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Mishkin's Extra Shift: Lightning 4, Hurricanes 2

by Dave Mishkin / Tampa Bay Lightning

Up until the final few minutes, when the Carolina Hurricanes made a frenetic push to tie the game, this was a fairly evenly-played contest. Depending on the particular shift, both teams were able to forecheck effectively, hold pucks in the offensive zone and generate some sustained pressure. At the same time, the defending team, even though it struggled to execute clears, held its coverage well and limited opposition scoring chances. Shots, too, were hard to come by for both clubs – before that late flurry by the Hurricanes, shots were only 22-17 in favor of Carolina.

So if the game was evenly played, how did the Lightning come out on top? Specifically, they benefitted from three key plays/segments in the game that proved to be the difference. The first of those was J.T. Brown’s second period goal, which tied the score at one. The Lightning had surrendered a first period shorthanded goal and trailed by a goal after one period. But Brown’s tally got them even and they didn’t chase another deficit for the rest of the night. The second big play came from Steven Stamkos, who broke a 2-2 tie with a power play goal from the slot with 5:43 remaining in the game. And the last, significant segment came in the closing minutes, when Ben Bishop preserved that lead by stopping nine consecutive Carolina shots. Many of those were Grade-A chances. But Bishop denied them all before Ryan Callahan iced the win with an empty-netter.

This was an impressive road win for the Lightning, who completed a back-to-back road sweep over two quality opponents. Several players stepped up to help them earn the victory over Carolina. As he did on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Cedric Paquette was a force in this game – he contributed two assists and played a strong, physical game. Callahan netted two goals and continues to shine on a line with Stamkos and Alex Killorn. And with Nikita Kucherov missing this game due to injury, Jonathan Marchessault moved onto the line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat – he produced an assist on the winning goal and played 17 minutes and 30 seconds, well above his season average. And, as mentioned earlier, Brown, Stamkos and Bishop also had their fingerprints all over this win.

The game on Saturday at Pittsburgh began a stretch for the Lightning in which they play six of seven on the road. They’ve started well, winning the first two of those road games. The lone home game during that stretch occurs Tuesday, when the Bolts host Arizona. They’ll bring an overall three-game winning streak into that game.

Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:

Bishop’s nine saves down the stretch after the Lightning had taken a 3-2 lead.

Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:

1.Ben Bishop – Lightning. 29 saves.

2.Cedric Paquette – Lightning. Two assists.

3.Steven Stamkos – Lightning. GWG.

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