The Tampa Bay Lightning began the longest road trip of the season Sunday night in Chicago, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 and setting a new team record during the win.
This game looked as if it would end the way the game against Detroit ended on Friday night, with the Lightning being pushed to the limits before securing a 3-1 win.
It was a 3-2 Lightning lead after two periods before the Lightning exploded for three goals early in the third period to take an insurmountable 6-2 lead. Victor Hedman, Corey Perry, and Mikhail Sergachev scored the three goals of the second period 32 seconds apart. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves to help the Bolts get their 36th win of the season.
The three goals in 32 seconds were the quickest three goals scored in Tampa Bay Lightning history.
Although Vasilevskiy allowed the three goals on 27 shots, he was outstanding as he thwarted the Blackhawk’s offensive attack with some of his finest saves of the season.
I am getting tired of saying it, but the Lightning had another slow start to this game that could have cost them a win. Victor Hedman talked about the slow start after the game. “We’ve got to wake up in the first period. I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve got to have better starts.”
Vasilevskiy made some great saves in the first period to keep the Lightning in the game, and that was not lost on coach Jon Cooper. “That was one of the more remarkable goalie performances I’ve seen in a long time. There’s making big saves, but if you watch the highlights tonight, you could just show the saves he made. So that’s what kept us in it, and then our work ethic was what propelled us to win it. We didn’t have that going at all in the first period.”
Cooper continued to talk about the excellent goaltending performance, especially the save on the Patrick Kane breakaway. “The goalie’s there, in the end, to bail you out if you’ve broken down. We broke down way too often. It’s happened a little bit of late in our game. You can’t play perfect hockey for 82 (games); I understand that. We’re just fortunate Vasy was on tonight.”
In the second period, Cal Foote scored his first career NHL goal to put the Lightning up 3-2.
Despite having the second-best road in the league this season, the Lightning still plays at times like they are not interested in hockey. You wonder if the game against teams like Chicago and Detroit bores this team, knowing they have enough talent to turn the game around at any point.
The Lightning has a 2-1 record in their last three games. But at times, they have looked like that team in 2019 that got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite a record-breaking regular season.
The Lightning will continue their road trip in Winnipeg Tuesday night, with additional stops in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Seattle on this road trip.
The Lightning will not play at home again until March 19th, when they will play the New York Rangers.