Lightning wins behind seldom-used goalie

by Gary Shelton on May 3, 2021

in general

Sergachev scored the second goal for the Lightning./TIM WIRT

Monday, 3 a.m.

It had been so long that perhaps he forgot the sound of the final whistle. So long that perhaps he wondered if his teammates still did the line of congratulations. So long since he savored the trek back to the locker room.

For Chris Gibson of the Tampa Bay Lightning, it seemed as if it had been two periods longer than forever since he had won a hockey game.

Gibson, a reserve goaltender for the Lightning, played well in goal as the Bolts beat Detroit 2-1 Sunday afternoon. Gibson, 28, had not won since March of 2018 when he was playing for the Islanders.

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Gibson stopped 22 of 23 shots, including a stretch in the third period when the Bolts took three penalties. They played two minutes of a five-on-three power play and killed it.

“It’s awesome," said teammate Blake Coleman. "Gibby is a great teammate, a great competitor. He does the little things that some guys would be complaining about. He’s in there paying the price every day. It’s not easy being in that isolated group and not have the games to enjoy and to experience. He’s been patient. He’s worked hard. I’ve played against him since my days in the minors, and I know he’s a great guy and someone we could rely on if we needed to. He’s one of those guys you root for. Guys were talking between periods: 'Lets get it for Gibby'"

Said Lightning coach Jon Cooper: "He didn’t have a ton of work for the first couple of periods. When we needed him on that five-on-three, he was there for us. Good on him. "

Gibson, playing so the Bolts could give Andrei Vasilevskiy two straight games off, once again had their frustrations offensively. They got off 42 shots, but they scored only in the first period (Coleman) and the second (Mikhail Sergachev). Still, the Bolts remain undefeated (25-0) when leading going into the third period.

"It’s the growth of a team," Cooper said. "To win consistently, you have to close trams out. We found a way."

Tampa Bay returns to Amalie Arena for two games. It plays against Dallas on Wednesday. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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