Just about 16 days shy of a year ago, the Lightning were in Anaheim, California on another western trek... They'd battled the Phoenix Coyotes in their previous game on the west coast during that trip as well...
But a funny thing happened on the way to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ducks. Well, not so funny.
Was it the goal of the year? Maybe. Too bad Lightning fans didn't see it live, as there was no local coverage of the game in the Tampa Bay area. That won't be the case tonight as Sun Sports will be broadcasting.
But, even though there was no need for it, November 19th was when Steven Stamkos announced to the rest of the NHL that he was for real and to look out.
Video of the goal is below the jump as well as the rest of tonight's preview.
The Lightning are currently 1-1-0 against the Western Conference in their two games so far: The home loss to Nashville and their road victory in Phoenix on Saturday night. And even though the Bolts sit atop the Eastern Conference, I still will not take a lowly Anaheim team (sitting in 14th place in the conference) lightly. Not after last season where the West schooled the East over, and over, and over again.
Speaking of which, the Anaheim power play is only a tenth of a percentage point behind the Lightning (23.8% conversion rate for the Ducks, as to 23.9 for the Bolts). That leaves them tied for 5th in the NHL with Vancouver. On the Penalty-kill, however, they are ranked 22nd in the league with an 80.7 kill rate. The Bolts are ranked 20 points higher (90.7) when playign with a disadvantage.
There hasn't been an announcement who will start in net. The Bolts play again tomorrow night, in Los Angeles, so whomever starts tonight (Dan Ellis or Mike Smith), expect the other to start tomorrow at Staples Center.