Game Recap: VGK vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Golden Knights (31-22-8)  |  Tampa Bay Lightning (40-15-5)


It’s been over a month since the red hot Tampa Bay Lightning lost a game in regulation.


With an 11 game win streak currently in progress, and a 10-0-0 record against Pacific Division teams this season, the #1 ranked team in the NHL was confident going into T-Mobile Arena Thursday night to play the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The Knights, who are currently amid a winning streak of their own, defeating three top-ranked opponents to begin a five-game home stint, seek to do something they haven’t done since early January. Win four games in a row.

No easy task, but with the addition of veteran defensemen Alec Martinez earlier this week, the Golden Knights were prepared to take on the most prolific offensive team in the NHL. And their money was well spent after the Knights fell behind 1-0 midway through the first period. Alec Martinez found an opening in the Lightning defense and tied the game up 1-1 with under two minutes left in the period. The score sent the Golden Knights into the intermission with confidence, allowing the team to regroup and come out the rest of the game firing on all cylinders.

The second period saw star players Paul Stansty and Mark Stone add two more goals to go into the third up 3-2. What fans didn’t see coming was a hard-earned, unassisted goal by beloved defenseman Ryan Reeves, then a power-play goal from the offensive star and the Golden Knights leader in goals Max Pacioretty, within the first 47 seconds of the third period.


With the lead now 5-2 the Lightning did not go out without a fight, but the air had been let out of the proverbial balloon.


The Golden Knights coasted the rest of the period to claim victory over the Leagues best team with a 5-3 win at home. They extended their win streak to four and placed Las Vegas atop the Pacific division.

What stood out for the Golden Knights was the play of their new defenseman Alec Martinez, who just six days ago was a Los Angeles King. Now sporting the gold, silver, and black, the highly sought after free agent became the 8th ever Golden Knight to score a goal in his debut game with the team. Martinez was also seen all over the ice defensively, clogging lanes, disrupting puck movement, and overall contributing to the fabric of the defense.

No doubt Peter DeBoer’s team is playing, undoubtedly, the best hockey they have played all season. Topping the Pacific Division in the process and climbing the NHL power ranking ladder, the Golden Knights are defiantly headed in the right direction. With yet another 30+ win team, the Florida Panthers, coming into the “Fortress”, Las Vegas will have an opportunity to extend its newfound lead in the division.

While the last time these two teams played the Golden Knights enjoyed an explosive four-goal third period that sealed the game in their favor, beating a team twice is tough to do in professional sports. This win over the Lightning just proved that, and the Panthers, slowly slipping down the Atlantic Division ladder, have to find a way to rally their team to continue to be apart of the playoff conversation.

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– JaRon Turner – Franchise Sports Media 

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