Bolts open season with late victory

by Gary Shelton on October 11, 2023

in general

Paul scored two goals./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

He remains a question mark. No one really knows how Jonas Johansson will measure up in the goal mouth of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But if the NHL season is an exam, well, Johansson got the first question right.

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Johansson, filling in for the injured Andrei Vasilevskiy, stopped 28 shots and played well in the Bolts’ season-opening 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators. The Bolts finished the game strong, scoring four goals in the third period to win.

Vasilevskiy, who underwent back surgery and will miss several weeks, had been perhaps the strongest part of the Bolts. With him in net, the Lightning felt it had a chance in every game. Often, they were right.

"His game was quiet," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "He made himself big. He wasn't erratic. When the heat got turned up, his heart rate didn't go up. You'd have to say passed the test."

Nick Paul and Nikita Kucherov each scored twice for the Bolts, Kucherov finishing it off with an empty netter. Brandon Hagel scored the team’s other goal on a penalty shot.

Forward Brayden Point had three assists.

The Bolts led 1-0, but then fell behind 2-1 before their rally to win. Tampa Bay outshot the Reds 15-2 after one period, gut then had only five themselves in the second.

The Bolts travel to Detroit Saturday night to play at 7:10 p.m.

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