Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 25, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Lightning Sweep Blackhawks To Start Season

That is not something you get to say every day in hockey. The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 to win the opening series of the season.

Nikita Kucherov will be missed, but no one would know he was gone with the way the Bolts played.

All Quiet Before Lightning Struck

The first period saw the game remain scoreless. But, before the Blackhawks could blink in the second period, the Lightning took a 3-0 lead.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scooped up the puck as he went around the net and flipped it to Ondrej Palat, who slapped it over the shoulder of Collin Delia to open the scoring.

https://twitter.com/TBLightning/status/1350251021151449090

After scrambling with Chicago’s zone, Alex Killorn hung onto the puck long enough in front of the net to fire over Delia’s shoulder again to make it two nothing.

The Lightning capped off their second-period scoring when Blake Coleman scored to make it 3-0.

However, before the period could come to a close, the Blackhawks scored two unanswered goals to make it 3-2. The Bolts played tight enough defense around their own net to preserve the lead heading into second intermission.

Shutdown Final Period

The Bolts held Chicago to those two goals the rest of the game. Thirteen minutes into the final period, Yanni Gourde scored his first goal of the season to make it 4-2.

https://twitter.com/TBLightning/status/1350271232831324160

To finish off the night, Brayden Point helped Palat return the favor as both assisted Stamkos’ goal to reach the final score of 5-2.

https://twitter.com/TBLightning/status/1350273040337272832

That goal got Stamkos to four points in just the first two games of the season.

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Andrei Vasilevskiy G
  2. Blake Coleman C
  3. Victor Hedman D

The Bolts swept Chicago, and they were scheduled to have a Stanley Cup Finals rematch in their next series against the Dallas Stars. However, that was postponed due to the Stars having 17 players test positive for COVID-19. The NHL reshuffled the schedule, but the Bolts will still have six days off until they have a different rematch against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 21.

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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