Lightning take impressive road win against Devils

by Gary Shelton on March 15, 2023

in general

Kucherov scored late in the second period./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

As much as a game like this begs for hyperbole, no, the Tampa Bay Lighting wasn't perfect Tuesday night.

But it was close.

The Bolts, who have been in the worst slump of their season -- maybe many seasons -- gathered themselves enough to spank the high-flying New Jersey Devils, 4-1. The Bolts had won just four of their previous 14 games.

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Hagel had a three-point night,/TIM WIRT

On this night, however, they won a rare road game (they're 16-16-1 on the season) in which:

-- They smothered, the Devils, allowing just seven shots in the second period and six in the third.

-- They beat a quality opponent, which hasn't happened lately.

-- They got a short-handed goal from Anthony Cirelli.

-- They got a goal with 0.2 seconds to play in the second period from Nikita Kucherov.

-- They got the 30th win of the season from goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

-- And they won a huge challenge when the Devils appeared to go up 2-0. However, Tomas Tatar was called for goaltender interference.

It was a keeper of a game for the Bolts. Defenseman Ian Cole referred to it as "a blueprint" for the Bolts playing the way they're supposed to play.

"There were some big moments in the game," Cooper said. I looked up and (Kucherov) had the puck at the blue line with five seconds left. The one that popped the balloon was that fourth one."

Vasilevskiy won his 30th game this season, the sixth straight season he has surpassed 30.

Brandon Hagel and Alex Killorn also had goals for the Bolts. It was Hagel's 24th and Killorn’s 21st. Killorn has goals in six of his last seven games.

Steven Stamkos missed the game for the Bolts with a lower body injury.

“This was a couple of steps in the right direction," Cooper said. "When we're struggling, we're our own worst enemy. Tonight, we didn't hurt ourselves."

The Bolts play against New Jersey again on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Vasilevskiy won his 30th game./TIM WIRT

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