Lightning survives collapse against Flyers in OT win

by Gary Shelton on December 28, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Cirelli (71) makes a drop pass to Killorn for the winner./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

Remember the start. Remember the stars. Remember the finish.

The third period? That, you might want to forget.

The Tampa Bay Lightning was involved in one of those top-of-the-castle, final-reel, swordfight duels Thursday night and survived, 6-5 in overtime, against the Philadelphia Flyers. Alex Killorn scored the winner 18 seconds into overtime, finishing a game that featured the Bolts' headliners. Steven Stamkos scored two goals, and Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson  also scored.

But despite the fireworks, the Bolts blew a 5-2 lead in the third period and saw the Flyers force overtime. It was almost an identical game as the first time the Bolts faced Philadelphia, blew a 5-1 lead and won in overtime on a goal by Anthony Cirelli.

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Vasileskiy gave up five goals, but upped his record to 4-0-1 as of late./TIM WIRT

This time, Cirelli made the steal and a nice drop pass to Killorn for the winner.

The Lightning has scored points in 13 straight games. They are 15-1-1 in their last 17 games.

Stamkos celebrates one of his goals with the crowd./TIM WIRT

"The guy you're upset for is the goaltender," Lightning coach Jon Cooper sad. "He's really the unsung hero. He always gets a lot of praise. When you win other games when you played solid defensively, you really get tapped on the back. It's fortunate that we regrouped after and found a way."

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy ran his record to 4-0-1 since returning from his injury. He stopped 28 of 33 shots.

"This is going to be one of those wins where you're more disappointed than you're happy," said Stamkos, who scored his 21st and 22nd goals. "It's tough to get two points in this league, so we'll certainly take it and continue the run that we're on. The message is that there is a lot to be shown tomorrow that we'll improve on like how we stuck with them once they did tie it. That's not the way we go about our business in this room with how things have gone this year. We'll look to correct some things."

Point scored a goal against the Flyers./TIM WIRT

Said Kucherov: "It’s unacceptable (blowing the lead). We have to manage the game. We have to play the right way the whole 60 minutes and don’t let them fuel the game and get back in the game. We just have to learn from that and be better the next game.”

The Bolts are now 29-7-2 on the season. And statistically, the Bolts are lighting up the league.

Consider: Entering Thursday night's game, Kucherov was second in the league in points. Point was 11th in goals and Stamkos 13th (they're now tied). Ryan McDonagh was tied for second in plus-minus. Vasilevskiy was second in save percentage.

Most of all, there has been Stamkos, who now has a league-high 14 goals in December, his high for a month.

"He has a lot of goals and a lot of points in this league," Cooper said. "He has that

Kucherov has 18 points in the month./TIM WIRT

because he has the ability to do that and he can sniff out offensive situations. There's certain guys and every team has one or two of them, and we have another few of them. Pucks have eyes for him."

As for Thursday night, think of it as an adventure movie. The team had its share of perils, but it won in the end.

"Obviously, there are things (we need) to learn from it," Point said. "We did what we came here to do. It was ugly for sure. There were five or 10 minutes where they were taking it to us."

The Bolts have won nine of their last 10 games at home. They play at Amalie Arena again Saturday night against Montreal. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

Victor Hedman controls the puck in the third period./TIM WIRT





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