Bolts rebound for win behind Elliott

by Gary Shelton on March 5, 2022

in general

Elliott has been good despite inactivity./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

They took Brian Elliott out of storage again Friday night. Uncrated him and hauled him out of the closet. Who knows when we will see him again?

The Tampa Bay Lightning doesn't let Elliott, their back-up (way back) goaltender, play very often. Most nights, he sits around and watches Andrei Vasilevskiy shine. But every now and then, they let the Moose loose.

Usually, it works out just fine.

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Point scored his 22nd goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Elliott, a 36-year-old veteran with six 20-win seasons behind him, has been very good in his guest appearances. He is now 6-2-2, counting Friday night's 3-1 victory over Detroit at Amalie Arena. Elliott stopped 22 of 23 shots, allowing only a goal when the puck dribbled between his legs and leaked into the goal.

That was only the Wings' second shot of the second period. They had gone almost 11 minutes without a shot before that.

So how does a goalie stay focused?

"I think it’s the little things you say to yourself," Elliott said. "Your swing thoughts. You try to stay loose in between whistles when you can. Sometimes, in games like tonight's, it’s still intense and you don’t feel like you’ve been out of it even though they haven’t been shooting. I definitely didn’t feel bored back there."

Elliott had not started a game for the Bolts since Feb. 11.

"With the break there in February, he hasn’t  seen action in awhile," said teammate Ryan McDonagh. "He’s the ultimate pro as far as staying ready, keeping himself dialed in. There's no question he was huge tonight."

If nothing else, the Bolts have shown they can take a punch. In back-to-back games, they are 1-6 in the first game, but 6-0-1 in the second.

The Lightning had goals from Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev and an empty-netter from Steven Stamkos. All three of their goals came on power plays.

The Bolts now play road games in 10 of their next 11 contests, starting Sunday at 7 p.m. against Chicago.

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