It was a close call, but this Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled out a much-needed victory against the Montreal Canadiens. It looked like the Canadiens would pull out an easy victory after going up 3-1 with less than eight minutes to go in the second period, but the Lightning picked up the intensity and put some pressure on the net.
Before the end of the second period, J.T. Wyman snuck a goal through Carey Price’s legs to close the defecit to one; the referees had to review the play, as the puck trickled through Price’s legs and cleared the goal line just before the referee whistled the play “dead”. And then to complete the comeback, the Lightning scored two quick goals in the first ten minutes of the third period. Marc-Andre Bergeron nailed one of his Thor-hammer slapshots into the net to tie the score, and then Vinny Lecavalier grabbed a rebound off a shot from Wyman and slid the puck around Price and into an empty net. The Canadiens would put on the pressure late in the game, pouring the shots on Mathieu Garon, but Garon saved them all and the Bolts held on to win by one.
This is the second game in a row that the Lightning have despite getting out-shot by a wide margin. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 after only getting off 16 shots (the Flyers had 32), and they were out-shot by the Canadiens tonight 34-22. That gives the Lightning 9 goals in their preview two games on only 38 shots; that’s a 23.7% shooting percentage, well above league average. The Bolts are a strong offensive club, but even they can’t keep up this sort of a pace. They’re going to cool down eventually, and when they do, we’re going to see some more depressing games.
But anyway, there will be time for that later — the Lightning won, so happy thoughts. Tonight’s win improves the Lightning to 16-17-3, giving them 35 points and jumping them over the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference standings. They will need to stay hot if they want to save their season — this is only their second win in a row — although their next game is at home against the last place Hurricanes (32 points), which should help somewhat.
To join in the conversation about the game, drop by SB Nation’s blog on the Bolts, Raw Charge.