The Tampa Bay Lightning have been struggling for wins lately, and the recent changes may have made things rather difficult. The firing of Guy Boucher, passing of Wayne Fleming, and the promoting of Jon Cooper have all been big news within the Lightning organization within the last few days. Needless to say, it has been a difficult week or so for the organization. Emotions have run high and low. No one ever wishes for a head coach to be fired, but that is not to say it was not the correct move. Those who have followed the Lightning closely for a while now know that Wayne Fleming had been battling brain cancer since April 11 (via Damian Cristodero) before finally passing away on Monday (3/25). Of course, the promotion of Jon Cooper from AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch to the Lightning has created a lot of positive emotions within the organization. Those still in Syracuse are proud of Cooper’s success and happy that he is moving to take on a bigger challenge. Those working with the Lightning are happy to have Cooper, as he has a reputation of being well liked and a “players’ coach.” There is a small amount of excitement with the thought of Cooper taking over the team on Friday. However, despite all of the news and emotions the players still had to go to work against the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night.
Steven Stamkos opened the scoring after 16 minutes had elapsed in the first period. Martin St. Louis and Cory Conacher applied pressure with some nice passing. A shot on goal led to a rebound that St. Louis had picked up and skated out of the corner with. Stamkos had backed away from the crease and was wide open in the slot. St. Louis gave the puck to Stamkos and he ripped a slap shot into the net for the 1-0 lead. 8 minutes into the 2nd period, the Lightning received an opportunity on a lengthy 5 on 3 power play. Stamkos had his patented left-circle one time shot blocked, but he picked up the puck afterwards and passed the puck to Teddy Purcell in the high slot. Purcell made a pass to St. Louis in the right circle and he hit his one timer for a 2-0 lead. Later in the period, Richard Panik was wide open in front of Ryan Miller in the crease and made a great move but was robbed by the goaltender.
The third period only saw one goal, and it was from the Sabres. Jordan Leopold scored when he received a pass from behind the net from Marcus Foligno. But that was all from the Sabres. The Lightning would go on to win the game by a final score of 2-1. The next game for the Lightning will be on Friday against the New Jersey Devils.
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