The Lightning took advantage of a Washington Capitals loss tonight to add a little cushion in the standings with an overtime win against a desperate Carolina Hurricanes club. This game featured a rematch between the goalies that led their teams to 2006 Stanley Cup finals and both Dwayne Roloson and Cam Ward looked in playoff form with both squads going end-to-end throughout the game.
Mid-way through the third period, Sean Bergenheim would make it 3-1 for the Lightning. Down 3-1 with 7:12 left in the third period, the Hurricanes were not going to sit back and lose more ground in the standings. The Bolts were able to keep scoring chances to the perimeter until Ward was pulled for the extra man in the last minute of play. The extra body proved to be enough. At the 19:08 mark, rookie phenom Jeff Skinner stuffed a feed from behind the net past Roloson. 18 seconds later, Erik Cole tied the game to force overtime. In a game that featured a massive amount of special teams and 4-on-4 playing time, it was only right that Erik Cole tied the game with :33 seconds left to force the 4-on-4 overtime period.
A little after 1:30 mark in OT, a Roloson blocker save sprang Dominic Moore up the ice with Bergeron on his wing. After evading checks near the blue line and cutting to the middle of the ice, Moore fed a ready Marc-Andre Bergeron who put a snapshot away stick side to end the game.
Bergeron is another reason that Steve Yzerman is looking like one of the smartest front-office men in hockey. After spending the first half of the season in free-agent limbo with 29 other teams not wanting to pick up the offensive-minded defensemen, Yzerman offered him a contract to fill in the gaps caused by injuries. In three games Bergeron has posted an overtime winner and two assists.
The game started with referees who seemed to have been born with whistles in their mouths as the game ended with 15 penalties called on both teams, 9 in the first alone. The early penalties that Steve Downie took early in the first period could have set the stage for a long night had Dwayne Roloson not stayed composed and made pivotal saves to kill the penalties. This included a tough save during a delayed penalty call on Downie when Skinner split the defense and made a quick backhand to forehand move in-close. Roloson ended up with 31 saves on the night—many on great scoring chances.
Downie continues to earn his time on the top line with Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier opening up the scoring by finding the loose puck in a scrambling play in front of the net and tucking it under a sprawling Ward.
Lecavalier added a goal on the powerplay shortly after Downie’s goal to make it 2-0. Eric Staal of the Hurricanes would make it 2-1 from a wrister from near the blue line that squeaked through the five-hole.
The Lightning will match up against the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Lightning are 3-0-0 in the season series matchup.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Tran
New York transplant from California, and an avid blogger and sports fan. As he tends to do every year, he picks an Eastern Conference NHL team to root for until they become too good and he fears for his team out west. If you want to talk hockey with me, feel free to send a line.