Bolts beat Buffalo on a shot by … Paquette?

by Gary Shelton on November 30, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Paquette scored the game-winner for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

As a player, he is best known for blood on his knuckles. Usually, it is not his blood.

Cedric Paquette is the instigator, the pest, the irritant. He will shove, and he will slash, and he will venture in the corners where the faint of heart dare not go. He knows his way to the penalty box a lot better than his way to the scoreboard.

And yet, in the key moment of a huge game Thursday night, Paquette was a sniper.

Paquette launched a blistering shot with 5:41 to play, lifting the Bolts to a 5-4 comeback win over Buffalo. The win regained first place in the NHL for the Bolts, who are 18-7-1 on the season.

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Stamkos pulled the Bolts into a tie./CARMEN MANDATO

Paquette has known his role with the Lightning, but it usually isn't scoring. In his last four seasons, he's scored no more than six goals per season. But his winner Thursday night was his fifth of this season.

"It was great to see Ceddy get the winner," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I thought he had an outstanding game tonight. That line was great, and they just got rewarded for it at the end."

Killorn had a goal for Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Said Paquette: “It’s a great feeling. We’ve played good all year, but to see that shot go in against a team like that is a good feeling.”

The Bolts and Sabres swapped the lead five times. The Bolts got goals from Dan Girardi, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov and Stamkos before Paquette's winner. Stamkos pulled the Bolts from a 4-3 deficit to a tie.

"We did everything we could, probably a little tough, 3-3 going into the room after two," Cooper said. "It was one of those games where we go into the room probably thinking we deserve a little better fate but it's not the case and then we go down 4-3. But the guys were extremely positive on the bench. They felt this was a game we could win and we deserved to win and when the power play kind of sputtered a little bit in the first two periods they got the huge one and we needed it. Big-time goal by 91."

The Bolts cooled down a Sabres team that had won 10 straight.

"They were the top team in the league," Girardi said. "Coming into our building wanting to send a message. I thought it was a really good first period for us, really physical, in each other's faces. It was kind of like a playoff atmosphere in there. The fans were into it, and it was a really enjoyable game out there."

Goatender Louie Domingue stopped 18 of 22 shots for the evening. He is now 9-4 on the season.

The Bolts lost defenseman Ryan McDonagh to injury in the game.

"He played four and half minutes, so now you’re down to five (defensemen) and still to put up the defensive numbers we put up for that game," Cooper said. "To hold them to a pretty low shot total and low scoring chance total is a tribute to the guys back there and how we defended. They caught a couple breaks here and there and that's what happens, but the PK came up huge. You know, it was just your run-of-the-mill Tampa-Buffalo game."

The Lightning travels to Sunrise to play against the Florida Panthers Saturday night. The puck drops at 7 p.m.



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