Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning headed into the Scotiabank Saddledome to go head-to-head with the Calgary Flames. After another spectacular whole team performance the Tampa Bay Lightning shut out the Calgary Flames 2-0.
This is the first time that these two teams have met since December 15, 2011 when the Lightning defeated the Flames 5-4 in overtime. This is also the first time we have competed in the Scotiabank Saddledome since December 7, 2010 when the Flames defeated the Lightning 4-2.
If you judge the first period solely on scoring, these two teams were perfectly matched, as neither team was able to sound the goal horn during the first 20 minutes of play.
However, there was still plenty of action.
Just over 5 minutes into the first period, Flames right wing Kevin Westgarth found it necessary to cross-check Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, sending him flying to the ground. Thankfully, the rest of the team took offense to this. As a result, we had a little mini-brawl. When all was said and done, Westgarth would go to the box for 2 minutes for Cross-Checking, and Flames defenseman Shane O’Brien and Lightning center Nate Thompson would both go to the box for 2 minutes for Roughing.
As one could suspect, the action didn’t end there. At 9:36, left wing Ryan Malone would drop the glove with Westgarth. Both would head off for 5 minutes for Fighting.
The second period is a much different story.
The rookies strike again in a highly productive second period. The shots on goal in the second were 6-8 Flames, but it would be the Lightning that was able to capitalize on the opportunities put before them.
Just like the first period, there were plenty of penalties in the second. There were a total of six minutes for the Flames; four minutes to Mike Cammalleri and two to Jiri Hudler. The Lightning had a total of four minutes in penalties; two to Gudas for Holding, and 2 served by Teddy Purcell for Too Many Men on the Ice.
Thankfully for the Bolts, the scoring was all the players in blue and white. As I said before, it was the rookies that led the charge once again.
During the second period there was a little bit of drama. After being hit into the boards, somehow Matt Carle’s blade came completely off of his skate. Both the players and the coach of the Calgary Flames were upset that the refs blew the play dead. If you really think about it, I would think that they would be happy there was a stoppage in play. I mean, do you really want to continue playing with something razor sharp just chilling on the ice. That is a sure-fire way to end up with an involuntary tattoo.
In the third period, the Bolts would give the Flames 2 more opportunities on the Power Play. However, it would be the last penalty that would ultimately be the nail in the coffin for the Flames. At 18:31 in the third, Flames captain Mark Giordano would get sent off for 2 minutes for Hooking center Valtteri Filppula.
Neither the Lightning nor the Flames would net a goal in the third frame, and the Tampa Bay Lightning would shut out the Calgary Flames 2-0.
There is no denying that the Lightning rookies are showing that they deserve their spot on the main roster. The Lightning rookies are leading the way in the NHL with points 88 points scored collectively. This is 35 points higher than the next club, which is the Dallas Stars who have 53. They are followed by the Calgary Flames with 39, the Winnipeg Jets with 36, and the Florida Panthers with 34.
At the end of the game, the Lightning outshot the Flames 29-19. The Flames edged ahead for the first time in the faceoff circle with 26-23.
About the only thing that I would change in this game would be the amount of penalties that they took. I can almost forgive the penalties to Nate Thompson and Ryan Malone, as they were standing up for their goaltender, but thankfully, at the end of the day, the Penalty Kill squad was able to all 5 of the Flames’ Power Play opportunities.
Of course, the Flames did the exact same thing to the Bolts. The Lightning were afforded 5 Power Play opportunities; however, they were unable to capitalize on them.
This is largely in part to former Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo, who despite earning the loss played a pretty spectacular game himself. Had anyone else been in goal, this could have very well been a 6-7 goal game for the Lightning.
Of course, it is Ben Bishop who would earn the shutout, tying Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask for first place in the National Hockey League for shutouts. If I told you last season that our goaltender would be on par with the likes of Rask, what would you have said to me?
In the end, this was another all-around game. I am very pleased with the way that the Lightning played tonight. As I said before, if not for the amount of penalties, this may have been a perfect game.
Three Stars of the Game:
What did you think of the Lightning’s performance tonight? Is there anything you think the Bolts will need to adjust to make sure the momentum keeps rolling in Edmonton? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.