By Jake Ricker
The Lightning played in their fifth and final preseason game today but finally got to play on home ice. Home ice was defiantly a help for the Bolts as they took down the Panthers by a final score of 5-2. Here were the lines for the game:
Hagel - Point - Kucherov
Koepke - Paul - Killorn
Perry - Namestnikov - Colton
Maroon - Bellemare - Fortier
Hedman - Cernak
Cole - Myers
Fleury - Foote
The Lightning would start this game off with an early power play as the Panthers were called for hooking. The Lightning power play was locked In today, as Kucherov rifled one from the right circle to give them a 1-0 lead. The Panthers didn't let the early goal rattle them, though, as they Marched right back and tied the game up.
The Panthers kept their foot on the gas, picking up multiple chances. Vasilevskiy found a way to hold them off and keep this game tied at one. The Lightning then responded as Vlad Namestnikov snuck one in top shelf to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead.
It was an offensive period with the Panthers again quickly responding, but this time Vasilevskiy came up with a huge save against a Panthers 3 on 2. We then got some four-on-four action with matching minors being handed out for roughing. Neither team could take advantage as time expired on the penalties.
The Lightning then got a late power play opportunity that then turned into a 5-on-3. And the Lightning power play was clicking as Namestnikov scored his second of the night, giving the Lightning a 3-1 lead. The period would then come to a close, with the Lightning leading by two.
The Panthers came out strong in the second looking to cut the deficit to one. But it was the Lightning would strike first as Namestnikov scored again for a 4-1 lead and a natural hat trick. The goalpost then got a workout with the puck ringing off the pipes on both ends of the ice.
Hayden Fleury then defected a puck away from a Panthers forward, but unfortunately, the puck bounced over Vasilevskiy, making it a 4-2 hockey game. Both teams then battle back and forth, with Vasilevskiy and Spencer Knight standing tall in net.
Time quickly ticked down in the rest of the second, and the Lightning would head into the final 20 minutes with a two-goal lead.
The Lightning looked to try and close this game out, but they would have to kill off an early penalty as Namestninov was called for tripping. Hagel then made a steal and got a shorthanded breakaway chance, but he was stopped by Knight. The Lightning killed off the rest of the penalty and got back to full strength. The Lightning then quickly countered with a chance of their own, and Braydon Point tapped the puck into the net for a 5-2 lead.
The Lightning then locked things down and made sure the Panthers could not get back into this game. Both teams would pick up a few more chances, but time would run out, and the Lightning would pick up their first win of the preseason.
A well rounded, well played game. Namestnikov netted a hat trick and the offense as a whole was clicking. Vasilevskiy was himself in net and the Lightning picked up their first preseason win. can't ask for much more than that.
Three Stars Via NHL.com
1. Namestnikov (3G,1A)
2. Perry (3A)
3. Kucherov (1G,1A)
The Lightning's next game will be the regular season opener on Tuesday, October 11th at 7:30 PM ET against the Rangers.
Want to start your journalism career by writing about the Tampa Bay Lightning? Send us a message via our contact form located in the upper right-hand corner under the more tab, or send us a message via Twitter to get started.