This Week's Lightning Action: Bolts Outlast Rangers In Shootout

The Lightning head into the Christmas holiday in very good shape, all things considered.

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5 Total Updates since December 20, 2010
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Lightning 4, Rangers 3 (SO); Bolts Move Into 1st Place

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Ryan Malone scored in the 11th round of the shootout, and the Tampa Bay Lightning continued their best start in franchise history with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who have won five of six. Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier also scored in regulation for Tampa Bay, which got 34 saves from Dan Ellis.

Ruslan Fedotenko, Alex Frolov and Derek Stepan lit the lamp for the Rangers, who have lost two in a row since a three-game winning streak. Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 21-of-24 shots.

“We have to be happy with how we grinded and how we played,” Stepan said. “Other than a couple of breakdowns that ended up in the back of the net we played exactly the way we wanted to.”

Erik Christensen and Victor Hedman scored in the first round of the shootout. Ellis then made a save on Stepan’s wrister before Adam Hall beat Lundqvist to give Tampa Bay the edge.

The Rangers’ hopes came down to Mats Zuccarello, who was making his NHL debut. The 23-year-old used a nice deke to get Ellis out of position before putting the puck into the back of the net to keep New York alive. Lundqvist stopped Stamkos to extend the shootout.

The goaltenders were dominant over the next several rounds. Marc Staal, the first shooter in the 11th round, lost control of the puck and Ellis poked the disc away. Malone then skated in and fired a wrister just under the crossbar to give the Lightning the victory.

Tampa Bay drew first blood just two minutes into the game when St. Louis stole the puck at center ice and fired a snap shot just inside the post.

Fedotenko made it a 1-1 game at the 11:16 mark. After the Lightning turned the puck over in their own zone, Fedotenko snuck a soft shot past Ellis as he broke his stick on a slapper from the left circle.

Frolov lit the lamp just 12 seconds later to give New York a 2-1 edge. Artem Anisimov’s shot from the slot left a rebound in front. Frolov was in the right place and his shot hit off the skate of a Tampa Bay player before crossing the goal line.

Tampa Bay made it a 2-2 contest with 1:06 to play in the first period. St. Louis stole the puck in the New York zone and backhanded a pass in the slot to Stamkos, whose wrister beat Lundqvist.

Lecavalier’s tip-in at the 14:42 mark of the second gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead. Pavel Kubina carried the puck to the bottom of the circle before dishing it in front from where Lecavalier chipped the disc into the back of the net.

The Rangers managed just one goal in the third stanza despite firing 17 shots on net. Brandon Dubinsky gathered the puck along the right boards and slid a cross-ice pass to the left side of the cage. Stepan started to make his way behind the net before stopping and jamming the disc past Ellis.

Game Notes

The Lightning posted a 5-3 win over the Rangers when the clubs met in Tampa Bay on November 24. New York has still taken seven of the last 10 meetings.New York was without forward Marian Gaborik (groin) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (illness)…Tampa Bay improved to 6-1-2 against Atlantic Division teams this season…The Lightning assigned forward Johan Harju to Norfolk (AHL). Zuccarello was assigned to Connecticut (AHL) following the game…The shootout lasted 11 rounds, which is tied for the sixth longest in NHL history.

12/23 23:10:58 ET


Islanders 2, Lightning 1 (OT)

Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) – John Tavares scored with 1:37 left in overtime to help the New York Islanders take a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In the extra session, James Wisniewski attempted a pass from the left circle to Tavares at the right side. It hit off a Tampa Bay player in front, but Tavares was able to grab the puck and tuck it behind Dan Ellis for the win.

“When John starts to score it will come in bunches,” said New York head coach Jack Capuano. “If he wasn’t getting the chances, we’d be concerned. But the last couple of games he’s been getting the chances.”

P.A. Parenteau scored the other goal while Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves for the Islanders, who were coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to Phoenix on Saturday. However, the Isles have won two of three and have notched points in three straight games for the first time since the end of November.

Ryan Malone scored the lone goal and Ellis finished with 26 stops for the Lightning, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

“It was a tight checking game and the style of play was playoff-like,” said Ellis. “But our intensity was lacking tonight. It was like we were just out there and had no focus.”

Tampa scored on the power play 11:28 into the first as Malone attempted a pass from the slot to the left side, but it hit an Islander, came back to Malone and he fired it past Roloson.

In the waning moments of the second period, the Isles tied the game. Tavares caught up to the puck along the deep right boards and dropped it back for Parenteau, who beat Ellis five-hole.

Ellis stopped 10 shots in the third while Roloson made nine in the period to force overtime.

Game Notes

The Lightning play in New York against the Rangers on Thursday…The Islanders play in New Jersey on Thursday…The Isles have taken two of three from the Lightning this season…The Islanders have 20 points on the season, tied with the Devils for the fewest in the NHL.

12/22 23:33:40 ET


Lightning 5, Hurricanes 1

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) – Martin St. Louis scored a goal and dished out two assists, as the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their best start in franchise history with a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes from St. Pete Times Forum.

Dominic Moore and Brett Clark each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who have won four in a row and have 42 points on the season. Sean Bergenheim and Steven Stamkos also lit the lamp.

Dan Ellis made 21 saves for Tampa Bay.

Sergei Samsonov scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, who saw a four-game winning streak come to an end. Justin Peters turned aside 29-of-34 shots.

In the second period, a pair of Lightning players reached personal milestones. Steven Stamkos’ power play goal was the 100th goal of his career, becoming the 6th youngest player in the history of the league to reach that mark. Later, Vincent Lecavalier assisted, along with Brett Clark, on a power play goal by Sean Bergenheim, marking his 750th career point.

12/20 22:07:37 ET


Lightning Call Up Desjardins, Smith Injured

There are reports coming in that goaltender Mike Smith was injured following inadvertant contact with forward Simon Gagne during this morning’s skate at the St. Pete Times Forum in preparation for tonight’s game agaqinst the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ironically, earlier the team announced they had recalled goalie Cedric Desjardins from their minor league affiliate in Norfolk.

From an official team press release:


TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled goaltender Cedrick Desjardins (SHE-DRIHK deh-ZHAHR-dai) from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. Desjardins joins the Lightning with Norfolk on a break until December 26.

“With Norfolk having a week off we thought it was a good opportunity to have Cedrick join us for a few days to work with Frantz Jean and practice with our team,” Yzerman said. “Whether he sees any playing time will be Guy Boucher’s decision.”

Desjardins, 6-foot, 192 pounds, has played in 18 games with the Admirals this season, posting an 12-5-1 record with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. He is 8-1-0 in his previous nine decisions with a .909 save percentage. Desjardins is tied for fourth in the AHL for wins.

Last season he led the AHL in goals-against average, ranked second in shutouts, fourth in wins and was tied for sixth in save percentage. His success earned him an appearance in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic, in which he was named top goaltender during the skills competition, as well as landed him on the 2010 AHL Second All-Star Team following the season.

A native of Edmunston, New Brunswick, Desjardins played in 128 QMJHL games with the Rimouski Oceanic and Quebec Remparts during his junior career, posting a 67-47-4 record. In 2006, he helped backstop Quebec to the CHL’s Memorial Cup by posting a 3-1 record with a .926 save percentage en route to being named top goaltender and to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team. Desjardins also aided the Oceanic, along with Sidney Crosby, to the 2005 Memorial Cup where they fell to the London Knights.

Desjardins went undrafted and was signed as a free agent by Montreal on March 7, 2008.

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