Similar to their game against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Lightning dominated play for most of this contest. And one shouldn’t be fooled by the closeness of the final score (also like the outcome versus the Pens).
Sometimes teams show rust after a three-day layoff. But only Carolina seemed out of synch in this one. The Lightning, on the other hand, were crisp in a number of aspects, including their d-zone play, rush coverage, puck management, forecheck and physical play. As a result, the Lightning had the puck for most of the night.
Credit the Hurricanes for “protecting the house” pretty well throughout the night. So even though the Lightning enjoyed a huge puck possession and shot-on-goal edge, they didn’t generate a large number of scoring chances. Carolina blocked 17 shots on the night. Nineteen other Lightning attempts missed the net. And when the Bolts did produce scoring chances, Carolina goalie Cam Ward, as was the case when the teams met about two weeks ago, was terrific in stopping nearly all of them. But two shots beat him, both into the upper part of the net – Nikita Kucherov’s one-timer in the first and Alex Killorn’s wrister early in the third.
The Lightning, as they did against the Pens, kept opposition scoring chances to a minimum. But when they had a rare breakdown, Ben Bishop made a handful of key saves. He showed no ill-effects from the injury that sidelined him for the past four games.
In all, it was a very solid performance for the Lightning. And it was a game they deserved to win.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Killorn’s GWG in the third period.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1.Alex Killorn – Lightning. GWG.
2.Ben Bishop – Lightning. 25 saves to earn win in return from injury.
3.Cam Ward – Hurricanes. 36 saves.