Best of the Bolts: Round of 16 Voting - Blue Bracket
/ Tampa Bay Lightning
Voting for the third group in the Round of 16 in the Best of the Bolts matchup starts at noon on August 15 and ends at noon on August 17. Each matchup is listed below and you can vote as many times as you'd like for your favorite play in each matchup.
Boyle Delivers the Knockout Blow vs. Kucherov Goes Beast Mode
MAY 3, 2016: BOYLE DELIVERS THE KNOCKOUT BLOW
The Tampa Bay Lightning rallied from a goal deficit three separate times in Game 3 of their second round series versus the New York Islanders in Brooklyn.
And less than three minutes into overtime, Lightning forward Brian Boyle dealt the final, knockout blow to the Islanders.
Boyle gained possession of the puck entering the offensive zone and skated down the right side before dropping a pass across ice to Victor Hedman. The Lightning defenseman whizzed a shot at the Islanders’ net but missed the target. The puck, however, caromed off the end boards to the opposite side of the goal, where Boyle was parked.
Boyle skillfully trapped the rebound with his skate to settle the puck then slammed it into the open net to cap a wild, back-and-forth Game 3 and give the Lightning a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series.
Boyle drew the ire of Islanders head coach Jack Capuano for a perceived head shot on Thomas Hickey during the battle for the puck at the blue line that set up the game-winner. After knocking Hickey down, Boyle took possession of the puck and scored seconds later.
“It was a great hockey game,” Capuano said in his post-Game 3 press conference. “Unfortunately, a blow to the head, a head shot, had to end the game.”
Capuano was convinced his view of the play would be vindicated via video review and Boyle would be disciplined for Game 4.
No such discipline was deemed necessary as Boyle suited up for Game 4, and his timely Game-3 winner proved to be the turning point in the series.
His most impressive, arguably, was this determined sprint toward goal with Nashville’s Ryan Ellis draped all over his back.
From behind the Tampa Bay net, Nikita Nesterov sprung Kucherov with a stretch pass up the middle of the ice, hitting Kucherov in stride near the Predators’ blue line. Ellis struggled to catch up to Kucherov, grabbing, clutching, holding, anything to slow the Russian down.
Despite drawing a penalty, Kucherov would not be denied. He remained on his feet, fought off Ellis’ challenge and jabbed the puck toward Predators’ goalie Pekka Rinne. When Rinne blocked the first attempt, Kucherov jabbed again, sliding the puck under Rinne’s pads to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead in a game the Bolts would win 4-3 in overtime.
Round of 16
Hedman Fills in at Goalie vs. Killorn Finishes off the Red Wings
JANUARY 8, 2016: HEDMAN FILLS IN AT GOALIE
On July 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning star defenseman Victor Hedman signed an eight-year contract extension, keeping him in a Bolts sweater through the 2024-25 season.
It turns out, the Bolts are also getting a pretty good emergency goalie during the length of that contract too.
In a midseason game at Edmonton with Tampa Bay already behind 1-0, the Oilers were hammering Ben Bishop’s goal with chance after chance. Bishop kept the first few out but slid out of position as a result. Hedman slipped into the vacated net and dove to keep a shot from Leon Draisaitl out right before the end of the first period.
The Lightning would fall behind 2-0 in Edmonton before rallying for three goals in the third period to win 3-2, a come-from-behind victory that ignited a seven-game win streak for the Bolts, their second longest of the season.
And credit Hedman, an unlikely source, with the biggest stop of the night.
APRIL 21, 2016: KILLORN FINISHES OFF THE RED WINGS
The higher the stakes, the greater Killorn’s impact.
Last season, the 26-year-old forward delivered the winning goal in Game 7 against the Rangers to clinch the Eastern Conference crown and a spot in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
And who could forget his wonder goal in the opening game of the SCF when he tipped a shot down onto the ice with his backhand, bouncing it past Corey Crawford for the first goal of the series.
In 2016, Killorn continued to save his best for when it counted most.
With a chance to close out the Detroit Red Wings on home ice in Game 5 of a first round series, the Lightning labored to find a way to get a puck past Petr Mrazek. Through 58 minutes, neither team had been able to score.
Mrazek misplayed a puck behind his goal in the closing seconds, however, and the Lightning capitalized. Ryan Callahan grabbed possession, and Killorn went to an open area of the net.
The Lightning scored.
And the Red Wings were finished, for the second year in a row, at the hands of the Lightning.