Tampa Bay Lightning Defeat The Winnipeg Jets In Steven Stamkos’ 500th Game


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The Tampa Bay Lightning sealed the deal in overtime as they defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have been pushed to the limits tonight, but a quick overtime goal from Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat would elevate the Lightning to victory at the MTS Centre .

The Tampa Bay Lightning started off this game much like they did during their stellar run in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They played with intensity and with an unbridled determination to bring home the victory. Even with the struggles the special teams has been having lately, they put on a pretty good show.

It wasn’t until after the halfway point in the game when the Tampa Bay Lightning would finally draw first blood. It would ultimately be Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn who would fire off a blast past Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and into the back of the net. Lightning center Tyler Johnson would get the lone assist on the goal, extending his assists to five so far this season.

Unfortunately for the Lightning, they would not end the first period of play with the lead they were looking for. At 16:28, it would be Jets rookie Nikolaj Ehlers who would tie up the game for the Winnipeg Jets. We find it interesting to note that Ehlers played on the same Halifax Mooseheads team as Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin. As mentioned in the Lightning’s preshow on Sun Sports, the two players had excellent things to say about one another.

All was quiet on the Western front until the horn sounded to end the first period. Suddenly, it was like a war zone on the ice as four separate fights seemed to start at the same time. Apparently everything started when Cedric Paquette had his helmet unceremoniously removed off the final faceoff. Despite all the punches thrown, the only players to receive penalties were Paquette and Jets center Bryan Little.

We must tip our hats to Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. Bishop was tested many times in the first period and still managed to come up with some pretty big saves. If there had been anyone else between the pipes for the Lightning, this may be a completely different game.

When the Lightning would take the ice for the second period, both Paquette and Little would make their way to the box.  Neither of these two teams would find the back of the net during the 4-on-4 and both teams would return to full strength.

Having one of his scrappier nights, Cedric Paquette once again found himself in a bit of a tussle; this time with Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. The good news is, neither one of them would make their way to the box for this little dust up.

One of the things we love about Cedric Paquette is the uncanny ability he has to drop the gloves and lay the smackdown on the other team and still manage to score goals in the same game. This talent came to light at 7:22 in the second period when Paquette would sink the puck past Pavelec and regain the lead for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s luck would make a shift in the wrong direction around the halfway point in the period. After Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman made an ill-timed turnover, the Jets would make their way to the front of the Lightning net. As Winnipeg right wing Drew Stafford fired off his shot, Ben Bishop would falter ever so slightly and the Jets would tie the game for the second time.

Of course, the Tampa Bay Lightning couldn’t possibly let something like this stand. The MTS Centre is definitely a difficult arena to play in given the passion of the Winnipeg fans, and the Lightning knew they would have to do something to retake control of the game if they wanted to remain on top.

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Less than one minute after the Stafford goal, the Tampa Bay Lightning would crash the net with a good screen by Cedric Paquette which opened the door for Vladislav Namestnikov to score his third goal of the season to retake the lead once again for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Defenseman Victor Hedman would register his second assist of the game on Namestnikov’s goal, having already registered an assist on the Paquette goal.

The Tampa Bay Lightning came into the third period with a bang. Unfortunately, that bang turned into a thud at just over one minute into the third period. The Lightning found themselves on the Power Play as Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom is sent to the box for Holding the Stick of Nikita Kucherov. Just when you thought the Lightning were improving on the Power Play, they had to go and prove us all wrong.

Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman would turn over the puck and the Jets would come flying into the Lightning’s defensive zone. As Bishop went on one of his adventures outside of the net to play the puck, he was sniped by Jets right wing Blake Wheeler as he sped around and sunk the puck in the empty net. This would tie the game for the Jets once again.

As the time continued to tick off the clock, the Jets really turned on the afterburners and put some intense pressure on Ben Bishop. Thankfully, he was able to put his previous misstep out of his mind and hold strong until the sound of the buzzer to end the third period.

This is the second game in a row the Tampa Bay Lightning have pushed into the overtime period. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Lightning were not destined for a long and drawn-out overtime period. Just 36 seconds into the extra frame, Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos would register his 2nd assist of the season, in what just so happens to be his 500th career game.  Victor Hedman would earn his 3rd assist of the night on Palat’s overtime winner.

The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly had their fair share of missteps in tonight’s encounter; especially the sniping of Ben Bishop in the third period. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to turn up the heat when it mattered the most and they kick off their back-to-back weekend with a win.

It will be interesting to see how things play out tomorrow night at the United Center as the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Chicago Blackhawks in a rematch from the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals. According to Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer Joe Smith, the Tampa Bay Lightning has recalled goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis from the Syracuse Crunch. This means we could potentially see him in net tomorrow night against the Blackhawks.

Despite some of his shortcomings in tonight’s game, Bishop does have something to celebrate tonight in Winnipeg. Tonight’s overtime win in Winnipeg marks the 100th career win for the six foot seven inch tall netminder. This comes as no surprise to those of us here in the Bolts Nation. Bishop seems to have a knack for setting records everywhere he goes with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has another challenge in front of them tonight as they square off with Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks. There are many questions heading into tomorrow night’s encounter, but the one thing we know for sure is this is one Stanley Cup Finals rematch you won’t want to miss.

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