Lightning capture another shootout victory

by Gary Shelton on March 11, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov scores in  the shootout./STEVEN MUNCIE

Nikita Kucherov scores in the shootout./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 4 a.m.

At this point, the members of the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to put in for overtime.

Once again, the Bolts had to put in extra work, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout. It was the team's seventh overtime game of its last eight; the Lightning has won six of those. The Bolts now have points in 10 straight games, their longest streak of the season.

This time, Nikita Kucherov scored the winning goal in the shootout. Once again, however, Captain Overtime -- Brayden Point -- scored in the shootout. It was his fifth shootout goal of the season.

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Louis Domingue looks back after one gets by./STEVEN MUNCIE

Louis Domingue looks back after one gets past./STEVEN MUNCIE

At one point in the game, Lightning coach Jon Cooper teamed forward J.T. Miller with Steven Stamkos and Kucherov.

“We were just a little flat," Cooper said. "It wasn’t clicking and ultimately made the move to put (Miller) up there and I thought instantly it gave a spark from the first shift to the third all the way through. It’s funny how that works sometimes when you just move things around and it just changes the

Brayden Point states back to the bench after scoring in the shootout./STEVEN MUNCIE

Brayden Point goes to the bench after scoring in the shootout./STEVEN MUNCIE

dynamic of the way your team is rolling and the way guys are thinking. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight it did.”

For the Bolts, it was their 100th point of the season. Only five times in the 25-year history of the Lightning has a team scored as many as 100 points.

The Bolts gave a rare home start to goalie Louie Domingue, who won his fifth game with 25 saves.

Newly acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh made his debut for the Lightning.

“He was extremely noticeable on the penalty kill," Lightning Cooper said. "His poise and composure in some situations we may not have got those pucks out and McDonagh made sure we got those pucks out. You

Yanni Gourde passes the puck to a teammate./STEVEN MUNCIE

Yanni Gourde passes the puck to a teammate./STEVEN MUNCIE

can see he’s got a little chemistry with Girardi. He hasn’t played since the All-Star break or a little after that, and for him to come in and have the impact he did in such a positive way because those first games are tough for just timing and you can’t replicate a game in practice and it was seamless for him.”

McDonagh said he felt his time off.

“I got a lot more confident as the game went on," McDonagh said. Obviously, it’s a fast paced game. When you miss a month, it takes a little bit to get up to speed, especially the style that they play here so I thought as the game

Steven Stamkos collides with Gallagher./STEVEN MUNCIE

Steven Stamkos collides with Gallagher./STEVEN MUNCIE

continued my legs felt better and felt more comfortable out there with the guys.”

“They (Montreal) are a quick team and I don’t think they had many turnovers at all through the neutral zone. That’s maybe an area we wish we did a little bit better. But they’re a fast paced team that made us go back for pucks all night, so we really had to earn every inch of ice out there.”

Fellow Lightning defender Dan Girardi said it was nice being paired with McDonagh again.

“It felt pretty good," Girardi said. ?Obviously we haven’t played together all year, and it’s McDonagh’s first game in a little while. Started off a little slow, but I thought we finished off well, especially on the penalty kill at the end there. It felt good to be out there with a guy you’re familiar with. Overall, I think we stuck with it tonight, didn’t try anything fancy and it ended up working out for us.”

The Canadiens led twice, at 1-0 and 2-1. Tyler Johnson scored to tie the game at one, and Kucherov scored his 34th goal to get the game into overtime.

In the shootout, Point scored, but former Bolt Jonathan Drouin scored to tie the things. Kucherov then gave the Bolts the victory.

The Lightning plays again Tuesday night against Ottawa. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

New Bolt Ryan McDonagh gets hit In the face by Reilly's stick./STEVEN MUNCIE

New Bolt Ryan McDonagh gets hit In the face by Reilly's stick./STEVEN MUNCIE

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