Happy birthday, Mom; Stamkos shines in Bolts’ win

by Gary Shelton on March 4, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov feeds Stamkos in the Bolts' outburst./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov feeds Stamkos in the Bolts' outburst./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 3 p.m.

Stamkos had a five-point nigh to lead the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos had a five-point nigh to lead the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

A dozen times, they lost the game. Thirteen times, they won it.

Steven Stamkos capped a terrific afternoon Saturday when he scored to clinch the team's shootout win, 7-6 over the Philadelphia Flyers. It doesn't count as a goal, but Stamkos, on hcAUKis mother's birthday, had two other goals and three assists for the first five-point game of his career.

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Vasilveskiyl let in five, but he was excellent late./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilveskiy let in five, but he was excellent late./CARMEN MANDATO

Nikita Kucherov, returning to the Bolts lineup,had three points. Victor Hedman, with two goals and two assists, had four.

“Stammer and Kooch, the more they shoot, especially with ability they have,

Once again, Point scored in the shootout./CARMEN MANDATO

Once again, Point scored in the shootout./CARMEN MANDATO

it’s just percentages," said coach Jon Cooper. "Some of them are going to go. When those guys are rolling, you have to keep putting them out there. Keep going with the feeling they are having."

It was the fifth straight overtime game for the Bolts, and their fourth game in six nights. Still, they found the energy to come back from deficits of 3-1 and 5-3.

The near-hat-trick was the most points Stamkos has had in a game in his career.

Hedman scored two goals and had two assists./CARMEN MANDATO

Hedman scored two goals and had two assists./CARMEN MANDATO

“It was obviously not the game plan we had envisioned, but anytime you’re down a couple goals in different parts of the game, especially in the third, and you come back and win it’s emotional," Stamkos said. "It shows that guys care and that the guys never give up.”

For Tampa Bay, it was a rare 1 p.m. game.

“I guess that’s the excuse," Stamkos said. "They play 1 o’clock games every Saturday at home in Philly and this was our first one, so we didn’t start the game on time and they did. That was kind of the joke, but as a player after tonight, I love 1 o’clock games.”

Gourde now has 50 points for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Gourde now has 50 points for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

The Bolts got two goals from Hedman, one from Dan Girardi, one from J.T. Miller (his first as a Bolt). In overtime, Braydon point scored once again, followed by Stamkos.

“It was huge," Hedman said of Miller's first goal. "Miller has been great for us these first three games and I am happy for him to get his first as a Bolt. Good things happen when you put pucks to the net, and he was driving the net hard and put it in so that’s what you knew he was going to bring to this team.”

The Flyers got off 43 shots, and five of them found the back of the net. Cooper pointed out how strong Vasilevskiy was late in the game, however, and in the shootout. He made a glove save in the third period that was noticed by his team.

Killorn had an assist for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Killorn had an assist for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

“You should have seen our bench when that happened," Cooper said." It was unbelievable. Then we go right down and score to make it 6-5. There were so many different turning points in this game. You can’t even point to one, but I can’t say we wouldn’t have come back. The energy from the building from tying the game... but for him to bail us out you sit there in awe. We just built so much energy off that. After that save, I don’t think one was getting by him. He was in the zone.”

Yanni Gourde praised his team's resilience.

“I think every time they scored, we went back on the ice with the mentality of we want to play well, we want to play good and we want to get back into this game," Gourde said. "I think that was a big character win tonight. We just have to bring the same energy every game.”

Gourde has 50 points on the season. He joined Brad Richards, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson as the Bolts to score 50 in their rookie season.

And if someone had told Gourde he'd have a 50-point season?

“I would probably laugh," Gourde said. "I didn’t think coming into this year I would make 50. I just go out there and try to do my job and try to help this team win. I try to bring energy to every game. I just have to focus on that and if I do that, most of the points are going to come and the chances are going to come.”

The Lightning are home on Tuesday night against Florida. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

J.T. Miller scores his first goal for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

J.T. Miller scores his first goal for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

 

 

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