The Tampa Bay Lightning came into tonight’s game on the heels of one of the worst games they have played so far this season; however, the tide has turned in Tampa Bay as goaltender Ben Bishop backstopped the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-0 shutout win over Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Tonight’s encounter got off to a bit of a slow start. The first 20 minutes of play not only saw zero points put on the board, but only saw a shot count of 8…between both teams. Yikes!
It wasn’t until just under halfway through the second period before one of the two teams would break the ice and draw first blood. Thankfully, that team was the Lightning.
Victor Hedman was able to bank the puck off of Carolina goaltender Justin Peters to score his 2nd goal of the season. The assists on the Hedman goal went to center Nate Thompson and right wing B.J. Crombeen.
During the first two period of play, even though the Bolts were up by one, the game seemed almost lackadaisical. Almost as if they were only doing what they needed to in order to get by; however, the third period was a different story.
When the Bolts came out of the locker room and took the ice for the final frame, it was like someone had injected ice water into their veins. They were cold, calculating, and really kept the pressure on.
With just under 3 minutes left in the game, Killorn would score a goal of his own, his 3rd of the season, assisted by St. Louis.
Neither of the two teams were able to capitalize on the Power Play tonight. Tampa Bay went 0 for 3 and Carolina went 0 for 4. On the flip side, that means that the penalty kill squads were doing their job on both sides of the ice.
However, the hero of the night would be Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. Tonight, Bishop stopped all 31 shots that were brought against him, earning his 1st shutout of the season, and the 4th of his career.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Peters did a bad job between the pipes. Carolina goaltender Justin Peters blocked 29 of 31 shots that were brought against him. He denied Stamkos on more than one occasion and was able to hold off the Bolts on 3 power play situations. He ended the game with a Save Percentage of .906.
According to the numbers, you would not assume that the Bolts ran away with this game. The Shots o Goal were 32-31 Tampa Bay; however, Carolina outperformed the Lightning in the faceoff circle, winning 35-21 in Faceoffs.
Stamkos is on a 5 game point streak after tonight’s game. He put up 9 shots on goal tonight with one goal and a plus-2 rating.
Tonight’s win has preserved Tampa Bay’s reputation. So far this season, the Bolts have not experienced a true losing streak. Not once have the lost back-to-back games. Hopefully, this trend continues.
St. Louis has reinvigorated the Lightning. He has brought them to a point where they will fight to the very end for every point they can put their hands on, and even in the face of adversity, they have found a way to win.
Believe me when I say that St. Louis earning the captaincy this season is the absolute best thing that could have happened to the Lightning this season. With his alternate captains Steven Stamkos, Nate Thompson, and Matt Carle by his side, they have bred a winning atmosphere and a team that not only wants to win, but is willing to fight to achieve it.
At the sound of the final buzzer, there is no better way to start off a new month than with a shutout win.
Three Stars of the Game:
The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
Make sure to check back with Bolts By The Bay as we bring you all the action of tomorrow night’s game.