Bolts come from behind to beat Knights

by Gary Shelton on December 22, 2023

in general

Hagel fired up the Bolts./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

They are not consistent enough, not dangerous enough. There are too many nights there are holes in the defense, a lack of sizzle on the bottom lines. There are times the Tampa Bay Lightning seems ordinary.

Then there are nights like Thursday, when the Bolts show they still have some DNA leftover from their championship years.

The Bolts had a keep-it effort against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the league’s defending champions, in a 5-4 victory. The Bolts were aggressive and resilient in the game, falling behind 2-0 and coming from behind.

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Paul scored the winning goal with 78 seconds left./TIM WIRT

Along the way:

— Brayden Point had two goals, his 15th and 16th.

— Nick Paul scored the winning goal with 1:13 to play.

— Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves, including two point-blankets in the final six seconds.

— Brandon Hagel fired up his team and the fans with a second-period fight, his first of the season.

“It took it from Game 33 to a playoff game,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You want your team to show emotion. Hags most definitely brought the team into the fight tonight, no pun intended.”

The Knights had taken a 2-0 lead on goals by Jonathan Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev, and Vegas seemed to be rushing toward its 22nd win of the year. But the Bolts answered with four second period goals — one by Alex Barre-Boulet, one by Nikita Klucherov ((his 23rd) and two by Point.

Vegas came back in the third to tie the game on another goal by Marchessault and Paul Cotter. But Paul scored his 11th goal with 73 seconds left to play.

The Bolts play at Washington at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.

Point had two goals./TIM WIRT

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