TORONTO, Canada (WFLA) – “We needed someone to step up and say something and he did.”
Those words, which were spoken by Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning, did not refer to his head coach or to the player who scored the series winning goal.
Johnson had been talking about Kevin Shattenkirk.
“We were pretty frustrated,” said Johnson, “but I have to give Shatty a lot of credit.”
The Lightning had a 2-1 lead over the Blue Jackets at the start of the second period but, 20 minutes later, they found themselves trailing 3-2. They walked into the locker room feeling like they had lost all of the momentum and they could not believe they had been charged with all of the penalties in the game.
“Hockey is such an emotional game,” said Blake Coleman, a forward on the team, “and, obviously, the penalties were really one-sided and, obviously, that is on us but we were getting too caught up in it.”
Cooper spoke to the team in an effort to refocus them but the voice that flipped the switch for the Lightning came from Shattenkirk.
“You want things to happen. You build guys up for these situations in times like this,” said Cooper. “There is a reason some of these guys were brought in. There is a reason we have done some of the things we have done. He is invaluable when it comes to being inside the room.”
The Lightning did allow the Blue Jackets to score the first goal in the third period but, then, they took control of their fate.
Shattenkirk closed the gap midway through the period and, with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Anthony Cirelli tied the game at four.
The score would stayed locked at four until Brayden Point proved why he is the heart and soul of this team in overtime. He netted the game winning goal, the series winning goal, and, after only five games, the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They will advance to the second round.
“They rose to the occasion,” said Cooper, “and I could not be more proud of them.”
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