Lightning Commit To Defense In Win Against Washington

October 17, 2021

The Tampa Bay lightning have seemingly righted the ship after an embarrassing loss at home to the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-2 to begin the 2021-22 NHL season.

A wild one in Detroit on Thursday night saw the Lightning trail the Red Wings 4-1 before mounting a comeback to win 7-6 in overtime on a goal by Ondrej Palat.

Saturday Night in Washington, the Lightning once again had to play in overtime to get the two points. Steven Stamkos scored the game-winner with 14 seconds left in OT to give the Lightning a 2-1 win.

The Lightning trailed most of this game until defensemen Mikhail Sergachev scored his first goal of the season less than five minutes into the third period to tie the game at one.

Sergachev could also have been the villain in this game. He was called for cross-checking at the 1:21 mark of OT. But the Lightning was able to hang on and kill off the four on three penalty before Stamkos game-winning shot.

Sergachev was very apologetic after the game:

Hell of a penalty kill. I want to apologize in front of the team. I felt like I pushed him. The ref saw it differently. He’s the ref. He knows better. Our team killed it did a hell of a job. ‘Vasy’ a hell of a job. Can’t say enough

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for the Bolts and was his best in overtime as the Capitals went on a power play and dominated play in the overtime session until the Stamkos goal to win it for the Lightning.

This was the first game where the Lightning was committed to playing defense right from the opening puck drop. The Bolt’s defensemen took space away from the Capitals and did not give the opposition time and space to set up offensively.

The Lightning had just one power-play opportunity, while the Capitals were 0/4 on the power play. Alex Ovechkin had the only goal for the Capitals.

It was not all good news for the Lightning as forward Nikita Kucherov suffered what appeared to be a groin injury. Coach Jon Cooper did not have a lot of details right after the game and said the evaluation process would continue on Sunday.

Pressed further on the Kucherov injury, Cooper said:

We’ll have to see. I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV, so I have no way to answer what’s going on with him. He’ll be evaluated when we get back. He’s a tough kid. So hopefully, this isn’t too bad.

Steven Stamkos, in his post-game appearance, talked about the Kucherov injury.

It didn’t look good. Hopefully, he’s okay. That’s one of the best players in the league, so we’re praying that he’s okay.

Kucherov has already had to overcome a hip injury that cost him the 2020-21 regular season. He did return in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to lead the Lightning with 30 points.

Defensemen Jan Rutta also left the game with an injury. Cooper said after the game that Rutta would be evaluated as well before making any decisions or roster moves.

The Lightning was already down a defenseman putting Zach Bogosian on the IR on Wednesday. Bogosian will miss four to six weeks. The Lightning called up Andrei Sustr from Syracuse to take Bogosians’ place on the roster.

The Lightning picked up a very hard-earned four points on this two-game road trip. On Tuesday night, the Bolts will be home for a showdown with their in-state rivals, the Florida Panthers. The Lightning and the Panthers matched up in the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the Lightning winning the series in six games.

The Bolts will then host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.