The Tampa Bay Lightning has been on one, giant rollercoaster ride since coming back from the Olympic Break. Tonight, they finish out their four game road trip with a stop at the Scottrade Center to go head-to-head with the newly acquired Steve Ott and the St. Louis Blues. Let’s take a look at what is in store for the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.
There have been both ups and downs, the latest being the upset in Denver when the Bolts dropped a 3-2 lead in the third period, allowing the Colorado Avalanche to score four late goals giving the Avs a 6-3 win. Fortunately, there is not a lot of time to dwell on the loss here in the Bolts Nation as the Lightning are back at it against the Blues tonight.
This is going to be another one of those tough games tonight. Right now, the St. Louis Blues are 40-14-6, which puts them in second place in the Western Conference with 86 points. The only team above them is the Anaheim Ducks who are sitting pretty with 91 points.
For a majority of the season, when you looked at the stat sheet, the Lightning have been right there on par with the opposing team. Tonight, this is not the case.
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One of the areas that this team seems to excel in is Special Teams. They are incredibly strong on the penalty kill, so I wouldn’t look for any miraculous shorthanded goals tonight. At the same time, they are pretty fierce on the Power Play, so the Bolts are going to need to be mindful of their surroundings and not get sucked into an unnecessary penalty that will open that door for the Blues.
Normally I talk about the goaltenders last, but today we are going to make an exception. As some of you may already know, the Blues just got a heck of a trade from the Buffalo Sabres that had the Blues acquire themselves a new goaltender. That goaltender would be the one and only Ryan Miller.
It is going to be incredibly interesting to see Miller go up against Bishop tonight, especially after all the hoopla surrounding the Olympic Games.
Miller has only played one game so far in a Blues sweater, but this season he has gone 16-22-3. Before you say, “That’s not exactly a good record,” take into consideration that he was traded from the absolute worst team in the league right now. He has a GAA of 2.70 and a Save Percentage of .923.
Now, on the other side of the ice, we have Big Ben Bishop, who will indeed be between the pipes tonight for Tampa Bay. He has gone 29-10-4 this season with a GAA of 2.05 and a Save Percentage of .932.
See what I mean by a good comparison?
Now, as far as point scorers are concerned, it is left wing Alexander Steen who is holding down the fort for St. Louis. He has 28 goals and 19 assists for a total of 47 points to go along with his plus-13 rating. This puts him at the top of the goal scoring and points race for St. Louis. Leading the way in assists is defenseman Alex Pietrangelo with 36.
On the other side of the ice, it is still our captain, Martin St. Louis who is dominating the scoresheet.
So far this season, he has scored 29 goals and 31 assists for a total of 60 points in addition to his plus-16 rating.
This is undoubtedly going to be a tough game for the Bolts. The odds may be against them at the current point and time, but the outcome is what is important right now. After practice today, Coach Cooper said that the only thing they are focus on right now is beating St. Louis. This means that the team is prepared to have their heads in the game and put their best stick forward.
You know what else the Bolts are going to need tonight? They need their Thunder. The Lightning may not be playing at home tonight, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need the Bolts Nation in their corner tonight. So, throw on your favorite Lightning gear and get your behinds in front of the television ready to scream your heads off tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning kick some ice tonight against the St. Louis Blues.
Are you ready to watch some Lightning Hockey? What do you think the key to victory is going to be tonight? Will Bishop be able to hold strong against Miller tonight? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.