After losing two games in a row on the road, the Tampa Bay Lightning bounced back with a solid win at home against the Ottawa Senators. For Ottawa, it was a game in which they had hoped to end a losing streak. However, the Senators would go on to lose the team’s fifth straight game. Luckily enough for the Senators, they still hold 6th place, although the New York Islanders have tied their point total (44). The Lightning remained hot at home, earning a at least a point in their last 6 games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum with a 5-0-1 record. The Lightning were able to play with intensity in order to scrap out a close win against a quality team. Despite being eliminated from the playoffs by most people, the Lightning continue to show intensity you would expect from teams on the bubble.
The big story of the night though had nothing to do with the standings however. The focus was on Cory Conacher and Ben Bishop, each facing their former teams after being exchanged for one another a week ago. For Conacher, it was his first time back to the Times Forum since the trade, while for Bishop it was his first home game. Conacher was rather quiet. He was often camped out in front of the net, especially while his team was on the power play. So Conacher was playing his usual style, trying to go to the net with or without the puck. Bishop probably had the bigger spotlight, if for no other reason than the fact that he is a goaltender. He made 31 saves on 33 shots, most of which he made look routine despite the fact that he was facing high quality shots.
The defensive zone play was so much more organized during this game; it was like a night and day difference from the weekend to Tuesday night. The problem with the Lightning has always been consistency. When the Lightning finally gather in some consistency, we fans will see a team that is in yearly competition for a playoff spot and, eventually, a championship run. For now, the team is still developing.
Notes: Steven Stamkos scored the game winning goal on the power play in the 3rd period. He is tied with Alex Ovechkin at 26 goals for most in the league… Pierre-Cedric Labrie scored his first career goal… Martin St. Louis earned his 900th point… Bishop has a save percentage of 94.4 and a goals against average of 2.02 in 4 games with the Lightning… Defenseman Mark Barberio made his NHL debut…
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