Tampa Bay Lightning Posts First Franchise Shutout In New Jersey

Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-0 in the Lightning’s first shutout in franchise history in Newark at the Prudential Center.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has had what you could easily refer to as a chaotic couple of weeks. The Lightning has dealt with all manner of struggles from injuries to contract dramas, and despite all of this, the team has still found a way to accomplish what matters most; winning games. Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning charged into the Prudential Center in the hopes of coming home with a much-needed two points.

The New Jersey Devils had a rather unfortunate encounter with the Columbus Blue Jackets last night (the Blue Jackets won 6-1) at the Nationwide Arena. Less than 24 hours later, the New Jersey Devils had to hope on a plane and head home to the Prudential Center in order to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. As any Tampa Bay Lightning fan knows, a back-to-back is never fun and rather difficult to maintain the same level of compete.

There was a lot of back and forth between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils. Both teams had some pretty amazing opportunities to put the puck in the back of the net, but Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop and Devils netminder Cory Schneider would do a spectacular job of keeping the puck out of the back of the net. Unfortunately, at some point, one of these two goaltenders was going to have to crack.

At just over the 15-minute mark in the period, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Ryan Callahan would take a shot at the net from the blue line. Unfortunately, Schneider would be able to turn away the initial shot. Thankfully, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had some pretty good positioning in front of the net. Stamkos took a whack at the puck as well, but the puck still wouldn’t find its way into the back of the net.

This is the moment something spectacular happened. As Schneider was tied up with the chaos to the left side of the net, Alex Killorn was in the process of tumbling to the ice. Despite his unfortunately situation, Alex Killorn still had the presence of mind to get his stick on the puck and send it sailing into the back of the net.

In the first period of play, both teams had an opportunity with the man advantage, but neither team was able to capitalize on their opportunity. When the buzzer sounded to end the first period of play, the Tampa Bay Lightning would outshoot the New Jersey Devils 13-10. The Lightning would head down the tunnel to the locker room with a one goal lead over the Devils.

If the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted to remain successful in the second period of play, the Lightning would have to hit the ice with the same intensity they displayed in the first period of play. Thankfully, the seemingly rejuvenated Tampa Bay Lightning were prepared to do just that.

Once again, the first half of the period was a lot of back and forth between the Lightning and the Devils. Thankfully, the Lightning seemed to be playing on all cylinders tonight. The Lightning were dominant in the faceoff circle and more than ready to bring the pressure to the opposition’s net.

As the Lightning reached the 13 minute mark in the period, Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat would bring the puck into the offensive zone. Palat would send the puck to his partner-in-crime Tyler Johnson as Palat made his way around the back of the net. The puck would exchange sticks a few times, but when all was said and done the puck would make its way into the net off the stick of Ondrej Palat.

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As the final minutes ticked off the game clock, the Tampa Bay Lightning decided it was time to take the game to the pressure to the Devils once again. At 18:54 in the second period, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos would score his 27th goal of the season to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead over the Devils.

You would have to wonder how Nikita Kucherov’s addition to the lineup is going to shake things up. Kucherov has led the Lightning in terms of goals and overall points for a good portion of the season, but while Kucherov has been sitting the sidelines with an injury, Stamkos has been scoring goals and making plays. This allowed Stamkos to overtake Kucherov in goals scored. How long will it be before Nikita Kucherov is back on top?

When the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New Jersey Devils made their way back out onto the ice for the third period of play, the Lightning would have just under a minute left in a power play as Devils right wing Lee Stempniak sat in the box for two minutes for High Sticking Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat. Unfortunately, the Lightning were once again unable to capitalize on their opportunity with the man advantage.

As the buzzer sounded to end the second period of play, not only would the Lightning lead the New Jersey Devils 3-0, but the Bolts would outshoot the Devils 18-6 for a two period total of 31-16. We think it is pretty safe to say the Tampa Bay Lightning has found the mojo they spent a good portion of this season searching for. This couldn’t possibly have come at a better point in the season.

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Just in case you thought things couldn’t possibly get more insane for the Tampa Bay Lightning, we find ourselves at the start of the third period of play. Much like the first two periods, the first half of period would be lots of back and forth. The difference is, this time when the Lightning would pass the halfway point in the period, there would be a serious disturbance in the force.

Ondrej Palat would come speeding into the offensive zone with Tyler Johnson in tow. Instead of passing to Johnson as usual, Palat would turn and send the puck back to Lightning defenseman Matt Carle, who was fairly uncovered back by the blue line. Without hesitation, Carle pulled back his stick and fired off a shot at the net. Lo and behold, the puck sailed past Schneider and into the back of the net.

The Lightning’s third period goal would be Matt Carle’s second goal of the season. At this point, the Tampa Bay Lightning would lead the New Jersey Devils 4-0.

With just about five minutes left in the period, the Tampa Bay Lightning got one hell of a scare. After blocking a shot, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman hurried off the ice and immediately went down the tunnel. As you can imagine, an injury to someone like Hedman would be devastating to a Lightning team who is already without defenseman Jason Garrison.

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Thankfully, before the final buzzer, Victor Hedman would make his way back out onto the Lightning bench; thus avoiding any catastrophic crisis.

When the final buzzer would sound, Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning would shut out the New Jersey Devils 4-0 at the Prudential Center in Newark. This would be the first time in franchise history the Tampa Bay Lightning would shut out the New Jersey Devils in New Jersey.

Considering everything the Tampa Bay Lightning has been through over the course of the last few weeks, the Lightning played a pretty solid game tonight. While the special teams still needs a bit of work, the Tampa Bay Lightning were aggressive with the puck, playing good defense, and managed to pull out a shutout. Tonight’s victory in Newark extends the Tampa Bay Lightning’s current win streak to five games.

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Next up, the Tampa Bay Lightning heads down to Beantown on Sunday night to kick off a back-to-back series with a battle against captain Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins. This is the third time these two teams will meet this season. The puck is scheduled to drop at 6:30 p.m.