Lightning holds on after another shaky third period

by Gary Shelton on February 10, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy had 44 saves for his 33rd victory./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy had 44 saves for his 33rd victory./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 3 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Lightning need to shore up their bullpen.

Once again, the Bolts saw a comfortable lead dwindle to a nail-biter Saturday night. The Los Angeles Kings scored two goals, and got off 20 shots, in a wild third-period before the Bolts earned a 4-3 victory.

It followed a disturbing trend lately where the Lightning has failed to slam shut the door despite their wins.

Paquette scored his second goal of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Paquette scored his second goal of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Stamkos had a goal and an assist in the victory./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos had a goal and an assist in the victory./CARMEN MANDATO

“I think we have to do a better job," Alex Killorn said. "We can’t kid ourselves. We can’t have third periods like that. We’ve been pretty bad in the third the last couple of games. Even though we’re winning, we have a sour taste in our mouths. We have to be better with our decision making."

Kucherov scored his 29th goal of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov scored his 29th goal of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

The Bolts, on the night that Vinny Lecavalier's jersey No. 4 was retired, used the digit as a signpost. They scored four goals -- Steven Stamkos, Killorn, Cedric Paquette and Nikita Kucherov -- and got 44 saves from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

On his best save, Vasilevskiy stopped a King with a behind-the-back save on Anze Kopitar.

“I just coached in the All-Star Game, so I watched the best of the best do some remarkable things and that save topped it," Cooper said. "It was calculated. He fights through the screen by getting so low and looks through his legs, sees the play develop and knows he’s in a little bit of trouble. That will put you in awe on that one.”

Killorn celebrates his fourth goal in five games./CARMEN MANDATO

Killorn celebrates his fourth goal in five games./CARMEN MANDATO

Said Vasilevskiy: “To be honest, I didn’t see anything. There was a defenseman right in front of me, and in the last moment I just saw the blade of Kopitar’s, that was Kopitar right? So, I just realized that I don’t have enough time to be square to the puck, so I made a decision to turn the other way and got lucky.”

Stamkos suggested the Bolts were asking too much of Vasilevskiy.

“He’s been unbelievable all year," Stamkos said. "We’re not too surprised of how good he is. We’re just a little concerned with him having to make too many of those big saves. We need to tighten a lot of things up.”

Defender Anton Stralman said the Lightning needs to be better in the late-going.

"(Vasilevskiy) definitely pulled this one out for us, and that’s not the way it should be," Stralman said. "Going into a third period with the lead we had,

Tyler Johnson attacks for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Tyler Johnson attacks for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

depending on him that much that’s not fair. That is not good enough.

“Structure is a good start and decision making with or without the puck. I wouldn’t be standing here if I had a good answer for you. It’s just something we have to look at and really, when we come into these situations, just dig in. Sometimes the easy play is the right play.”

The Bolts started the night with a ceremony honoring Lecavalier.

“Phenomenal," Cooper said. "I wish we could have one of those every year. My first experience was Marty’s and it brings back 25 years of players rolling through here, and there’s two hanging up in the rafters. I sat with Steve [Yzerman] during the ceremony and it was like ‘This is unreal. I can’t imagine what this feels like.’ And then he said, ‘I can.’ We had a good laugh. I was asking Steve about the flood of his emotions when this went through. There’s so many people to thank and you’re trying to summarize your career in one speech and it’s tough. I thought Vinny did a great job.”

The Bolts now travel to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs on Monday night The puck drops at 7 p.m.

The Lightning retired Vinny Lecavalier's number./CARMEN MANDATO

The Lightning retired Vinny Lecavalier's number./CARMEN MANDATO

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: