Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned home to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to host Brad Richards and the New York Rangers. On a night where we honor our captain Martin St. Louis, the Lightning came out of the gate strong and shut out the New York Rangers 5-0.
The Lightning wasted no time in getting on the board tonight. At just 2:12 in the first period, in his first shot of his first shift in his first game in the National Hockey League, Nikita Kucherov fires a snap shot past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist giving the Lightning the early advantage.
Not to be out done, our captain fired off a wrist shot which found the back of the net with ease.
Maybe I am just a deep person, but I can’t help but appreciate the fact that there are 1,002 games separating the first two players to score tonight. Can you imagine the memories and hockey history contained in those 1,002 games? Everything that Marty has seen in his storied career still lies ahead for Kucherov who is just beginning his journey.
At the end of the period, the Lightning would lead the Rangers 2-0.
There were both ups and downs to the first period. To be honest with you, my only complaint that period was the penalties. While 9 minutes in penalties may not seem like a lot, times that by 3 periods, and on that pattern they would have over an entire period in penalty minutes by the end of the game. With a team like New York who loves to pepper goaltenders with shots, continually being a man down can really hurt you.
In the first twenty minutes of play, the Lightning had great puck possession, and the defense was using their individual skills to their advantage to continually get in front of the puck and get it back in the offensive zone.
The second period started much like the first. Just 3:12 into the second period and the captain would find the net for the second time tonight with assists from center Valtteri Filppula and defenseman Andrej Sustr.
Unfortunately, this would be the start of the penalty rush. The Lightning would find themselves on the penalty kill twice in the first half of the period. For a full minute, they found themselves in a 5 on 3 situation. Thankfully, the Bolts were able to kill both penalties.
While on the 5 on 3 Thompson had a beautiful opportunity at a shorthanded goal; however, he was pretty well robbed by Lundqvist with a tremendous save.
At 16:52 in the period, right wing Teddy Purcell would release a beautiful snap shot making its way past Lundqvist on the glove side putting the Bolts up 4-0.
In another blow to the Lightning on the injury front, Pierre-Cedric Labrie would leave the game with an Upper Body Injury. At that point in the second, it was unknown if he would be able to return to the game.
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop took a pretty serious beating during the second period. At one point he had to be evaluated by head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan. Thankfully, Bishop seemed to be ok and remained in net for the Bolts.
One observation regarding the defense tonight, I am rather impressed with Andrej Sustr. He was really on his game tonight; getting in front of the puck, blocking shots, and using his ridiculously long reach to his advantage.
When the buzzer sounded on the second period, the Lightning would continue to lead the Rangers 4-0.
The Lightning started the third period with the same intensity that they showed the previous 40 minutes.
A majority of the third period was a back and forth battle with neither side able to capitalize; however, with 1:01 left in the game, Teddy Purcell was able to score his second goal of the night with a beautiful backhand shot making the score 5-0.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Tampa Bay Lightning would be victorious. This is Bishop’s second shutout of the season.
Speaking of Ben Bishop, the Lightning goaltender was able to stop 37 shots tonight in his shutout victory. On the other side of the ice, Lundqvist and Talbot only had to face a combined total of 25 shots on goal. Fortunately, the Lightning offense was able to capitalize on their opportunities and get the puck in the back of the net.
As I have said before, there were ups and downs to tonight’s game; however, any night that the ups outweigh the downs is a good night. Tonight was definitely a good night.
I can’t think of a better outcome on the night where we honor our captain for his 1,000th game.
Three Stars of the Game
What did you think about tonight’s 5-0 victory over the New York Rangers? What do you think the Bolts could have done better? What can they take with them into the next game? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.