Bolts escape after third-period collapse

by Gary Shelton on November 18, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Cirelli scored the winner in overtime./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Playing on a team of stars, Anthony Cirelli can get lost at times.

He isn't as experienced as Steven Stamkos and he isn't as flashy as Nikita Kucherov, and he doesn't score as often as Brayden Point. He isn't a sparkplug like Tyler Johnson, or as stable as Victor Hedman or as a feisty as Ryan Callahan.

Saturday, in overtime, Cirelli wasn't lost. That was him, scoring the winning goal in a wild 6-5 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bolts won despite being forced into extra time after holding a 5-1 lead.

“The kid just plays the game the right way," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Cirelli. "He plays with his heart, and he’s got skill to match

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Brayden Point has 14 goals on the season./CARMEN MANDATO

it. You look at the plays he makes, what an individual effort but to fight off the check and have the wherewithal not to let them go the other way, still keep the puck and score a goal like that. He’s deserved it and it’s because he plays that way. Eventually, you just get rewarded and now he’s getting rewarded.”

After 20 games, the Bolts are now 14-5-1, but it was harder than it should have been. With 10 minutes to play, the Bolts led 5-1 in the game and seemed on their way to an easy win. But the Flyers scored four straight before Cirelli's game winner 1:47 into overtime.

"It was a weird game," Cooper said. "I’m not sure, we’re up 5-1 and I don’t think the game felt like we were up 5-1. And it started getting physical there, it kind of gave the crowd a little bit of life, they got a little life. Then they started getting breaks that they probably deserved. From a coach’s perspective, it’s probably one you’re not too happy with but I’m sure the fans were pretty entertained."

Brayden Point scored two more goals for Tampa Bay, lifting his season total to 14. Also scoring for the Lighting was Adam Erne, Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette.

Cirelli gave credit to Alex Killorn for his goal.

“Killer gave me a great pass first off on the 2-on-1 and I kind of fumbled it and it came back to me there," Cirelli said. "I just tried to hold onto it, found a lane to the net and just fired one.”

Cirelli acknowledged the Bolts' third-period troubles.

“I think we kind of stopped skating a little bit," Cirelli said. "They were kind of pouring it on, playing fast, having their D jump. And I think we kind of slowed down, I don’t know what it was. They also got a couple bounces. At the end of the day, we’ve just got to be better and compete for a full 60.”

Goaltender Louis Domingue gave up five goals, but he made 40 saves.

"It’s a bit frustrating to give up five when we have total control of the game," Domingue said. "Not total but we were right there. We gave them life and they took the opportunity and scored some goals. We came up big in overtime and got the game which is important.

“Even though they were going in, I thought I played confident. It’s just unfortunate, especially for me after giving up seven in Arizona I’m trying to gain my stats back and give up the least amount of goals as possible and those hurt a bit. Ultimately, it’s a team game and we got the win which is the reason why we came here.”

The Bolts conclude their four-game road trip in Nashville on Monday night.  The Lightning and Predators drop the puck at 8 p.m.



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