Tuesday looked like it was going to be a long night, but Valtteri Filppula’s two goals at the end of the third period helped take the game to a shootout where the Tampa Bay Lightning were ultimately victorious over the New York Islanders by the score of 3-2.
In what seems to be a pattern as of late for the Bolts, the first period started off pretty slowly. Their play left some things to be desired during this period. They were overpassing the puck, turning it over in the most inopportune places, and sincerely making Bishop carry a majority of the load.
The second period started pretty quickly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for the Lightning.
Just 11 seconds into the new period, while on the Power Play thanks to Radko Gudas’ Interference on Thomas Vanek in the closing second of the first period, right wing Kyle Okposo is able to bury a slapshot opening the scoring for the Islanders.
Just over halfway through the period Tyler Johnson would get called to the box for 2 minutes for Holding Islanders captain John Tavares. Thankfully for the Lightning, their penalty kill was able to outlast the Isles’ Power Play.
When the third period started things seemed to have gone from bad to worse. Time is slowly ticking off the clock, and the Bolts are still unable to muster any sort of offense. Thanks to the spectacular performance by Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, the Bolts were able to hold the Isles off the board.
That is, until about 10:21 in the period. This is when Islanders center Frans Nielsen was able to bury a wrist shot past Bishop. This brought the Islanders to a two goal lead.
Time continued to tick off the clock. At 17:07, everything would change.
Lightning center Valtteri Filppula fired off an unassisted wrist shot that found the back of the net, finally putting the Lightning on the board.
Still down by a goal, and with the puck on the other end of the ice, fans started to believe that this game was over. However, Filppula showed us exactly why you never stop believing in our Bolts.
With just 3.8 seconds left on the clock, Filppula buries his second goal of the night, his 12th of the season, tying the game.
With the sound of the buzzer, these two teams would head to an extra frame. When the OT period came to an end, there was still no decisive winner.
Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper would elect to send out Valtteri Filppula, Nikita Kucherov, and Teddy Purcell. Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano would send in left wing Thomas Vanek, center Frans Nielsen, and captain John Tavares.
First, the Isles would send in Vanek. As expected, Bishop makes the save. “Mr. Clutch” Valtteri Filppula was up first for the Bolts. Filppula makes it look easy as he gets on past Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Next up for the Isles was Nielsen, who is able to sneak one past Bishop. Now the pressure is on right wing Nikita Kucherov, who is able to sink one in. Finally, the Islanders would send in their captain in an effort to save their game. In a move that brought the Bolts Nation to their feet, Bishop makes the stop, giving the Lightning the win.
Here is another look at the save that sealed the deal.
After the departure of former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, a good number of fans were unhappy with the acquisition of Filppula. While I can understand their frustration after losing their longtime captain, no one can deny that Filppula has definitely been earning his keep.
With his 12 goals and 11 assists, he has a total of 23 points so far this season. At this point in the season, he has already surpassed the amount of points that he scored in the entirety of last season. Right now, he is tied for second on the team in points, and is currently 3 on the team in regards to goals.
Throughout the night, the defensive play was very back and forth. However, throughout it all, Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas was able to lay down some good, solid hits. Unfortunately, as it does in just about every game, it always draws some unnecessary ire from the other team. This is something that we as fans have come to accept as a consequence of having a defenseman that can lay down some good, solid hits.
Like I said before, the Lightning has proven that they have what it takes to stay on top. All they have to do is make sure that their offensive game and their defensive game are both on at the same time.
Three Stars of the Game
What do you think are the keys to coming out on top against the Preds? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.