Bolts come back to beat Detroit behind Pasquale

by Gary Shelton on December 5, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Mathieu Joseph had a big night for the Bolts./STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Lately, the Tampa Bay Lightning has had ownership of the Detroit Red Wings. And so you can't blame the Bolts for giving the Red Wings a chance Tuesday night.

I know. Let's play the game in Detroit. Hockeytown, you know? Home ice should give the Wings a nice push, right? Despite six straight losses to the Lightning in Detroit.

And let's give you a break in goal. Andrei Vasilevskiy is hurt, and Louis Domingue is tired after 11 straight starts. So let's give the night to Eddie Pasquale, a minor league lifer who was playing his first game in the NHL.

And let's keep Brayden Point, the second-leading scorer in the league, off of the scoreboard.

And let's let Detroit's Frans Nielsen get a hat trick.

And we'll give the Wings a 2-0 lead, and let the Lightning tie it up, and then we'll give them another two-goal lead.

No, not enough? Given all that, and Detroit still lost Monday night when Nikita Kucherov scored in a shootout for a 6-5 win.  It was the 13th straight time that Tampa Bay has beaten the Red Wings. Tampa Bay is now 21-7-1 on the season.

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Paquette scored to force overtime./CARMEN MANDATO

The Lightning won behind 28-year-old Eddie Pasquale, who was making his first appearance in an NHL game after a decade in the minors. He has played for five teams, and he missed the 2015 season after surgery. He stopped 19 of 24 shots and two in the shootout.

“It’s a feeling unlike any other," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I remember, and it’s completely different, vividly the first game in the NHL I coached. We went around the room a little bit today and guys were talking about their first games.

"This is one you’ll never forget. Being around a little bit, you just know how hard it is for these guys to get here. Some of these guys step in to the league at 18 years old. It took him 10 more years to get in here and get that shot. I know he had a bunch of friends and family in the stands, do it right by home, couldn’t be happier for him.”

It was the kind of night that made a long journey to get here worth it.

“You play in the American League, you’re playing at a high level," Cooper said. "When he came to us, he was solid in the minors, to the point where he was playing playoff games. He’s done this before. I saw him earlier in his career when I was coaching Norfolk and he was in Saint John’s and he was outstanding. Sometimes you’ve just got to wait for your chance. And if there’s a story about perseverance and sticking it out to fulfill your dream, wherever that’s going to take you, he’s the poster child for that right now.”

Pasquale enjoyed his night despite giving up so many goals.

“I didn’t expect to give up five goals and get a win, but at the end of the day, this team has so much scoring power that you’ve just got to fight through," Pasquale said. "It was one of those games a couple nice goals, a couple crappy ones, but I held in there and we got a win.

“It’s an emotional day. I’m glad my family was here to come and watch. It was close enough to home that they could come. It was one of those games where I waited nine years. I didn’t expect to give up five in my first one. I kind of wanted a bit better performance, but it’s the NHL. That’s what happens.”

Teammates didn't blame Pasquale, however.

"It’s awesome," forward Mathieu Joseph said. "Shootout in your first game is pretty nerve-racking, and I think he handled it pretty well. Tough bounce in the first, and we gave them some Grade-As. The goals he gave he couldn’t really do anything. Props to him. I think he deserves to be here and he deserved to have that start. He’s been playing good in Syracuse and is a great guy and he deserves it.”

Joseph, third among NHL rookies in scoring, had two goals and a key assist to Cedric Paquette for the goal to force overtime. Paquette has three goal  in his last our games.

"We needed him tonight," Cooper said. "His speed was a big equalizer for us. You’re going shorthanded there with under six to go, it was talked about on the bench, if you can, we’ve got to go, and that’s why he was out there. And obviously a big reason we scored that goal. Again, you’re getting it from different players all the time. And that’s a sign good things are probably happening for you.”

Said Joseph: “I think we needed one, honestly. Coop said on the bench if we can try to get one there, we have to try. I kind of saw the guy was on the ice for a little bit, so I kind of tried to get first and great follow up by Ceddy. He’s hot lately. He’s been scoring some huge goals in the third period and he gets rewarded by his hard work tonight for sure.”

Besides Joseph and Paquettte, the Bolts got goals from Steven Stamkos and J.T. Miller.

The Bolts trailed 1-0, 2-0, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-3 before their rally. It was the fifth time this season the Lightning has come from behind to win.

“It’s not the ideal recipe," Cooper said of giving up five goals. "You look at our game as a whole, they get two in 21 seconds in the first but in the end we gave up 11 shots in the last two periods. I think we outshot them 29-11 in the last two periods. We felt good about our game. Issue was, we gave up some point-blankers and they ended up going in. The guys stuck with it. There was a lot to our game we liked, obviously the final score. But the guys are finding a way. It’s not the ideal recipe but the ideal recipe is to win and that’s what they did.”

Tampa Bay now returns home to play the Boston Bruins Thursday night at Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.













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