Bolts finish strong in victory over Stars

by Gary Shelton on September 22, 2020

in general

Point gave the Bolts a 1-0 lead./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

The sizzling first period, when the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that it had finally started the Stanley Cup Finals, is irrelevant.

So, too, is the shaky second period, when a team was bailed out, once again, by its goaltender.

For the Lightning, the focal point of Game Two should be the way the Bolts smothered the Dallas Stars in the late going of a 3-2 victory.

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The Stars managed only five shots in the final period, as the Bolts made a one-goal lead look like plenty as it evened the series.

"There is one thing this team has done, and it’s never put themselves in panic mode," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Instead of trying to protect the lead, they went out there and kind of took it to them. Not  in the sense that we were trying to score, but we were completely engaged and it was really calm on the bench. Our attitude — we don’t go through the waves with the game. There are so many emotions that occur through 60 minutes. it’s easy to get caught up in it. The talk of the bench was to close this one out and they did.”

The Bolts, who had given up the first goal of the game in six straight, finally jumped to a lead. They took a 3-0 first-period lead, getting power play goals from Brayden Point (off a pass from Nikita Kucherov) and from Ondrej Palat (ditto). Kevin Shattenkirk also scored.

Cooper was glad to see the power play return.

“We went back to a familiar group," Cooper said. "It has been streaking. We definitely needed them tonight. They were executing."

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves, 17 in the second period.

The Bolts are now tied in the series at 1-1. They play Game Three at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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