Cirelli’s late goal lifts Bolts over Stars

by Gary Shelton on February 12, 2023

in general

Cirelli scored twice to lead the Bolts./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Even without goals, Anthony Cirelli has earned his ice time with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He does the dirty work. He plays defense. He moves the puck. He is a pest to the opposing team.

On Saturday, however, he was complete.

Cirelli scored two goals, one with just 43 seconds to play, to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-1 road victory over the Dallas Stars.

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Vasilevskiy has allowed one goal in two games./TIM WIRT

Cirelli, who missed the start of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery, had scored just three goals on the season entering Saturday's game. But he scored his first on a nice move after a breakaway, then won the game by wading through two Dallas defenders to tap in a pass from Victor Hedman as the game seemed to be headed to overtime.

"I didn’t see it," Cirelli said. "He just put it right on my stick. I was just kind of lucky I got there at the same time."

Brandon Hagel added an empty netter for the final margin.

It was the 500th assist for Hedman.

“I couldn’t really reach around," Hedman said. "I was kind of off-balance. I knew we had guys in front. I was hoping to hit a stick or a skate or something. "I didn't see him touch it, but a great play by him."

The game included the second straight solid performance from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 28 shots. Vasilevskiy has allowed just one goal in his last two games.

Tampa Bay was able to avoid going below .500 on the road with the win. The Bolts are now 13-12 on the season.

The Bolts are at Colorado on Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

Hedman set up the winning goal./TIM WIRT

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