Coral Springs, Fl. - Considering the fact that the opening game of the 2013 Prospects Tournament between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning consisted of prospects suiting up the first time, the ending was quite possibly what should have been expected all along , a draw.
"I actually thought it was a pretty good game," said Syracuse Crunch and 2013 rookie camp head coach Rob Zettler. "I thought we played really sloppy in the first half of the first and it got really good in the second half of the first and beginning of the second. Then it got a little bit run-gun in the third, but overall we played really good."
The line consisting of Nikita Kucherov (above), Adam Erne and Vladimir Namestnikov contributed six points in the draw
The Bruins Anthony Camara would tally the only goal of the first period, which would be the result of a second consecutive penalty by the Bolts.
"There's still some stuff we got to clean up," said Zettler. "Our penalty kill needs some work, we gave up three today."
The next two goals, which came in the second stanza, were again on the power play. Second-round draft pick by the Lightning in 2013, Adam Erne, notched his first goal of the tournament in the period and tied the game at one. Blueliner Zach Trotman again broke the tie for a 2-1 score in favor of Boston at 15:25, before both teams began to feel more comfortable on the ice and even partook in some physical play.
Nikita Kucherov tallied the first of four even strength goals exchanged between the two clubs at 18:16 to closeout scoring and a 2-2 tie at the end of two.
"It was my first game and I'm so excited to get back on the ice," Kucherov said. "We played a Russian line, so I think I did well."
The line Kucherov referred to also featured Erne at right-wing, centered by Valdislav Namestnikov. The trio dominated today's skate, contributing six total points in the contest.
Despite their line's success, Kucherov admitted that he found it difficult to skate on a line with Erne and Namestinkov, whom he'd never played with until today.
"It's our first game together," he said. "It's kind of hard to understand each other. I think if we're on the same line together, we're going to get better every time."
With the game locked at two heading into the third period, Boston attempted to break away from the Lightning rookies, scoring three goals compared to Tampa Bay's one as Gudlevski's, who according to Zettler made some "unbelievable saves in the first and second, but got a little tired in the third."
The Lightning would respond with a Dan Milan goal at 16:43 in the third and a final power-play tally with just :58 seconds left in regulation compliments of Tanner Richard.
"It always makes you feel good to win hockey games," said Zettler. "It did make us feel good though, when we found a way to come back and tie it up. Guys were pretty fired-up about that."
The game's decision fell to the hands of a five-round shootout, as Jared Knight scored the lone goal against Gudelvskis in the fourth round. Namestnikov, however, would answer back in the fifth round, leaving the Lightning's first game in a 5-5 tie.
Each team's shots on goal remained nearly identical throughout the entire game, with both teams ending at 33 shots each.
There was no designated captain in today's game for the Lightning, but J.T. Brown and Andrej Sustr sported "A's" as alternate captains.
The tournament at Saveology.com Iceplex continues for Tampa Bay tomorrow at noon versus the Nashville Predators.