Nielsen decides to participate in the game, the assist from Mike Green and Dylan Larkin.

 That third goal must have shocked the Lightning into play because they suddenly seemed to come to life with Jonathan Drouin stoking the flame. Suddenly Paquette found the back of the net, with an unassisted goal. The score now Wings 3, Lightning 2.

 The game suddenly became physical,  both teams remembered that they were rivals. Fisticuffs were flying as one, two, three fights broke out. The officials didn’t know which one to break up. Penalties were given to Detroit’s Ott two minutes unsportsmanlike conduct and two minutes roughing and Brenden Smith five minutes for fighting. Lightning’s Coburn four minutes roughing and Andre Sustr five minutes for fighting. It’s hockey time!!!  Penalties were matching, so the game continued at even strength.

I could no longer say that this game was uneventful, I think they finally realized this was a regular season game!

At 18:43 Steven Stamkos drew a hooking penalty from Dylan Larkin to give the Bolts a man advantage to possible tie the score.  The power play would carry over to the third.

The Lightning start the third period with forty seconds left on the man advantage. They are skating faster, shooting the puck and crashing the net. The offensive pressure pays off and Brian Boyle lights the lamp at 3:17 to tie the score 3-3. The assist from Cedric Paquette. The “Oil Can” erupts as the goal horn sounds!! “Let’s go Bolts, Let’s go Bolts!” A familiar sound here at the Amalie Arena. Fan favorite Nikita Kucherov got a scoring chance on a breakaway, but Mrazek stoned Kucherov.

 Then the penalty that no NHL team should commit at 8:29 in the third period the Wings have too many men on the ice, really? The Bolts Tyler Johnson quickly capitalize on that to take the lead 4-3. And the “Oil Can” erupts with “Go Johnny Go” it’s great to be a Lightning fan! Just five seconds into the power play. It looks like the boys in blue have found their momentum and the back of the net.

The tension grew as the third period played on, and Jonathan Ericsson took an early trip to the Red Wings locker room. The penalties were instigating, fighting and a game misconduct. Palat had matching penalties so even strength play resumed. The physical play continued, and I don’t know how but the Wings managed to incur a second too many men on the ice penalty, resulting in a Tampa Bay Lightning power play goal. At 16:50 Killorn ripped one by Mrazek with the help coming from Jonathan Drouin and Victor Hedman. The Bolts were now leading 5-3.

Just when you thought the lead was secure and the shenanigans had ended, Bishop seemed to lose his footing and gave up a soft goal to Danny Dekyser of the Wings with assists from Green and Helm at 17:55.  DeKeyser was just shooting the puck in off the glass on a hard-around when the puck took a crazy bounce right in on Bishop.   The score now Bolts 5, Wings 4.

 Valterri Filpula said,  “Wait, I can do that,” and scored his first goal of the season just seconds later at 18:39 into an empty net.   This win for the Bolts has truly been a team effort! Everyone contributed and the sell out crowd was elated! You’ve been Thunderstruck!!!!

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