Friday night the Tampa Bay Lightning squared off on home ice against the New Jersey Devils. New head coach Jon Cooper made his game debut behind the bench. Fitting that it was a home game. The night was emotional all of the way around. Former assistant coach Wayne Fleming lost his battle with brain cancer on Monday night, the Lightning confirmed it with a statement of Tuesday. However the team did not acknowledge Fleming’s passing on Tuesday. Instead, the paid tribute to fallen local soldier Army Spc. Zack Shannon with a moment of silence. The did, however, pay tribute and have a moment of silence for Coach Fleming on Friday night. Emotions were heavy because of Fleming, the loss of Coach Guy Boucher, and the first game with Coach Jon Cooper.
It was Brian Bradley night. They have been honoring members of the Lightning’s 20 year history, but since he’s my all time ultimate favorite NHLer, of course I have to mention that he was honored last night. Yay for Brian!
The New Jersey Devils gave it a good fight, as they always do, but ultimately fell in a shoot out. Steven Stamkos extended his goal lead to 25 goals. He had two goals and an assist, giving him 3 points for the night. It was one of those nights where the officiating was questionable. Rarely do we hear the ‘REF YOU SUCK!’ chant in Tampa that echoes through so many arenas around the league. The officiating does always seem to stink, it’s like they ‘have it out’ against the Lightning. But our fans are usually classy. That game last night, however, tried the patience of even the most patient fan. (and player) A ‘phantom’ hooking call to Victor Hedman drawn by Tom Kostopoulos lead to a penalty shot, in which Kostopoulos scored. That started the first ‘REF YOU SUCK!’ chant. Later, Steven Stamkos was called out 2 minutes for interference. That was totally inappropriate in my opinion, as the Lightning were in the zone to score. If anything, he interfered with his own team! Not goaltender interference, but just good ol’ fashioned interference. That warranted the second ‘REF YOU SUCK!’ chant. Loud and proud, fans watching at home and listening on the radio could hear us on their broadcasts. Today it was announced that Nate Thompson will get the #Shanaban as he has been suspended for 2 games due to his hit on Matt D’Agostini. Though the referee did not call that, (I was surprised as they had it out for Tampa Bay last night), the Department of Player Safety did not let it pass. According to them, it was an illegal check to the head. Here is the #Shanaban video:
Just past middle way through the first period, Radko Gudas made his NHL fight debut against none other than Tom Kostopoulos. Gudas took that boy down like a Dave Andreychuk on a logo stepper. B.J. Crombeen, I hope you were watching as THAT, sir, is how you win a fight. Way to go Gudas!!
The team was down by 2 goals. Despite being down, they fought hard, and tied it up. They won it for Wayne. They won it for Cooper’s debut. They won it for Boucher. They won it for the fans. More importantly, they won it for themselves and they so needed this for their self esteem. With 15 seconds to go, 1 goal down, the Bolts it up. Overtime was scoreless, and every fan on both sides held their breath through the shoot out. Tampa Bay came on top when Teddy Purcell scored, Travis Zajac missed, Victor Hedman scored, and Mathieu Garon made a save on Patrik Elias. What an exciting game it was.
Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning