Tampa Bay Lightning rebounds with solid victory over Edmonton Oilers

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded after a tough loss against the Boston Bruins with a solid victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a pretty tough night on Saturday when they were shutout in their own building by an ailing yet strong Boston Bruins team. It was a seriously deflating night, but one the Bolts would have to get over rather quickly.

Tonight, the Lightning was back at it again. This time, the Bolts would open the doors to the Amalie Arena to take on a Western Conference opponent, the Edmonton Oilers. Needless to say, after their embarrassing loss to the Bruins, the Lightning was looking for some redemption.

Unfortunately, when the puck dropped it seemed as if fans were in for much of the same from the previous night. Just 14 seconds into the game, Oilers forward Ty Rattie would catch Lightning netminder Louis Domingue out of position and score the first goal of the game.

Domingue would go around the back of the net in an attempt to play the puck. The bad news is the first stick to find the puck the puck left Domingue’s stick was that of Rattie. He sent the puck flying towards Domingue, ricochets off him and right into the back of the net.

At this point, it looked as if it was going to be another long night for Bolts fans. Thankfully, it would soon become apparent this would not be a repeat of the Boston game. In fact, it would become something far different.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning would have two attempts with the man advantage during the first period, but the Bolts wouldn’t be able to convert on either of these opportunities.

Right now, the Lightning is the number two team in the National Hockey League on the Power Play with a Power Play Percentage of 24. The only team ahead of the Lightning is the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins who come up with 25.8.

In the final five minutes of the first period, the Lightning would even up the score with a goal from defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman’s goal would accentuate the importance of winning faceoffs.

Brayden Point would win a faceoff in the offensive zone and send the puck straight to Hedman who wasted no time in pulling back his stick and firing off a shot, which would deflect off the stick of Rattie, beating Al Montoya and tying things up for the Bolts.

When the buzzer would sound to end the first period of play, the Lightning and Oilers would be all tied up at one goal apiece. The Lightning outshot the Oilers 16-8 in the first period, which was a far cry from their dismal five shots on goal in the first period on Saturday night against Boston.

Little did anyone know, the remainder of the game would be all about the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts would get another opportunity on the Power Play in the second period and this time they would make the most of it. The Lightning’s Power Play attempt would come thanks to Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera being sent to the sin bin for two minutes of Hooking against Adam Erne.

Nikita Kucherov would bring the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone before passing the puck forward to Steven Stamkos.  Once Kucherov was in a better position, Stammer would hand the puck back over to Kuch. Kucherov’ first shot on goal didn’t exactly go according to plan and the play ended up behind the net.

Kucherov would make his way to the front of the net while Stamkos chased down the puck. In mere seconds, Stamkos would send the puck out to Kucherov who would go high on the glove side of Montoya and into the net to take the lead from the Oilers.

When the second period came to a close, the Lightning would once again hold the Oilers to a mere eight shots on goal while registering 14 of their own. This brought things to a two-period total of 30-16 in favor of the Lightning.

They say Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Well…Lightning struck for the third time in the third period of play. Once again, it was Nikita Kucherov would who extend his league-leading points totals with his second goal of the night.

Both J.T. Miller and Steven Stamkos would take shots at the net during the play. Unfortunately, neither of them were able to find the back of the net. Miller’s shot ricocheted off the goal post while Stammer’s shot was turned away by Montoya.

23. 1. 148. Final. 3

Despite this, the Lightning would continue to bring the pressure to the Oilers. Finally, Kucherov would get ahold of a rebound and this time Montoya would fail in his attempt to keep the puck out of the net. This would extend the Lightning’s lead over the Oilers to two.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Lightning would defeat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in a stellar outing much different from the performance fans saw a little less than 24 hours earlier.

One of the biggest differences between the Oilers game and the Bruins game came in the form of Shots on Goal. Through three periods of play, the Lightning would amass 40 Shots on Goal while limiting the Oilers to 30.

The Bolts increased their Shots on Goal by 17, which is essentially like adding a whole other period of play to the Boston game. As the old saying goes, you fail to score on 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. The Lightning definitely took this to heart against the Oilers.

Much to the delight of Lightning fans, the Penalty Kill performed very differently against the Edmonton Oilers. The Bolts were able to kill all five of the Power Play opportunities the Oilers had over the course of the game. Right now, the Lightning is 26th in the league in terms of Penalty Kill, so this is a definitive step in the right direction.

All in all, the Lightning actually seemed to be firing on all cylinders tonight. The offense did their job putting the puck on the net, the defense played solid, Domingue kept all but one out of the net, and the Lightning had an all-around successful night. Of course, this is the kind of play that got them where they are right now in the standings, so this shouldn’t be a total surprise.

Yes, the Lightning has had some bad games along the recent stretch; however, this is not the end of the world. Is it frustrating? Of course, it is. Passionate fans never want to see their teams have a bad game and it can sometimes be one of the most frustrating things in the world, but when you are at the place where the Lightning is right now, it is definitely not the end of the world.

If the Bolts want to have a long and fruitful run in the postseason they are going to have to continue to play the way they did tonight against Edmonton and stay focused on the task at hand. From here on out, every game should be treated as a playoff game. Those who want positioning must lay everything out on the line every single night. At the same time, they need to not allow the future to blind them. It’s one game at a time.

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The Lightning has just one day off before they are back to business once again. The Bolts will finish off their eight-game homestand with a battle against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs won their last four consecutive games and will definitely be riding their momentum into their showdown with the Bolts. This means the Lightning will need to bring their ‘A’ game if they want to bring home another two points.