Hedman leads Lightning to win over Kings

by Gary Shelton on January 19, 2022

in general

Hedman had two goals for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

They were going to have to work overtime. They were a long way from home. They were facing a quality opponent. Yeah, things were going to be tough, all right.

And Victor Hedman couldn't wait.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning down to four defensemen -- a number usually reserved for a card game -- Hedman had perhaps his finest game of the season Tuesday night, leading the short-handed Bolts to a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Hedman scored two goals, had an assists and load 32 minutes and 38 seconds of ice time in the game. The other three healthy defensemen -- Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev and Cal Foote -- all had at least 25 minutes. All four of them skated at least 30 shifts.

Not that it was a hardship for Hedman.

"You can look at it and feel sorry for yourself or you can look at as an opportunity," Hedman said. "That’s the way we approached it today.

“I had trouble napping today. I was pretty excited. It's something new. I was really excited about it, knowing we were going to be out there every other shift. You wouldn’t want to do it on a regular bases, but for one game it was kind of fun to measure yourselves and see what you can do."

The Bolts also got goals from from Nikita Kucherov, Pierre-Edourd Bellemare (shorthanded), Matthieu Joseph and Steven Stamkos (empty net). The goal by Stamkos came on a day he was voted as the last man into the upcoming All-Star game.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 of 36 shots (two of the Kings goals came after turnovers) for his 23rd win of the season.

The game, however, will be remembered by Hedman, who could be looking at his second Norris Award as the league's best defender.

“When you’re filling out those ballots, he should be on it every year," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "Tonight was game number 41. the halfway point of our seaosn. When you play 82 games things can get stale at times. Situations like this are someting new. It's clearly not ideal, but he was really excited for this challenge. There’s guys who rise to the challenge, and guys who don’t. HE just fins a way to rise to the occasion."

The Bolts remain on the west coast. They will play in Anaheim against the Ducks on Friday night. The game is scheduled to start at 10 p.m.

Previous post:

Next post: