Following a five game winning streak, the Tampa Bay Lightning headed into a Thanksgiving weekend with two big games against Southeast Division rivals. With games against the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers, it was a good time for the Lightning to make a statement for the 2010-11 season. But when the smoke cleared, the Bolts came away with just one point.
Florida netminder Tomas Vokoun had stopped all 29 shots that he faced in the October 16th contest, and would prove tough to solve in the end for the Lightning on this day.
Boucher held to his usual practice by going with Ellis. In previous games where he has pulled the starter, he came back with the reliever between the pipes as the starter in the next game.
Goals by Teddy Purcell and Dana Tyrell gave Tampa a 2-0 lead midway through the contest, but a Radek Dvorak shorthanded tally on a penalty shot brought Florida to within a goal heading into the third.
The Lightning would dominate the third period, outshooting the Panthers 14-4. But it was Tampa Bay that found themselves in need of an equalizer, as Florida got goals from both Dmitry Kulikov and Shawn Matthias to take a 3-2 lead midway through the frame.
Sean Bergenheim would score on his own rebound at the 13:15 mark, eventually sending the game into overtime.
Tampa Bay held a wide advantage in regulation shots on goal, 37-21. Vokoun was excellent in getting the Panthers to overtime, but it was Ellis who would be called upon to come up big in the extra period.
Florida took all six shots in overtime but Ellis stopped them all to send the contest to the shootout, which would be the first of the season for the Lightning.
After three scoreless rounds, Stephen Weiss beat Ellis with a backhander to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Vokoun then stopped Martin St. Louis‘ wrist shot attempt, securing the extra point for Florida.
On the downside, the Bolts gained just one of a possible four points in the two games. But on the bright side, Tampa still remains in second place in the Southeast. They are five points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals and four ahead of the Atlanta Thrashers, and sit in the fifth spot in the conference.
Boucher will have a couple of days with which to work with his club before they head to the Great White North to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Center.
In addition to working on the basics, he may have to help the team with their confidence level.
Bolts Bits: In addition to his first period goal, Purcell also earned an assist on Bergenhiem’s game-tying goal. Purcell now has five goals and 17 points, good for third on the Lightning…Steven Stamkos ended the night with an assist, but Sidney Crosby had a hat trick and now leads the NHL scoring race. Crosby now has 40 points, one point ahead of Stamkos. Stamkos now leads in goals over Crosby, 21-18…Ellis stopped 24 of 27 Panthers shots in regulation and overtime, and three of four in the shootout Saturday.
If you have any questions or comments, the author can be contacted at [email protected].