The final game of the regular season has finally come to an end, and with a shutout by Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback and a Shootout goal by Lightning defenseman Matt Carle, the Tampa Bay Lightning have clinched the Home Ice Advantage in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This game was certainly one of the most uneventful games that we have seen in quite some time; at least until the third period. By the third period of play, a majority of the Bolts Nation was sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the Bolts to find the back of the net.
The Caps certainly turned up the heat in the third period, offering up more shots on goal in the third than they had in the first and second periods combined. Thankfully, Anders Lindback was able to hold strong and keep the puck out of the back of the net, earning his second shutout in the last four games.
While Lindback may not have had to make many stops tonight, he did in fact stop them all, and that is all that really matters at this point in the game.
He may not have come home with the win tonight; however, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby played a pretty good game as well. Holtby kept the Bolts out of the back of the net for 60 minutes if play, blocking all 32 shots on goal that the Lightning would bring against him.
As I said before, it would be Lightning defenseman Matt Carle who would ultimately seal the deal with a goal in the very first round of the shootout.
The Capitals brought center Evgeny Kuznetsov, captain Alex Ovechkin, and center Nicklas Backstrom against the Bolts in the shootout; however, even the League’s leading goal scorer couldn’t find their way past Lindback.
Ultimately, the Lightning would defeat the Caps 1-0, bringing home a win in the final game of the 2013-14 regular season and clinching home ice advantage in the first round.
I think these past few games have been a testament to what this team can do when they put their minds to it. Barring a few mistakes, which every team has from one time to another, the Lightning have managed to face down adversity and work together as a well-oiled machine that can take on all comers.
Hopefully, the Lightning can bring this same kind of intensity home with them as they host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Quarterfinal Round.
Who do you think really shined in tonight’s game? (Besides Lindback, of course.) What do you think the Bolts will need to do in order to keep their momentum rolling as they take on Montreal in the first round? Let us know what you think in the comments below.