Coleman’s Highlight-Reel Goal, Vasilevskiy Lead Lightning In Game 2

TAMPA – It was the type of goal that wins Stanley Cups.

Blake Coleman’s highlight-reel goal with 1.1 seconds remaining in the second period gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead. And they never looked back in a 3-1, Game 2 victory over the Canadiens at Amalie Arena on Wednesday night.

The win enabled Tampa Bay to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup final. The series resumes with Game 3 on Friday night in Montreal.

Coleman’s goal was a play, a diving redirection of a Barclay Goodrow pass and with Montreal’s Phillip Danault draped over him, that made the 17,166 assembled at Amalie Arena forget about a second period in which the Lightning leaked plenty of oil, but never relinquished the lead.

Goodrow’s play in the neutral zone, when he chipped the puck ahead to himself, set the buzzer-beater into motion.

“I knew the clock was winding down,” said Coleman. “I saw Goody make that heads up play and I tried to do everything I could to give him an option. And fortunately, we beat the clock.”

At one point during that middle stanza, the Lightning were outshot 12-0 over a 10:38 stretch.

After Anthony Cirelli broke the ice on what was a scoreless game at 6:40, it was not until Brayden Point had a prime scoring opportunity on the powerplay with 3:02 left in the period that the Lightning would get another shot.

In the interim, the Canadiens tied the game on a goal by Nick Suzuki, a backhander that had eyes, at 10:36 on the powerplay.

Coleman’s goal, however, suddenly altered the tenor of events.

“It was definitely a big lift going into the third,” said coach Jon Cooper. “Our team game was off. We had remarkable individual performances from (Andrei) Vasilevskiy and Coleman, but we had an unremarkable team game.”

A remarkable play got things pointed in the right direction.

“It was something we desperately needed at the time,” said Goodrow. “We realized after two periods that the way we were playing was not good enough. We knew we had to be way better in the third.”

And they were. The Canadiens had 14 of their 43 shots on goal over the final 20 minutes when Vasilevskiy, who made 42 saves, took care of matters the way he so often does.

“He’s an absolute competitor and gamer,” said Ryan McDonagh, of Vasy. “We know he is the backbone of this team and we can’t say enough good things about him.”

Lightning fans cannot say enough good things about their team, which is two wins removed from winning back-to-back Cups and their third overall.

Tom Layberger is also a contributing writer for and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine.

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for, Tom also writes for and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.