The Tampa Bay Lightning played one heck of a rollercoaster game tonight. It would take three frames, a overtime, and a shootout to decide a winner, but ultimately, the Tampa Bay Lightning would defeat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in the shootout.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came out with a bang tonight. In the first period of play, the Bolts had already laid 17 Shots on Goal against the Senators 12.
The Lightning would strike first blood with a shorthanded goal from center Tyler Johnson. However, the Sens would be quick to get that goal back, capitalizing on the Power Play with a goal from Erik Karlsson.
It would take 13 more minutes, but the Sens would get that point back, again on the Power Play, with a goal from Clarke MacArthur to bring the score to 2-2.
The Lightning continued their offensive prowess in the second as they continued to leads the Senators in Shots on Goal through the second period as they led 26-18 through 40 minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get back on top. Until the third period, that is.
Early in the third period, at 5:31 to be more specific, Ondrej Palat would net his 11th goal of the season with the assists from the captain Martin St. Louis and Victor Hedman, giving the Lightning the one goal lead.
Just when the Lightning thought they had this game in the bag, the Senators had other ideas.
With just over 2 minutes left in the game, Chris Neil sinks his 6th goal of the season to tie the game at 3. The two teams would battle in the last 2 minutes, but neither side could pull the trigger. At the end of the night, this game would be headed to overtime.
During the overtime period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would outshoot the Ottawa Senators 7-2. The Bolts would finish the extra frame on the Power Play as Senators defenseman Cody Ceci was sent off for 2 minutes for Tripping Ondrej Palat; however, even with the offensive presence, the Bolts could not pull the trigger during the extra frame.
Ironically, it would be the first one out of the gate that would ultimately get the “W” for the Bolts. Nikita Kucherov was able to beat Senators goaltender Craig Anderson on the first run out for the Bolts. Anderson would hold off both Filppula and St. Louis as Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop would hold off all three Senators shooters.
There is nothing about this game that says that the Bolts were “outplayed.” Their offense was there the entire game. The issue that seemed to keep pulling them down in this encounter was the penalties. Both of Ottawa’s first two goals were scored while on the Power Play. While I will admit that Tyler’s shorty made the first Power Play goal hurt a little less, it still kind of stung.
This is something that they have got to get under control if they want to continue winning. There are really only two solutions to this issue. Either the Bolts can pick it up on the Penalty Kill or they can stay out of the box. If you ask my personal opinion, I’ll go with the latter, but at the end of the day, I’ll take what I can get as long as it is accompanied by a “W” and two points.
On a positive note, the Bolts absolutely dominated in the Faceoff circle tonight. The Bolts outshined the Sens 47-30 in the faceoff circle tonight. This is largely in part to three players tonight; Martin St. Louis, Valtteri Filppula, and Nate Thompson.
St. Louis went 3 for 5 tonight in the faceoff circle which gave him a win percentage of 60%. Next is Lightning center Valtteri Filppula. Filppula went 16 for 25 in the faceoff circle tonight for a win percentage of 64%. However, the star of the night in the faceoff circle was center Nate Thompson. Thompson went 15 for 21 in the faceoff circle tonight for a win percentage of 71%.
Sometimes, people can overlook the importance of a faceoff win; however, when you are in the defensive zone and crunch time is upon you, a faceoff win can make all the difference in the world.
All in all, I would call this a very positive win for the Bolts. Tonight’s win snaps a 5 game losing streak at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the Lightning. This will serve as good motivation for the team heading into Saturday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Your Three Stars of the Night:
What are your takeaways from tonight’s game? What do you think the Bolts are going to need to do in order to keep this momentum rolling on Saturday against the Avs? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
As I said before, next up for the Tampa Bay Lightning is a visit from the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.