Bolts come from behind, win in shootout

by Gary Shelton on December 22, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Namestnikov scores game-tying goal in third period./JEFFREY S. KING

Namestnikov scores game-tying goal in third period./JEFFREY S. KING

Namestnikov has 15 goals on the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 2 a.m.

This year, the Tampa Bay Lightning are so good they can't even be beaten … by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not many other teams, either.

The Lightning allowed an own-goal in the first period, but came back to beat the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, in  a shootout. It was the team's eighth win in its last nine games.

Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored in the shootout period for the Bolts.

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#91 Stamkos after scoring the winning goal (1 of 1)

Stamkos scores the finishing touch in shootout./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay launched 36 shots, including nine by Victor Hedman, seven by Nikita Kucherov and six by Steven Stamkos. Hedman and Kucherov each had two assists.

"Victor in beast mode right now," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "It's been fun to watch. He can take over a game. Right now, he's feeling it. He's a big reason why we come back."

The Bolts outshot Ottawa 26-12 over the last two periods.

Kucherov had two assists for the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Kucherov had two assists for the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

“The second period we really tilted the ice," Cooper said. "Give (Craig) Anderson credit, he was kicking everything out. We finally got one and then we had a bad sort on the back check on the four on four. You need some depth scoring and (Yanni Gourde’s) line really came through there. Then to fall behind early in the third and now time is creeping away, it was nice to see (Vladislav Namestnikov’s) line, they’ve done it for us pretty much all year. They had a really strong game against Vegas and again I thought they had a strong one tonight and they got rewarded.”

Yanni Gourde and Vlad Namestnikov scored goals for the Bolts. Namestnikov scored his 15th to tie the game in the third.

Coach Jon Cooper keeping a watch on the clock (1 of 1)

Cooper's team has won eight of nine./JEFFREY S. KING

“He (Gourde) is more aware of the NHL now," Cooper said. "I think when you first come up, you’re just trying to survive to be honest, and he’s gone kind of the road less traveled. He’s played in a lot of other pro leagues before he got here. But the one thing you can’t take away from him is that he’s fearless and his tenacity.”

Hedman had praise for Namestnikov.

“He’s such a smart player," Hedman said. "He goes to those areas too. He’s in front of the net. He’s battling in corners, and he’s tough to play against. He’s finding a way to produce and score big goals for us. We saw last year before Stammer went down, they had great chemistry for the first 18-20 games so we knew that coming into camp that it was a big possibility that those guys would start again.”

Stamkos has now scored on both of his shootout shots this season.

“I’ll keep (his mindset) a secret in case any other goalies are paying attention to this interview," Stamkos said.
It's no secret that I’ve struggled in the past in the shootout and I’ve had a different approach the last three or four times and it’s worked. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Forward Tyler Johnson praised the effort by Hedman.

“When Heddy’s moving, when he’s skating like he does, he’s a tough guy to hit," Johnson said. "He’s a big guy. He has a long stride that really gets up the ice really well and obviously his offensive gifts of being able to make plays and everything. I’m really glad he’s on our team because he’s be a tough guy to stop.”

The Bolts are home against Minnesota on Saturday night.

#88 Vasilevskiy makes a stop (1 of 1)

Vasilevskiy won his league-leading 22nd game./JEFFREY S. KING





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