The Tampa Bay Lightning put forth an explosive offensive effort, defeating the Florida Panthers 6-1.
The night started out really slow for these two Florida teams. There was a lot of back and forth; however, it wouldn’t be until the final minutes of the period before someone would capitalize. Unfortunately for the Lightning, it wasn’t exactly the start they hoped for.
At 18:56 in the period, while Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat sat in the box for 2 minutes for Hooking Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau, former Lightning left wing Sean Bergenheim fired off a Snap Shot with the assist from rookie center Aleksander Barkov to give the Panthers the early lead.
Not to be outdone, the Lightning would strike back just 19 seconds later with a tip-in goal from Lightning center Alex Killorn. The assists on the goal went to center Valtteri Filppula and defenseman Victor Hedman.
The second period, which is usually where the team usually seems to back off a little, was all about the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning struck early in the period with a goal from center Tyler Johnson at 3:22 in the second. Johnson scored on a tip-in from Hedman with the secondary assist going to captain Martin St. Louis.
At 6:48 in the period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would have a 5 on 3 Power Play as Panthers defenseman Tom Gilbert was called to the box for 2 minutes for Hooking St. Louis and Huberdeau served the Bench Minor for the Panthers for Too Many Men on the Ice.
Speaking of St. Louis, at 12:07 in the period, St. Louis would fire a Slapshot that would find its way past the glove side of Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen, giving him his 16th goal of the season. The assist on the St. Louis goal would go to left wing Ondrej Palat.
Here is a look at the goal from St. Louis and Palat.
When the buzzer would sound on the second period, the Lightning would lead the Panthers 4-1. As I said before, the Lightning tends to sit back a little bit in the second period; however, that was not the case tonight. In the second period, the Lightning outshot the Panthers 16-12. This is an increase of 7 shots from the first period of play.
The Lightning started things off early again in the third period.
Just over 10 minutes later, at 13:36 in the period, J.T. Brown would strike again, scoring his 4th goal of the season, with the assists to both Kucherov and Hedman, giving the Lightning a 5 goal lead over the Panthers.
With the sound of the final buzzer, the Tampa Bay Lightning would defeat the Florida Panthers 6-1, clinching the newly minted Governor’s Cup.
Over the course of the month of December, and even more so in the last few games, the Lightning have shown that despite being down the sniper known as Steven Stamkos, the Bolts still have what it takes to throw down a dangerous offense.
In the game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night, the Bolts would hit a season-high 50 Shots on Goal. The Bolts would have another strong offensive showing tonight against the Panthers, outshooting the kitty cats 36-29.
The Bolts have done exactly what fans have asked of them, they have started shooting the puck; and it has definitely paid off for them. I want you to think about something for a minute. If we are putting this many shots on goal now, if we are scoring this many goals now…what happens in February when we will potentially get Steven Stamkos back?
The captain scored 3 points in tonight’s matchup. This gives him 949 career points, and puts him in 90th place in the National Hockey League for all-time point totals. Also, with his 1 goal and 1 assist tonight, Valtteri Filppula extends his current point streak to 5.
The Bolts snapped Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen’s 4 game win streak tonight. Clemmensen stopped 30 of 36 shots the Bolts brought against him tonight giving him a Save Percentage of .833
“Big” Ben Bishop put on one heck of a show tonight, blocking 28 of the 29 shots brought against him tonight by the Panthers, giving him a Save Percentage of .966. This is Bishop’s 20th win of the season.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am pretty satisfied with not just the effort, but the results that the Bolts have come with in these last 5 games. Including tonight’s game, the Bolts have won 7 of the 11 games they have played in the month of December.
Now, the Tampa Bay Lightning have a five day break over the Christmas holiday to sit back, relax, and reflect over the accomplishments that they have made thus far. According to Coach Cooper, the Bolts will get back to work with a practice on Friday before the back-to-back this weekend.
As I have said the past few games, if the Lightning can continue to play the way they did tonight when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, then the Bolts have a good chance of extending their streak to 6.
Three Stars of the Game:
What are your thoughts on the Lightning’s performance tonight? What do you think the Lightning need to do in their time off in order to keep the momentum going against Montreal this Saturday? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.