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GARRISON MAKES HISTORY ON OPENING NIGHT vs. EXTRA ATTACKER SINKS ISLANDERS
OCTOBER 8, 2015: GARRISON MAKES HISTORY ON OPENING NIGHT
Jason Garrison will forever be the answer to an NHL trivia question.
Who scored the first goal under the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format?
The league adopted the OT change prior to the 2015-16 season in an effort to decrease the number of games settled in a shootout. Fans at Amalie Arena got the first look at the open-ice, end-to-end madness on Opening Night when the Lightning and the Flyers played to a 2-2 draw through 60 minutes.
In just over two minutes of overtime play, the two teams combined for eight shots.
Garrison ended it at 2:17, latching onto Alex Killorn’s push-ahead pass for a breakaway, which the defenseman finished with a flourish: forehand, backhand, far post shot on Philly’s Steve Mason. Setting up the break was Valtteri Filppula, who, without a stick, outmuscled Flyers D-man Evgeny Medvedev for a puck along the boards and pushed it backward with his skate to an open Killorn.
The play capped a celebratory night for the Lightning. The team unveiled its 2014-15 Eastern Conference championship banner before puck drop. Expectations for 2015-16 were at an all-time high, some hockey experts predicting the Bolts would return to the Stanley Cup Final and this time win it.
Garrison’s game-winner was a good start to reaching those heights.
The Bolts would go on to win their first three games in 2015-16 but their play soon dipped and they finished October just 5-5-2.
On October 8 anyway, the Lightning were trailblazers, entering uncharted NHL territory and coming away on the good side.
And Garrison will always have a spot in the league record book.
MAY 3, 2016: EXTRA ATTACKER SINKS ISLANDERS
The New York Islanders held a lead three separate times against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Barclays Center in Game 3 of their second round playoff series.
The Lightning had a response each time.
None, however, was as dramatic as Nikita Kucherov’s late-game equalizer with the Lightning net empty.
Tampa Bay was down to its last 50 seconds, the Isles clinging to a 4-3 lead as the Lightning brought on an extra attacker. The puck swung around the point to Jonathan Drouin, who maneuvered into the left circle while Kucherov skated into the slot. Drouin hit him with a pass, and Kucherov beat Thomas Greiss to the goalie’s stick side to tie the game 4-4 with 38.4 seconds to go.
The Lightning would need just 2:48 to win Game 3 in overtime.
The game-winner would have never happened though if not for Kucherov coming to the rescue.
And who knows how the series would have played out had the Islanders held on for the victory in Game 3.