Bolts face Game Seven after overtime loss

by Gary Shelton on June 24, 2021

in general

Point's goal streak reached nine games./CHUCK MULLER

Thursday, 4 a.m.

They were on the doorstep of the Stanley Cup Finals...and they lost.

They had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period, and they had what they believe to be the league's finest goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy...and they lost.

They entered the third period with a lead, which is usually a precursor to victory....and they lost.

The Tampa Bay Lighting let a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals slip through their fingers Wednesday night. The New York Islanders rallied from a deficit to overcome the Bolts and win, 3-2, on a goal by Anthony Beauvillier 68 seconds into overtime.

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The Bolts now play a game seven, something they didn't have to do in last season's Stanley Cup run.

Tampa Bay lost star forward Nikita Kucherov 46 second into the game after he suffered a cross-check.

"There’s no replacing Kuch," said Steven Stamkos. "He’s had an unbelievable playoff for us. He’s so lethal out there. I thought (Ondrej Palat) filled in great. We had some great chances on that last power play. It sucks to lose Kuch, but guys battle."

Stamkos said the referee said he didn't make a call on the Kucherov play because "it wasn't malicious." Cooper said he didn't hear that, but added "I don’t think that’s in the rule that a cross-check has to be malicious."

It was only the second time all year the Bolts have lost when entering the third period with a lead. The Bolts were 37-1 when leading after two periods (regular season and playoffs)

"I didn’t mind our game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We got up two, we had couple of mistakes and they end up in the nt. It wasn’t like we were under siege at all. It wasn’t like they were getting big scoring chances. But when we made mistakes, it just would wind up in the net."

The Islanders won, partially, because they were the better team going down the stretch.

“They had more speed in the third than we did," said Brayden Point of the Lightning. "They were a little quicker to pucks. They capitalized on their chances."

Point scored the Bolts' first goal, giving him a goal in nine straight games. That's the second longest streak in the history of the NHL, one behind Reggie Leach, who had 10 in 1976 for the Flyers.

Anthony Cirelli scored the Bolts' second goal.

After that, however, the Bolts didn't add a knockout goal.

Game Seven will be played Friday night at Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 p.m.

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