The Tampa Bay lightning played their first game at home in 21 days Tuesday night and although they started slow with some turnovers and sloppy play, they got better throughout the game and beat the Vegas Golden knights 4-2.
If not for the play of Andrei Vasilevskiy, this game would have been out of hand in the first period as Vasilevskiy made some outstanding saves to keep the Lightning in the game.
The lightning had a season low of 18 shots on goal but were able to put four goals past three time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fluery.
Braydon Point got the Lightning on the board first with his 19th goal of the season at 10:57 of the first period. Tyler Johnson then tallied his 13th of the season of the season at 17:57 in the period to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead after one.
It would stay 2-1 till the third when a Paul Stasny goal at 3:47 of the third tied it up 2-2. Steven Stamkos would then scored his 24th at 10:36 of the third and that would prove to be the game winner as the Lightning took a 3-2 lead.
An Alex Killorn empty netter made it 4-2 with under a minute to play.
The thing that was most impressive was the way the lightning played in the third period.
The lightning did not sit back and wait for Vegas to attack.
The lightning were the aggressors the majority of the period until they took a 3-2 lead on the Stamkos goal.
Good defense and some stellar goaltending by Vasilevskiy was enough down the stretch to hold off the Vegas Golden Knights.
The penalty kill continued its strong performance as Vegas went 0/3 on their power play.
In their last five games, the Lightning opponents are 1/14 on the power play as the Lightning penalty kill has moved to third in the league at 83.9 percent trailing Boston and Washington.
Lightning defensemen Jan Rutta suffered a serious lower leg injury in the first period and he will miss a few weeks.
Rutta had been playing very good hockey along side Victor Hedman. Now that Rutta is out, Braydon Coburn or Mikhail Sergachev will get the nod along side of Hedman.
The home stand will continue Thursday night as the Bolts will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins who are playing their best hockey of the season.
The Penguins find themselves just four points behind Washington in the Metropolitan division and have been getting closer to the first place Capitals for a few weeks now.
The Lightning kept the pressure on Boston in the Atlantic division with their win against Vegas as the Bolts now stand at 33-15-5 five points behind the Bruins.
A lot of these upcoming games will have playoff implications as we are down to just over eight weeks to go in the regular season.
Every game takes on added importance and every point is critical this time of year.
It will be interesting to see how many so called Lightning fans sell their tickets to Pittsburgh fans for a few extra dollars for this Thursday match-up.
The crowd is usually split close to 50-50 and unfortunately Thursday night should be just about the same.