All season long, the New Jersey Devils, or more specifically goaltender Martin Brodeur, has had the number of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tonight, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in sunny Tampa, Florida, the Bolts set the record straight as they blanked the Devils 3-0.
A night like tonight is something that Lightning fans have been waiting a long time for.
Rather than play one great period and letting the others slip away into oblivion, the Bolts played a full 60 minute game tonight. There was something special about their energy tonight, and the entire building could feel it.
Were there a few mistakes made here and there? Sure. However, with a goaltender like Big Ben Bishop between the pipes, the Lightning made their presence known tonight.
There was a lot, and I do mean a lot of back and forth between these two teams in the first period. Unfortunately, despite a scare early in the first period that was disallowed by the refs due to incidental contact with Bishop, no one on either side was able to pull the trigger.
It wasn’t until over the halfway point in the second period when the Bolts would strike for the first time. It was Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen who would get the party started with his 3rd goal of the season with the assists from defenseman Mike Kostka and center Valtteri Filppula.
Just a couple of minutes later, Kostka, otherwise known as the God of Thunder, would find the back of the net for his 4th goal of the season with assists from left wing Ondrej Palat and Filppula, who would pick up his second point of the night.
In the third period, it would be center Nate Thompson who would score the insurance goal (not that we needed any insurance) that put the final nail in the Devils’ coffin. The lone assist on the Thompson goal would go to right wing J.T. Brown.
This was a pretty amazing night for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. Tonight, not only did Bishop earn his 5th shutout this season, putting him in a tie for second place in the NHL with the likes of Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, but he earned his 31st win of the season, which broke the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise record for most wins in a single season. A record which was previous owned by former Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.
Unfortunately for the Devils, the same cannot be said for New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur has gone 17-12-4 in the 33 games he has played this season.
Tonight, the Bolts snapped a 4 game winning streak for the veteran goaltender.
Brodeur was able to stop 29 of the 32 shots that were brought against him tonight which gave him a Save Percentage of .906.
If we can keep this momentum rolling and continue to win games like this, we will find ourselves in a pretty position for the post season.
What do you think was the key to the Lightning’s success tonight? What do you think they will have to do, other than win games, to find themselves playing past the first two weeks in April? Let us know what you think in the comments below.