Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop captures his 100th win in a Lightning uniform as the Lightning defeat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 at the Amalie Arena.
The Tampa Bay Lightning knew coming into tonight’s encounter they had a huge task in front of them. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings were tied at 58 points for the second place position in the Atlantic Division. If the Tampa Bay Lightning win, they could create some separation between them and the Red Wings; lose and the Lightning would find themselves quickly bounced out of the 2nd place position.
Unfortunately, if you take a look at the way the Tampa Bay Lightning played in the first period, you would never know they were a team desperate to bring home the two points in front of their home town fans tonight. They lacked the offensive fire power they displayed in the last few games and seemed to struggle in areas they shouldn’t be struggling in.
While neither the Tampa Bay Lightning nor the Detroit Red Wings were able to make their way into the back of the net in the first 20 minutes of play, the Red Wings would outshoot the Lightning 10-4 in the first period. The Tampa Bay Lightning were going to have to make Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek work a little harder than that if they wanted to bring the two points home to Tampa Bay.
It may never become known what was said in the Tampa Bay Lightning locker room between the first and second periods of play, but whatever it was brought forth an entirely different Lightning team than we had seen over the course of the last twenty minutes.
It would only take 1:23 into the second period for the Tampa Bay Lightning to strike. The play was executed rather beautifully. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn would play the puck along the boards to the left of the goal in the Red Wings zone. Coburn had the full attention of Petr Mrazek as Coburn sent the puck flying towards the net.
Unfortunately for Mrazek, what he didn’t see is the fact that Coburn was not shooting at the goal as much as he was passing the puck to Tampa Bay Lightning right wing J.T. Brown. Mrazek exposed himself on the opposite side of the net and Brown was able to skillfully send the puck flying into the back of the net to open up the scoring for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Tampa Bay Lightning may have struck first blood, but it would not be long before the Red Wings would answer with a goal of their own. Red Wings left wing Tomas Tatar would come flying into the zone and firing off a shot against Ben Bishop, who was quickly able to turn away the shot and make the save. Unfortunately for Bishop, he wasn’t quite as stealthy on the rebound where Gustav Nyquist would find the back of the net and even things up for the Detroit Red Wings.
Just about a minute and a half later, the Detroit Red Wings would find themselves in a rather compromising position. At 6:08, Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk would find himself with a one-way ticket to the sin bin for Tripping Lightning center Tyler Johnson. Ironically, it would be Tyler Johnson who could capitalize on the opportunity with the man advantage and retake the lead for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In a rather drastic change of events from the previous period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would ultimately outshoot the Detroit Red Wings 15-8 in the second period of play for a two period total of 19-18 in favor of the Bolts. Needless to say, this is a lot of ground the Lightning made up in the second period.
When the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings hit the ice for the third and final period of play, we would see much of the same play from the Lightning as we did in the second period of play. Just 2:24 into the third period, Gustav Nyquist would earn his second penalty of the night, this time for Holding the Stick of Lightning center Cedric Paquette.
Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightning would come out strong on the Power Play. The puck was played along the boards behind the Red Wings net when it was met by the stick of Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser. DeKeyser had an opportunity to clear the puck out of the zone, but a single moment of hesitation caused the puck to find its way to the stick of Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat.
Palat would quickly find his linemate Nikita Kucherov planted directly in front of the net. With a quick flick of the wrist, Palat would send the puck over to Kucherov who would waste no time in exploiting Mrazek’s weakness and sending the puck right through the five hole and into the back of the net.
Things would get rather heated as the game pushed on. One of the more chippy moments of the evening is when Tampa Bay Lightning alternate captain had words, along with a little bit of pushing and shoving, with Red Wings center Darren Helm. Things didn’t end there. It wouldn’t be long before J.T. Brown would give Petr Mrazek a taste of the same treated Ben Bishop received all game long in the form of a nice little shove.
As time continued to tick off the clock a sea of red could be seen departing the Amalie Arena. This would be the Detroit Red Wings fans who gave up on their team while there was still plenty of hockey to play. Oh, well…their loss.
Just past the three minute mark in the period, the Detroit Red Wings would pull Petr Mrazek in the hopes of getting the extra attacker on the ice and making up some of the ground they lost in the second period. Despite what looked like their best efforts, the Red Wings were not able to climb out of the whole they dug themselves into in the second period and the Tampa Bay Lightning would defeat the Red Wings for the first time this season.
Tonight’s win over the Red Wings was special for so many reasons. The first of those reasons is that with the two points the Lightning earned tonight, they were able to create a little separation between them and the Red Wings in the Atlantic Division standings. Also, tonight’s victory marks the 100th win for Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop in a Lightning sweater.
Also, tonight’s win over the Detroit Red Wings is the first time Tyler Johnson has found the back of the net since January 12th against the Colorado Avalanche. If Tyler Johnson is able to regain the momentum he had during the 2015 post season, he is going to be a dangerous weapon in the arsenal of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
One thing that was particularly impressive in tonight’s win over the Red Wings is the Lightning’s Power Play unit. The Power Play squad came on strong and was able to capitalize on two of the three opportunities they were presented with during the encounter. If the Power Play hadn’t come up as big as they had, we may be looking at a completely different outcome here.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has one day off before they have to get back down to business once again. On Friday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning will finish off what was essentially an 11-game home stand as they take on captain Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.
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