The Tampa Bay Lightning played the Ottawa Senators last night at home. This was the Lightning’s first of a two game home stand. After dropping most of their recent games, this was a much needed win. Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Ryan Malone both made a return from being injured for quite a long time. Labrie’s come back was a triumphant one. He netted his first NHL goal! Visitors got to see Steven Stamkos in action, as he scored the game winning goal. Martin St. Louis made his 900th career point. It was a night full of near-fights, strange calls by the referees, and a lot of celebrating by Tampa. It was strange to see Cory Conacher in an Ottawa jersey. He and Ben Bishop both faced their former teams for the first time after being swapped out for each other last week. Bishop redeemed himself in the eyes of many after the last two losses. He made some highlight worthy, amazing saves. However, they were a bit too risky for my liking.
They came out full of force and playing with fire. The Senators made many mistakes, and the refs were whistle happy. Right away, 1:07 into the game, Zach Smith gets 2 minutes for hooking. At 4:29 Pierre-Cedric Labrie got 2 minutes for hi-sticking. The period’s only goal was at 14:29 by Daniel Alredsson.
The second period was a busy one. Pierre-Cedric Labrie got his first career NHL goal at 2:35, tying things up. That goal was assisted by Nate Thompson and B.J. Crombeen. Kyle Turris and Peter Regin got back to back penalties at 3:50, giving the Bolts a 3-on-5 2 man advantage for what would have been a full 2 minutes if Vincent Lecavalier had not of scored. The Senators killed half of the penalty, but at 4:28 Lecavalier struck the Power Play goal, with help from Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis. This was Marty’s 900th career NHL point. The rest of the period had no more goals. Just tons of penalties and shoving matches. At 7:42 Andre Benoit got a 2 minute penalty for holding the stick. Sergei Gonchar went off for 2 at 9:56 for slashing. Marty St. Louis blew the Lightning Power Play when he got 2 minutes himself for hooking. Delay of game was called on Ben Bishop at 10:54. Teddy Purcell served the 2 minutes for him. at 12:55 Chris Phillips got 2 for hi-sticking, and B.J. Crombeen also served 2 minutes for holding the stick at 19:21.
The third period opened up with the Bolts having to serve about a minute and a half of a Penalty Kill, due to B.J. Crombeen’s holding the stick call at the end of the second. Right away, 21 seconds after the horn, Guillaume Latendresse got the Power Play goal for Ottawa. With the tie again, fans were praying that someone would score so it wouldn’t be another school and work night shoot-out. We can think Sergei Gonchar for hooking at 14:40, as Steven Stamkos got the Power Play goal at 14:56, putting the Lightning ahead by 1. Chris Neil was looking for a fight the whole night, being the instigator in several different scraps. He and Ryan Malone got in a serious shoving match, almost assaulting the poor ref, as he held on to Neil and Bugsy kept skating along the wall with them, both of the players shouting at each other and trying to tear each other apart through the referee. They were escorted to their boxes for 2 minutes at 16:32 for roughing. I was honestly surprised that the two didn’t make obscene gestures and yell through the glass at each other.
Right as the buzzer sounded to end the game, all 5 of the skaters from both teams immediately got in a big fight. Though everyone appeared to be equally into it, 2:00 for roughing was announced for Eric Brewer and Chris Neil.
Best finish of a game I’ve ever seen. I was fully entertained last night. Let’s hope that the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins is as entertaining, and the outcome the same or better. The Bolts have proven many times that they can hold their own against the Big Dogs.