This time, Lightning survives third period

by Gary Shelton on November 8, 2023

in general

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

They wobbled. They teetered. They staggered.

But this time, the Tampa Bay Lightning did not fall down.

Once again, they had a four-goal first period. Once again, they saw the other team charge back. Once again, doubt was in the air.

This time, the Bolts held on to beat the Montreal Canadiens, 5 -3. Montreal trimmed a four-goal deficit to two in teh third period before scoring with 18 seconds left to make the final score close.

Matt Tomkins, the 29-year-old rookie, won his first-ever NHL game for the Bolts, stopping 23 of 26 shots.

Tompkins, thw 199rh pixk in rhw 2017, completed a journey that was years, and miles, in the making. He has played for the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL. He has playeld for the Indy Fueldof the ECHL. He played for Frollunda HC and Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League.

That's a lot of pucks form a lot of directions. Finally, he ha a win, and it came in the Bell Centre.

“What a thrill," said Lilghtning coach Jon Cooper. "If you were going to draw it up, I’m not sure  you could draw it up any better than that. Getting to play in the bell center against the Canadiens -- that’s your first NHL win. The guys were thrilled for him.

"The fact that he's kept his dream alive for all these years should be an inspirtation to a lot of people."

The Bolts scored four in the first period for the second straight night. Nikita Kucherov, who leads the NHL in scoring with 22 points, scored the first goal.

 Nick Paul scored twice for the Bolts. Also getting goald were Alex Barre-Boulet and Mikey Eyssimont.

The Bolts are home against Chicago on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

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