Oh, what could have been.
Carolina came out of the gates flying in Tampa, taking an early 9-0 shot advantage and controlling play throughout the opening half of the first period, but then a tripping penalty to a key penalty killer in Jaccob Slavin gave the Bolts a big opportunity, and they took advantage of it.
Victor Hedman rifled Tampa’s first shot on net of the game from the top of the slot and it beat Eddie Lack through a screen to put the home team up 1-0.
The Hurricanes didn’t get discouraged, and they came back strong. They were finally rewarded just over half way through the opening 20 as an offensive zone faceoff win resulted in a bomb from the point off the stick of Noah Hanifin and it found its way past Andrei Vasilevskiy and tied the game at one.
A few minutes later, the Canes capitalized again, this time on the man advantage. Hanifin picked up his second point of the period as he set up Derek Ryan for a one-time rocket to put the Hurricanes up by a goal entering the first intermission.
Carolina outshot Tampa Bay 18-4 in a dominant first period on the road.
The Hurricanes flatlined to start the second period. It took them north of six minutes to get their first shot attempt in the second frame, but they were able to keep the Lightning at bay and rebound a bit in the second half of the middle period. There was nearly a five-minute span where neither team had a shot attempt. Both teams were left scoreless in period two.
For the better part of the third period, Carolina locked down Tampa fairly effectively, but with 9:09 to go in regulation, the Bolts tied the game at two as Tyler Johnson directed a point shot off of his skate and past Lack on the short side.
Bad turned worse down the stretch for Carolina as Tampa drove up ice and took advantage of some poor coverage on the rush from Justin Faulk and Teuvo Teravainen as Nikita Kucherov snuck through and was left wide open in the slot. He cashed in on the centering pass to beat a helpless Eddie Lack and gave the Bolts a 3-2 lead.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Canes struck back late. On the penalty kill, Jay McClement was able to redirect a blast from Jaccob Slavin past Vasilevski to force overtime.
In short order, the Bolts ended it. Victor Hedman broke in and scored on the rush to give the Lightning a 4-3 overtime win.
Rank The Performances
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