Bolts edge Bruins by doing the little things

by Gary Shelton on January 27, 2023

in general

Vasilevskiy crashed into by Taylor Hall./TIM WIRT

If it was a statement game, well, the Tampa Bay Lightning still has a lot to say about the NHL race.

The Lightning played one of their crispest games of the season Thursday night, beating the high-powered Boston Bruins 3-2. The Bruins have laid waste to the league this season, entering with a 37-5-4 record.

It was the Bolts' 11th straight win on home ice, a franchise record.

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Hagel celebrates his goal./TIM WIRT

The Bolts, however, did most of the little things well in their victory. They scored the game's only power-play goal, they had more hits, won more face-offs and had more takeaways in the game.

Victor Hedman scored the winning goal in the third period, slapping the puck past Linus Ullmark, who was plowed into by teammate Brandon Carlo.

“This whole week is a big test for us," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "These are all playoff caliber teams. They’re big, they’re heavy, skilled, It’s a test. So far we’re doing pretty darned well on the test. Not just because we’ve won, but how we’ve played. It hasn’t been a fire drill. We’ve played sound , structured hockey."

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy won his 22nd game -- three behind Ullmark, stopping 37 of 39 shots. It was the fourth straight game Vasilevskiy has stopped more than 30 shots.

Also scoring for the Bolts were Brandon Hagel and Nikita Kucherov, who also had two assists. It was his ninth three-point game of the season.

“Look at some of the games we’ve lost this year," Cooper said. "Sure, we’ve been beaten, but I can give you a bunch where we beat ourselves. I think when you have the record Boston has and you look at the way they’ve played. They play the same way for 60 minutes and they don’t care what’s going on."

The Bolts play at Amalie Arena on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Hedman scored winning goal./TIM WIRT

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