By Jake Ricker
The Lightning took on the New York Rangers in their second game of a back-to-back. Andrei Vasilevskiy would start in this one despite playing the night before against the Canadiens. Here are a few things we noticed from each period.
This was an east-west type of game, with both teams picking up chances at either end of the ice. The Lightning were able to control of the beginning of the game, but the Rangers responded in the latter parts of the period. Unfortunately for the Lightning, the Rangers took advantage of the chance the Lightning gave them.
The good news for the Lightning was that they only trailed by one, but they could not keep relying on Vasilevskiy, who already played in last night's game and had to make some excellent saves.
There was a lot happening in the second, with both teams again picking up some good chances. While the Lightning had some extended zone time, Shesterkin was able to hold them off. The Lightning did think they had tied the game early in the period, but Hagel had hand-passed the puck into the net, so the goal was called back.
Vasilevskiy was excellent in this period again, especially on the penalty kill, helping the Lightning stay in this game. It felt like a playoff game and a goaltender's duel, with only one goal entering the back of the net to this point.
The pace of this period increased tenfold. with both teams flying up and down the ice. Again Vasilevskiy had to be stealler when the Rangers pushed and he did exactly that. The Lightning kept pushing and did have some extended zone time.
This is where we again saw the Lightning's top line come through big as Point scored yet again to tie the game. Point, Stamkos, and Kucherov have all been playing some of their best hockey this year which has really helped the Bolts when the bottom six is unable to score. Despite just having the one goal tonite it was a big one and it got the game to Overtime.
3-on-3 only escalated the exciting hockey with quick action at both ends of the rink. Both goalies stood their ground and kept this game tied. Victor Hedman would eventually be called for a penalty after a hard check, and I still don't understand why it was called, giving the Rangers a massive powerplay.
This is probably where Vasy shined the most as despite all three Lightning penalty killers being dead tired Vasilevskiy still made save after save. This is one game where ending in a shootout felt like a crime but that's what was needed to decide a winner. Killorn would score the eventual game winner giving the Lightning a well deserved two points.
1. Vasilevskiy (45SV)
2. Shesterkin (39SV)
3. Point (1G)
The Lightning's next game will be against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, December 31st, at 5 PM ET.
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