The Tampa Bay Lightning started out this game much like any other. There was a lot of back and forth between the two teams. The Lightning has been showing a sort of aggression that they seem to have lacked in the beginning of the season.
The Bolts would get the first Power Play of the night as Islanders defenseman Brian Strait is sent off for 2 minutes for Delay of Game. The Lightning would capitalize on the opportunity with a Power Play Goal from the captain, his 21st goal of the season. The assists on the St. Louis goal would go to centers Valtteri Filppula and Tyler Johnson.
In what can be considered our “Awww…” moment of the night, today is Mason St. Louis’ birthday. Mason is the son of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis. Earlier today, St. Louis told his son that he would score a goal for him in tonight’s game. It would seem that the captain is a man of his word. Happy Birthday to Mason!
Both teams would get two shots at the Power Play in the first period today, but the Lightning would be the only ones that were able to capitalize. When the buzzer would sound to end the first period, the Bolts would lead the Isles 1-0.
The first half of the second period would be rather uneventful. Both sides would be presented with some decent scoring chances, but neither side was able to pull the trigger.
There was a little dust up between Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer and Islanders right wing Colin McDonald. Each would get a shot in before Brewer would score the takedown. Both players were sent to the box for five minutes for Fighting. Not sure what started the dust up, but it is nice to see Eric Brewer stepping up as of late.
The tide would turn for the Islanders in the final moments of the period. Victor Hedman would be sent to the box for High Sticking for the second time tonight. Center Nate Thompson would lose the Faceoff in the defensive zone, and after a few quick passes Islanders left wing Thomas Vanek would find a way to get the puck past Bishop and tie the score for the Islanders.
The third period would start out much like the second. There was a lot of back and forth between the Bolts and the Isles, but really no one to pull the trigger.
There were a couple of tense moments late in the third period. A least two pucks made the loud dinging noise made only by the goal post. This is by no means a knock to either of our goaltenders, but the fact remains that the time will come on occasion when the goal post makes just as tremendous of a save as the goaltender.
After another 5 minutes of back and forth play, the buzzer would sound and this game would head to overtime.
When the teams took the ice for the shootout, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper chose to go with Nikita Kucherov, Valtteri Filppula, and Victor Hedman. Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano would go with Thomas Vanek, John Tavares, and Frans Neilsen.
Filppula would go first for the Lightning. He had Poulin beat dead to rights, but his puck reflects off the crossbar, and it would be no goal.
Unfortunately, it would be Neilsen who would find his way past Bishop putting the Isles ahead. Poulin would hold off both Kucherov and Hedman, and the New York Islanders would win this one 2-1.
While the ending is indeed disappointing, I think calling this a bad game is a bit of a stretch. There were some silly mistakes made on both sides of the ice, but at the end of the day, these two teams were deadlocked. At the final buzzer, the Shots on Goal were tied up at 30, and the Faceoffs won were tied up at 33. Beyond that, both of these teams would score their respective goals on the Power Play.
Like I said, these two teams were dead even.
This is another one of those games where all you can do is throw your hands in the air, give the Bolts a nod for bringing home one of the two points, and focus on the next game.
Speaking of the next game, the Bolts will stay home this week as they face former Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle and the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
This is by no means going to be a walk in the park, but if the Bolts can continue to play with intensity, stay out of the penalty box, and continue to block shots in front of the net, we will certainly be in a good place come Saturday night.
Your Three Stars of the Game:
What did you take away from tonight’s game? What do you think the Bolts will need to do differently to come out on top against the Sharks? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.