Bolts scratch out five goals to beat Rangers

by Gary Shelton on March 9, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Point goes airborne in a rush to the net./STEVEN MUNCIE

Point goes airborne in a rush to the net./STEVEN MUNCIE

Saturday, 3 a.m.

The "other guys" took over for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

On a team where five players have scored 20 goals this year (including departed Vlad Namestnikov), none of them managed to score in a 5-3 victory over the rebuilt New York Rangers.

The Bolts, getting their first regulation win after six straight overtimes, got the 40th victory of the season from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy tied a franchise record with his 40th victory. He was the 58th goalie in NHL history to win 40 in a season, although none have won more than 48.

Andrei Vasilevskiy won his 40th game of the year./STEVEN MUNCIE

Andrei Vasilevskiy won his 40th game of the year./STEVEN MUNCIE

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Paquette scored the first goal of the night./STEVEN MUNCIE

Paquette scored the first goal of the night./STEVEN MUNCIE

The Lightning got goals from:

Cedric Paquette, his third.

Adam Erne, his third.

Anthony Cirelli, his second.

Chris Kunitz, his 12th.

And Tyler Johnson, hs 19th.

Miller faced his former Rangers' teammates./STEVEN MUNCIE

Miller faced his former Rangers' teammates./STEVEN MUNCIE

Cirelli also had two assists to continue his hot start.

“Here’s the thing, he’s picked up some points, which has been great, but how’s he been playing in the circle?" said coach Jon Cooper. "How’s he doing defensively? How’s he doing in those areas? He’s actually been checking off a lot of the boxes. In this league and as your march forward and you’re looking to win games in the playoffs, you need some depth scoring. It can’t come from all of the same guys. Can he do things in this league? So far, he’s been passing the test.”

Defenseman Victor Hedman also likes what he sees in Cirelli.

“He’s been great, obviously he’s playing on special teams now too, on the PK and taking big face-offs," Hedman said. "With three points tonight, he’s been

Chris Kunitz celebrates after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

Chris Kunitz celebrates after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

a great fit, so once again that shows the depth we have in the organization with guys coming up from Syracuse and doing a tremendous job.”

Chris Kunitz was glad to finally win in regulation.

“I don’t think we want too many overtimes," Kunitz said. "We had six in a row, but we find a way to win, I guess that’s something to be said. We keep growing as a team. We’ve got new guys in the lineup and everybody’s been contributing and that’s a sign of a good team. We just have to keep growing these last fifteen games and keep getting better.”

Mikhail Sergachev directs the Lightning attack./STEVEN MUNCIE

Mikhail Sergachev directs the Lightning attack./STEVEN MUNCIE

Hedman was unhappy  that, once again, the Lightning struggled to slam the door on an opponent.

“It was a little bit (disappointing)," Hedman said. "We’ve been talking about it for a while now how we want to kind of be better in the third, but with the way we played in the first period and even in the second period, we played some really good hockey.”

Cooper has been impressed with Vasilevskiy's play in net.

"The thing is, I can’t say enough what he has meant to our team and how well he’s played," Cooper said. "He gives us a chance to win every night. We’ve been in some situations here where we’ve been scoring some goals, but there’s a lot of good that’s slowly been happening with us with the way we’re playing and he’s a big part of that.”

The Bolts play an afternoon game against Montreal Saturday. The puck drops at 1 p.m.

Tyler Johnson celebrates after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

Tyler Johnson celebrates after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

 

 

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