The Tampa Bay Lightning definitely won’t be winning any awards for style in regards to tonight’s game; however, they were able to battle back and taken down the defending Stanley Cup Champions for the second and final time this season with a 6-5 win in overtime.
As I said before, this is the second meeting between the Lightning and the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The first time was on Saturday, October 5th at the United Center in Chicago where the Lighting would battle back from a 2-0 deficit to only to win in the shootout.
Tonight, the game was the Lightning’s to lose. They came out early in the first period with a goal from defenseman Matt Carle at 6:28 while on the Power Play. The assists on Carle’s goal go to center Valtteri Filppula and right wing Richard Panik.
At the end of the first period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would lead the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0.
Fun fact: This is the longest that the defending champions have been down a goal so far this season.
Just 33 seconds into the second period, the Lightning were assessed a bench minor for Too Many Men on the Ice. The penalty would be served by left wing Ryan Malone. Just under one minute later, Bolts Alternate Captain Nate Thompson would fire one off and hit the back of the net for a shorthanded goal, the 2nd so far this season for the Bolts.
Unfortunately for the Bolts, it wouldn’t be long before the tide would turn. Just under halfway through the second period, the Hawks would get on the board with a goal from Hawks left wing Bryan Bickell. The assists on the Bickell goal went to center Marcus Kruger and defenseman Brent Seabrook. Just over one minute later, in typical Blackhawk style, the Hawks would strike again; this time at the hands of right wing Marian Hossa with the assists from center Patrick Sharp and Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Just over a minute later, Kane would score his 5th goal of the season for the Blackhawks unassisted; tying the score once again, this time at 3-3.
Again with the early penalty, the Bolts would find themselves on the penalty kill to start the third period. This time, it would be Filppula who would go to the box for the Bolts. The Blackhawks were able to capitalize on the opportunity with a goal from center Andrew Shaw. Assists credited to Kane and defenseman Duncan Keith on the Shaw goal.
It would be just over halfway through the period before the Lightning would be able to bring the score back to an even keel. At 11:03, Hedman would score his first goal of the season with assists from St. Louis and Stamkos. At 17:31 in the second period, while on the power play, Stamkos would score his 7th goal of the season with the assist from Filppula. This would put the Lightning back on top for the third time of the night.
Just under one minute later, which will go down as the biggest gaffe so far this season, the Lightning would actually score on themselves. After a miscued pass from Matt Carle to defenseman Radko Gudas, the puck would ricochet off of Gudas’ skate and go right past an unsuspecting Bishop. The goal was awarded to Jonathan Toews as he was the last Blackhawk to touch the puck.
This would tie the game once again with just 1:49 left in regulation.
Thankfully, we are in a different conference and the point for Chicago doesn’t really affect the Bolts’ endgame goal.
Just like the last time these two teams met, this game would go into overtime. However, unlike last time, this game would end during the extra period.
Just 1:16 into the overtime period, the captain would sink one in with the assists from Stamkos and Gudas bringing the score to 6-5 and giving the Bolts the win.
When you take a look at the numbers, you would not suspect the result that we saw in tonight’s matchup. The Lightning were outshot by the Blackhawks 43-25. Yes, the Hawks almost doubled up on us in Shots on Goal. Thankfully, the Bolts were able to capitalize on the opportunities in front of them.
The Bolts special teams were on fire tonight. They went 2 for 4 on the Power Play tonight, and also scored a shorty in the second period. The Hawks PP fell unusually flat tonight, capitalizing on only 1 of 6 opportunities in front of them.
While the numbers may not look like it on the surface, Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop really had a spectacular showing tonight. He earned his 6th win of the season, blocking 38 of the 43 Shots on Goal from the Hawks. He ended the game with a Save Percentage of .884.
There are a lot of positives that can be taken away from tonight’s game.
First of all, the Lightning were able to minimalize the offending penalties. The Bolts only found themselves down a man 4 times tonight as opposed to the Hawks 6.
Also, while they may not have laid down the same kind of heat that the Hawks did, the Bolts had a respectable amount of Shots on Goal tonight. I have said this a million times, but let’s go for a million and one. Shots on goal are important; however, you can shoot the puck under your arms give out from exhaustion, but if you can’t make the most of those shots, then you are wasting your time. To make a long story short, I will take quality over quantity any day of the week.
Next up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, they will swing open the doors to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the seventh and final time of this home stand to go head-to-head with our fellow Atlantic Division team, the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
Three Stars of the Game:
3. Patrick Kane
What do you think of the performance the Lightning put on tonight? What do the Bolts need to do to prepare for the Sabres on Saturday? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.