The Devil’s in the Details – Bolts Close it on Fan Appreciation Night

By on April 2, 2016

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay LightningThis is the second of three meetings tonight between the Lightning and the Devils, the teams will play in New Jersey Thursday April 7th. The last meeting was at the Prudential Center, Tampa Bay shut out New Jersey 4-0. Ben Bishop had 21 saves.

This was the last regular season home game here at 401 Channelside Drive in Tampa, fan appreciation night.  The Lightning entered tonight in second place in the Atlantic division, two points behind the Florida Panthers, and three points in front of the Boston Bruins, with a game in hand on the Bruins. The Lightning stand a chance to clinch a play off spot tonight with a win and a Red Wings loss.

If the Lightning clinch tonight, they will do so with out their Captain #91 Steven Stamkos. Stamkos sat out due to an upper body injury. Then the scoop after the game. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announced that Stamkos will be out one to three months with a blood clot in his arm.  Stamkos said, “Obviously this situation is very disappointing because I wanted to help my team clinch a playoff spot and prepare for the postseason.”   Stamkos will undergo surgery on Monday.

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With seven minutes off the clock in the first period the Lightning and Devils were tied at five for shots on goal.

At 14:17 the New Jersey Devils #48 Tyler Kennedy commits a two minute minor for high sticking and the Bolts go on their first powerplay of the night. With the man advantage, Vladislav Namestikov managed to get a nice slap shot off, but it was quickly gobbled up by #35 Cory Schneider.

The first period ended 0-0. I quickly checked the score of the Detroit Red Wings game and they were up 2-0 at the end of the first.

As the second period unfolded, the Devils were treated to two power plays compliments of Jason Garrison and Erik Condra. Thankfully the Devils were unable to capitalize on them. With almost ten minutes played in the second, the shot count was Devils 16, Lightning 12. The Lightning were desperately in need of a goal, the Tesla Coils have not been fired in a while!

Valterri Filppula was looking good, creating turnovers and setting up plays. He needs to shoot the puck more, I believe it would go in plus he really knows how to hustle. Just as those words were penned to paper,  at 9:03 in the second period, #18 Andrej Palat set up #77 Victor Hedman for a Lightning Goal! Fire the Tesla coils!!! It was Hedman’s ninth goal of the season.  A beautiful one touch of a hot pass by Palat.

At the other end of the ice the Lightning almost gave up a goal, but Ben Bishop said NO!  New Jersey’s Joseph Blandisi committed a two minute minor penalty for hooking at 10:07 in the second. It would be another attempt for the Lightning to notch a goal.  The sell out crowd was loud and engaged tonight with the New Jersey fan base tonight at the “Oil Can” was sparse.

Watching the second period continue, #62 Andrej Sustr commits a holding penalty at 12:53. The power play for New Jersey was looking strong, then #11 Brian Boyle and #25 Devante Smith-Pelly received matching roughing penalties. Things were getting pretty heated! Boyle at 6’7” and weighs in at 243, Smith-Pelly is just 6’0” and weighs in at 222. I would put my money on #11 in that square off.

The Lightning were able to stave off the Devils on that power play, and then at 15:08 New Jersey’s #5 Adam Larrson commits a two minute minor for interference to put the Bolts on another power play of the game. Again no power play goal for the Lightning. Just as the Bolts power play wound down, Brayden Coburn commits a two minute minor for holding trying to stop New Jerseys #19 Travis Zajac from scoring as he got a breakaway. At 19:32 in the second, the Devils manage to score their first goal of the game. It was a power play goal, by #14 Adam Henrique his 28th goal of the season, with the assist to Damon Severson and Tyler Kennedy. I wonder if he is any relation to Paul?

At the end of the second the score was all tied at 1.

The third period opened up with the Lightning creating some excellent scoring opportunities. #35 New Jerseys Corey Schneider was stopping every shot. At this point in the game he had made 24 saves. The Bolts would get their chance at a power play goal at 3:51 in the third #8 David Schlemko commits a two minute hooking penalty to put the Bolts on the power play.

The shot count for the Lightning at this point was up to 29. Just as that power play wound down, and they would be back at even strength, #51 Sergey Kalinin trips Mike Blunden and puts the Bolts right back on the power play.

The Bolts managed to get one more shot on goal, but failed to put the biscuit in the basket. Even strength play resumed.

It was getting a little heated out there on the ice, a lot of pushing, shoving, holding down on the ice. Just when the Devils looked like they might be gaining some forward momentum, the team committed a two minute minor for too many men on the ice. Not a good penalty to have taken at this point.

Wow, the Lightning kept putting the pressure on notching three more shots on goal, and with that #11 Brian Boyle was in the right place at the right time. Kucherov put the puck on net, and Boyle was positioned in front of the net, and backhanded one past Schneider for their 2nd goal of the game. Nice goal! The assist to #86 Nikita Kucherov and #89 Nikita Nesterov. It was a Nikita kinda night. The crowd came alive chanting “Lets Go Bolts!”

#25 Matt Carle of the Lightning committed a two minute minor for holding the stick. This would give the Devils a fighting chance to tie the game going on the man advantage.  The Devils peppered Ben Bishop during the power play. Vladislav Namiestikov got an excellent chance at a goal with about two minutes left in the game and skated in on Corey Schneider, but Schneider shut it down.

Icing – cake, with just more than half a minute, “Kuch” buries an empty netter.  Close it out, a 3-1 win for the Lightning!

A four game road trip to end the regular season awaits the Lightning, Islanders, Rangers, Devils and Canadiens.





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