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Palat's overtime goal lifts Bolts over Carolina

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves in the victory on Friday night.

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ondrej Palat scored 1:38 into overtime to provide the game-winner in the Lightning's 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

The Lightning (2-1-0) have won two games in a row since opening the preseason with a loss. Friday's game against Carolina was their first road contest of the exhibition schedule.

A day after Kristers Gudlevskis provided a 21-save shutout effort to defeat Florida, Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in another strong performance for Lightning goaltenders, stopping 27-of-28 shots in his first action of the preseason. Vasilevskiy nearly shut out the Hurricanes, going almost 59 minutes without allowing a goal until Jeff Skinner backhanded a rebound over his glove on a power play with 1:05 left in regulation to tie the game 1-1 and send it to overtime.

"He was clearly our best player in the last 10 minutes of the game," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said of Vasilevskiy. "I thought, once again, I'm just really impressed with the compete level of our players, especially the last two games. It's been outstanding. But it's probably a ho-hum exhibition game where guys are competing hard on both sides, and then it's tough, we took eight minutes of penalties in the last 12 minutes, so there you need your goaltender to bail you out and he did."

The Lightning opened scoring early when Tyler Johnson netted his first goal of the preseason at 5:21 of the first period, a goal that nearly stood as the game winner. On Johnson's goal, Palat carried the puck into the offensive zone on a rush and centered a pass to the right circle for Johnson, who buried a wrist shot over Carolina starting goaltender Eddie Lack (11 saves on 12 shots over two periods).

"It was actually the first time me and Pally skated together," Johnson said. "We had a little bit of practice the other day, but we felt good out there. There's obviously things we can clean up and clean up as a team. I think we can probably contribute a little more offensively than what we did, but that's what preseason's for is to work on things."

Carolina registered 11 shots on goal through the first two periods before peppering Vasilevskiy with 16 shots in the third period alone.

"Carolina's a really good team," Vasilevskiy said. "They pushed us the second half of the game, and luckily, we shut the door."

The Lightning will play their third game in three days when they travel to Nashville on Saturday. Following the game against the Predators, the Bolts don't play again until Thursday when they go to Sunrise to play the Florida Panthers.

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