Bolts find another way to win in beating Calgary

by Gary Shelton on December 21, 2018 · 0 comments

in Tampa Bay Lightning

Miller scored the winning goal in a shootout./CAREN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

What’s next?

Does Nikita Kucherov drop down from the rafters to score the winning goal? Does the Lightning spot someone a seven-goal lead? Does someone set the net on fire?

What? How next will the Tampa Bay Lightning find a way to victory?

This time, it took a long, long shootout. It took a comeback from a two-goal deficit. It took a late bit of brilliance from backup goaltender Louis Domingue. It took another goal by the red-hot Steven Stamkos.

Yet, after all of it, the Lightning won again with a 5-4 shootout victory over Calgary. They are now 13-1-1 over their last 15 games, and they’ve scored a point in 11 in a row.

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Domingue was solid in the shootout./JEFFREY S. KING

Forward J.T. Miller ended things with a goal in the seventh round of the shootout for a 5-4 victory. That ended a night where the Lighting had trailed 3-1 before rallying.

“We’ve found a way to win different ways,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “We’ve won the checking games. We’ve found a way to win the high-scoring games, the goaltending battles. If it’s a special teams war, we’ve found a way. Especially early on, we were falling behind in games and guys found a way to come back.

“It wasn’t the best recipe for success but we’ve kind of found our game a bit. But this is a hard league to win in. Every second night you’re playing. It’s a pretty positive group, regardless of the deficit, the guys feel like they come back and they proved it again tonight.”

Louis Domingue, the team’s backup goaltender, won for the 15th time on the season. He stopped 33 of 37 shots, and he stopped Calgary in six of their seven shots in the shootout.

“We were up against the ropes after the first period,” Cooper said. “I don’t know whatever it was, we didn’t have our legs. We were just slow. They were faster than us. The guys turned around, big goal by Stammer early. For him and Killer to tie it up there in the first five minutes kind of fueled our attack. I thought we had a really good second period. We get the lead and I thought we had pretty good control of the game and then just an unlucky break to the wrong guy and he made us pay.”

The Bolts, who led 1-0 on a goal by Ondrej Palat, rallied from a 3-1 deficit with goals by Stamkos and Alex Killorn. Dan Girardi scored to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead, but the Flames forced overtime on a goal by Johnny Gaudreau.

“We’ve talked about the depth on our team all season long,” Stamkos said. “We find ways for different guys to produce and score, including our defensemen. We need them to be a threat out there. It was great to see G (Girardi) score that one. I wish it could have been the winner, but we need production from all aspects of our game.”

For Domingue, who carried the Bolts while Andrei Vasilevskiy was injured, it was a return to action as a backup.

“It was a little hard,” Domingue said, “because playing so many games and I was starting to feel very good about myself and my game and to be not playing, back to the old job I had before, it was mentally challenging. It just went well tonight.

“I like our chances every time we go to extra time. We’re a pretty good team. That’s what makes us such a good team is we find ways to win games. It doesn’t matter how, we take the two points.”

Said Cooper: “You know that’s your role, but he went from playing, whatever it was, 13 or 14 in a row to now he’s got to sit out for a week and a half. He was so important on our run that we made, but he’s part of our team. He’s going to play some games. It’s a tough situation to be the backup because you have to be razor sharp and a lot of times you probably don’t get the best starts, a lot of back-to-backs and stuff like that, but against an extremely quality opponent, he played great.”

The Bolts play in Edmonton Saturday night to conclude their four-game road trip. The puck is scheduled to drop at 10 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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