Lightning win behind backup goalie

by Gary Shelton on November 7, 2021

in general

Rutta scored a goal for the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

A guy doesn't get a lot of work when he's the backup to Andrei Vasilevskiy. It's mostly scraps and leftovers for whoever the designated backup happens to be.

Saturday afternoon, however, Brian Elliott said hello.

Elliott, who has spent 18 seasons in the NHL after being the next-to-last player drafted in 2003. He is 36 now, on the other side of six 20-win seasons, and with his sixth team.

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And, for a day, he was young again.

Elliott won his first game as a member of the Lightning, stopping Ottawa -- his original team -- in a 5-3 game. Elliott stopped 24 shots, 13 of them in the first period.

“Elliot was there when we needed him in the first  period when I thought Ottawa was strong and had a bunch of chances," Cooper said. "For us to get out of that first period ahead 1-0 was a bonus. It was all because of Elliott."

The Bolts got goals from Victor Hedman, Jan Rutta, Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and an empty-netter from Anthony Cirelli. They had another goal from Mathieu Joseph disallowed. Steven Stamkos was called for pushing a player into goaltender Matt Murray. The Lightning believed Stamkos, too, was pushed.

"Look at Stamkos," Cooper said. "He never touched the blue paint once. For them to say he interfered with we can't go to the net? Now we can't even be around the blue paint? It was a big kill for us (on the penalty). We watched the video. But as a coach, you roll the dice. As a coach. I would challenge that again 100 out of 100 times.

The Bolts took three points out of a possible four on their two-game road trip, but they still had lapses when they didn't get as much as they should from their effort. For instance, Ottawa had just five shots in the second period, but they scored two goals to tie things up.

"We thought we deserved a little better fate," Cooper said. "Both of their goals were unforced errors by us. It was a big thing for us to come out in the third and not chase the game even when it was tied."

The Bolts are home on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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