Cirelli Stays Hot, but Lightning Fall to Wings

by | Apr 3, 2024

Cirelli Stays Hot, but Lightning Fall to Wings

by | Apr 3, 2024

TAMPA – Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy turned away a shot from Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider, but Red Wings forward David Perron tended the lose puck. He drove his backhanded shot on the rebound by Vasilevskiy at 17:20 in the third period to give Detroit a late 3-2 lead in a hard-fought game. The Lightning dropped a 4-2 decision as they came into the game at 8-0-1 in the last nine games going into Monday which saw the points streak end at 17 pointswith the 4-2 loss.

“We haven’t lost in regulation since the first week of March and we are in the first week of April,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “We have asked a lot from the guys and they have delivered. At some point, we were going to lose a game in regulation, we weren’t going to run the table.”

Detroit took a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the second period on Patrick Kane’s 18th goal of the season and then three acts of the Anthony Cirelli Show appeared on the ice for the vaunted Lightning center.

Cirelli seemingly had tied the game at 1-1 when he pushed the puck past Red Wings goalie Alex Lyon at 3:51 in the second period. However, he made contact with Lyons as both he, Lyons, and the puck slid into the net. The officials’ review cited Cirelli with the contact and the goal was disallowed.

On the play, Cirelli appeared to have been pushed from behind by Red Wings center Dylan Larkin which separated the puck and it still crossed the goal line after the Cirelli hit.

Then at 8:26, Cirelli was on attack and shot the puck. He was disallowed another goal because the officials ruled that Lyon stopped the puck before it crossed the goal line.

The first one didn’t count, the second didn’t count and he made sure the third one was in the back of the net,” said Tampa Bay forward Nick Paul, who had 20 shifts in around 18 minutes and won seven of his ten face-offs. “It’s not easy to do, but it shows resilience and the team is at mentally. We won’t let that affect us and go down. We just keep pushing back.”

In any event, proverbially, the third time was the charm for Cirelli as he scored a shorthanded goal at 8:36 in the second period to tie the game, 1-1. It was his second short-handed marker of the season and his 13th since he entered the league in 2017-18, third in the league over that time period.

He secured an errant puck and skated on the right side toward the Detroit net. He drove the puck past Lyon on a one-timer as he pulled up deep in the right circle.

The Woodbridge, Ontario, native has been hot of late as he has scored four goals in his last four games. He had a two-goal night in the Lightning’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday.

“Obviously, we will go over it tomorrow and see some things that we didn’t do as well as we had done in the past month,” explained Cirelli of the team’s approach. “It’s another opportunity for us to come out and get another opportunity of what we are playing for.”

Steven Stamkos scored his 31st goal on the power play at 5:59 in the second period as it marked Tampa Bay’s 65th power play goal of the season and tied the game at 2-2.

Tampa Bay’s 8-0-1 record over the previous nine games solidified the Lightning as a potential playoff team with 89 points as they are sixth in the Eastern Conference and are fourth in the Atlantic Division, six points behind the third-place Maple Leafs.

The Bolts have killed off 35 of 36 penalties since March 1 with three short-handed goals.

“When you are playing in the conference this time of year, you are playing everybody in your conference, anyway,” noted Cooper. “You are going to run into these teams. I can’t sit here and be hard on the guys; they’ve played really well for us. They played well in spurts tonight.”

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