The recent six game stretch that Steven Stamkos had gone without a goal became a thing of the past on Friday night when he scored against the Edmonton Oilers in a 3-2 shootout loss.
Last night Stamkos ran his goal-scoring streak to two games with two markers, including a game-winning power play tally in overtime to ruin Markus Naslund night for Canucks’ fans in Vancouver.
After the teams traded first period goals – Daniel Sedin scoring his 16th for the Canucks and Nate Thompson potting his fifth of the season for the Lightning – Tampa Bay would take a commanding 4-2 lead after two periods.
With Raffi Torres in the penalty box for interfering with Matt Smaby late in the first period, defenseman Brett Clark put a rebound past Vancouver starter Cory Schneider just 1:05 into the second. It was Clark’s sixth goal of the year, tops among Bolts’ defenders and already his third highest total in his career, and established a new career-best with his fifth power play goal.
Stamkos gave the Lightning a two-goal lead less than two minutes later when a Mike Lundin point shot deflected off of his elbow and into the net for his 23rd of the season.
Manny Malhotra brought the Canucks back to within one with Adam Hall off for delay of game, scoring his fifth of the year on the power play less than two minutes after Stamkos’ marker.
Teddy Purcell would restore the two-goal lead with his sixth of the season to make it 4-2. Stamkos carried the puck down low and hit Purcell in the slot, where he would rip a shot through Schneider. Purcell has been one of the most consistent performers all year long for Tampa, as well as one of the most pleasant surprises. With every goal, assist, and point that he notches, Purcell sets a new career-high in that category.
Although the Lightning only managed to muster five shots on goal in the middle frame, they were able to put three of them behind Schneider.
Nearing the midway part of the third, the Bolts were called for too many men on the ice. This was not the time for Tampa Bay to put the NHL’s top rated power play unit to work.
It took just over a minute for captain Henrik Sedin to convert, as he put a perfect shot over the right shoulder of Lightning starter Dan Ellis and under the crossbar to cut the Tampa lead to 4-3.
As they had in the second period with only five shots, the Bolts were not able to get many shots on Schneider in the third. They finished with just three in the third, and the Sedin goal gave Vancouver all kinds of added momentum.
You could almost feel the next goal coming, and with just under six minutes left in regulation it came to fruition.
Canucks’ defenseman Keith Ballard gathered up the puck in his own end and took advantage of the fact that both teams were in the midst of player changes. He skated the puck into the Tampa Bay zone and as he crossed the blue line on the right wing side, snapped off a shot that beat Ellis far side past the blocker.