Bolts successful in their return to ice

by Gary Shelton on August 4, 2020

in general

Kucherov scored in regulation and the shootout./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Is this really the Stanley Cup playoffs?

No fans? A three-on-three overtime? A shootout (the first in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs)?

To the Tampa Bay Lightning, it doesn't matter. After 806 days without a playoff victory, the team was pleased to take whatever post-season victory it could. The team hadn't played a game in 146 days.

The Bolts won a 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Caps (their last victim, as well, before it lost in the Eastern Conference finals) Monday in Toronto.

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The Lightning lost a 2-0 lead in regulation, but overcame a 1-0 deficit in the shootout on Nikita Kucherov's winner.

"This was not a playoff game," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "In saying that, wer'e happy with the win. Happy with a lot of things that happened in this game. there were a lot of things to build on. I think both teams have more in them."

The Bolts got regulation goals from Kucherov and Mitchell Stephens, then shootout goals from Brayden Point and Kucherov.

For the Bolts, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 31 of 33 shots and two more in the shootout.

"It felt like a playoff game," said Yanni Gourde. "There was a lot of hitting, a lot of intensity. It really felt like a playoff game."

The Bolts play Boston in their round-robin game on Wednesday afternoon.

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