Lightning finally has the look of a winner

by Gary Shelton on October 27, 2021

in general

Vasilevskiy was close to a shutout./JEFFERY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

There was something familiar about them, something that you might swear you had seen before. Maybe it was in the way they carried themselves. Maybe it was in the way they didn't back up.

The kid in goal? You've seen a guy play like that, like King Kong swatting away airplanes.

The defense turning into snipers? That was straight out of the memory banks, too. Right?

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And the two goals in 10 seconds. You've seen that kind of juice before, haven't you?

Yeah, finally, you can call off the search party. The Tampa Bay Lightning has been found.

The Lightning, off to a sluggish start, finally looked like a champion on Tuesday night in a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh. The Bolts had only won twice -- both on comebacks and both finished off in overtime -- this season.

Tuesday night was different, however. The Bolts had a different energy. Granted, the Penguins were playing without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but they were without both when they mashed the Bolts on opening night, 6-2.

This time, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was sharp in goal, missing a shutout only when Pittsburgh scored with 2:17 left on a power play goal. Except for that, Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 29 goals.

:There was a lot of talk about backs to backs and how hard they are," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Sometimes you need a back to back. They did."

Brayden Point gave the Lightning their first lead of the season when he scored 31 seconds into the second period. Later in the period, Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh scored in a 10-second span to give the Bolts a 3-0 lead.

Mikhail Sergachev and Alex Killorn both scored empty netters at the end.

The Bolts next play at home at Amalie Arena against winless Arizona on Thursday night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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