Lightning rallies late to edge Predators in OT

by Gary Shelton on January 24, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos scored the tying goal with 2:12 left to play.

Stamkos scored the tying goal with 2:12 left to play./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

They lurched. They stumbled. They reeled and they almost fell.

In the end, however, the Tampa Bay Lightning ended up with a step in the right direction.

With 133 seconds to play, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked as if it was on its way to another defeat, this one against the Nashville Predators. They had surrendered a controversial goal to P.K. Subban. They trailed 3-1, and they seemed bound to lose their sixth game in nine tries.

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Namestnikov scored a goal for the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Namestnikov scored a goal for the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Then Steven Stamkos scored on a one-timer with 2:12 to play to force overtime, and Yanni Gourde scored his 16th goal to win it in overtime by a score of 4-3..

“The goal scoring has been different than I’m used to this year with the assists," Stamkos said. "Anytime time you go on a little drought like I was just in, it’s frustrating. I’ve just been trying to play the game the right way. It was kind of extra special to get a goal that meant that much and then to get the monkey off my back so to say.

Kunitz  has two goals in two nights./CARMEN MANDATO

Kunitz has two goals in two nights./CARMEN MANDATO

“Those are the ones you don’t even feel, it’s like when  you hit a golf ball or hit a tennis shot and it just fires off the stick. I was just hoping that it was in. I heard not the typical post sound so I knew it probably hit something in the back but it was in and out quick. It was nice to score a goal that meant something. It was timely, and obviously, I’ll take it.”

Chris Kunitz said it was a huge goal for the Lightning.

“I think everybody in the building felt it when we scored a goal to tie it up with I think two-and-a-half minutes left or whatever it was," Kunitz said. "He’s such an elite talent, a guy with the ability to change the game with a shot and you can see it there. He had other chances tonight and they didn’t find its way, but all he needed was one more and the patented one-timer from that side of the ice.”

The Bolts won for the second time behind backup goalie Louis Domingue. He had 30 saves.

“He’s played a couple games for us and he’s been instrumental in winning both of them," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "If you’re going to win games, usually you need your goalie to make a couple saves, and he had to make more than a couple. Good for him.”

The first period was the hardest for the Bolts.

“Honestly, that was one of the toughest first periods I’ve ever been a part of," Domingue said. "They were coming but we blocked shots. Sometimes they make plays on the back door and I was diving, everybody was diving and we were making blocks. It was just an awesome effort.

"We got away from our game a bit, but we found our swagger back and it showed tonight with a big character win.”

Chris Kunitz scored his second goal in two nights for the Lightning. Vlad Namestnikov also scored.

"We knew it wasn’t going to be easy," Stamkos said. "We don’t have Heddy (Victor Hedman). We don’t have Pally (Ondrej Palat). Those are two huge pieces. Pecs (Matthew Peca) and Bournie (Michael Bournival) came up, Koeks  (Slater Koekkoek) and (Andrej) Sustr in the lineup, guys have stepped up. It was frustrating there for a while, but this group believes in itself and we just wanted to stay positive and just give ourselves a chance to be in game, not beat ourselves by trying to do too much by forcing plays. I thought after the first 10 minutes we calmed down and just gave ourselves a chance to win the game. Lou made some big saves and we were able to get some timely goals and nice to see us get rewarded.”

Cooper seemed frustrated by Subban's goal.

“Right when I think I've figured the standard out..." Cooper said. "The player comes," Cooper said. "He knocks our goalie and spins him around, clearly before the puck’s even in the net, I don’t know. Look at it this way, I thought it was 100% goalie interference and I guarantee on their bench they’re sitting thinking, ‘This could go 50-50.’ So, turn the page...”

The Lightning is at Philadelphia on Thursday. The puck drops at 7 p.m.








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