Lightning Bend But Don’t Break, Hold Off Late Rally To Defeat Kings

Vasilevskiy’s Solid Performance Key To Victory

The Tampa Bay Lightning jumped to a 4-1 lead  after two periods, but had to hold on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Saturday night.

“What makes us a team that can burn you, is that we’re a team that can make plays.” Said Jon Cooper. “There’s a time you have got to stop making the plays and you have got to do the right thing to lock down a game and we have not figured it out yet.

“It’s still make the play, make the play, make the play, we want to score on every shift. The whole point of getting the 4-1 lead is to get the 4-1 lead. Then lock it down after that, it’s a hard league to score in.”

Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette, and Nikita Kucherov each scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy was relied upon to make 43 saves to secure the win.

“Well, he definitely pulled this one out for us, and that’s not the way it should be.” Anton Stralman said about relying on Vasilevskiy. “Going into a third period with the lead we had, depending on him that much that’s not fair. That is not good enough.”

Captain Steven Stamkos also applauded Vasilevskiy’s play, “He’s been unbelievable all year. We’re not too surprised of how well he is. We’re just a little concerned with him having to make too many of those big saves. We need to tighten a lot of things up.”

With the win the Tampa Bay Lightning sweep the season two-game series with the Kings and improve to 38-14-3 (79-points). It’s the fourth straight win for Tampa Bay over the Kings.

Jonny Brodzinski, Kyle Clifford, Christian Folin scored for the Kings who fall to 30-20-5 (65-points) on the year.

“We played hard tonight, asked our guys to come out here against a good hockey team and play the game the right way, and I thought for the most part we did.” Coach John Stevens said. “They’re a very opportunistic team, a turnover early and a quick play on it hurt us, had to chase the game a little bit.”

Lightning Raise Banner For Lecavalier:

The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Vincent Lecavalier with the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NHL Draft. He had 949 points (421 goals, 528 assists) in 1,212 games with the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Kings.

The four-time All-Star won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and the Maurice Richard Trophy as the League’s top goal-scorer with 52 in 2006-07, when he set a Lightning record with 108 points. Lecavalier’s 383 goals are also a Tampa Bay record.

Prior to the game on Saturday night, the Lightning officially retired his number and raised it to the rafters alongside teammate Marty St. Louis’ number 26.

Sergachev Injury Scare, Brown To Face Discipline?

Mikhail Sergachev had to leave the game at the 14:30 mark of the second period after a knee-to-knee collision initiated by Dustin Brown. Brown was given a 5-minute major and ejected from the game. Sergachev returned in the third period.

It’s not the first time Brown has been involved in a questionable hit. He was fined $10,000 on Jan. 19 for cross-checking Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz. It’s a good bet that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will take a look at this play as well.

Vasy With Save Of The Year?

Anze Kopitar, and many other LA Kings, will be having nightmares of Andrei Vasilevskiy for awhile.

Lightning Notes:

  • Steven Stamkos scored the games first goal, his 21st of the year, just 1:05 into the game. He later added an assist on Alex Killorn‘s goal.  It marked his 18th multi-point game of the season (186th career).
  • Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson each picked up an assist on Stamkos’ goal.
  • Milestone: Gourde picked up his 50th career NHL point and extended his point streak to five games (3-5–8).  He has points in eight of his last nine games (6-5–11).
  • Tyler Johnson has four assists in his last three games.
  • Alex Killorn scored his ninth goal of the season. He has picked up 8-points (4-4–8) over his last six games.
  • Steven Stamkos and Braydon Coburn picked up assists on Killorn’s goal.
  • Cedric Paquette, a healthy scratch the previous four games, scored his second goal of the season. It was his first goal since January 2nd at Toronto.
  • Ryan Callahan picked up an assist on Paquette’s goal, his seventh helper of the season.
  • Up Next: Tampa Bay heads back on the road for a brief two game trip. They open in Toronto on Monday night against the Maple Leafs. On Tuesday, they travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres.
  • Nikita Kucherov scored his 29th goal of the season 13 seconds into a 5-minute power play issued to Dustin Brown. The goal extends Kucherov’s point streak to four against the Kings (4-3–7).
  • Victor Hedman picked up an assist on Kucherov’s goal. It was his 29th assist on the season.

 

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I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.