Game 56: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes

The Tampa Bay Lightning batted through an onslaught of of penalties to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime. 

Marc-Andre Bergeron sealed the win for the Bolts, scoring a minute and a half into over time, his first with the Lightning. 

In the context of injuries, including Nate Thompson, Mike Lundin, and Ryan Malone, Boucher called the game "a real team effort," with special praise to Vincent Lecavalier:

"He's incredible. Just unreal, a horse out there, from the first minute until the end."

According to Boucher, Vinny was key in inspiring the team, the fans, and even Boucher himself. 

But in a game with strange momentum--penalty after penalty after penalty--it was good to see the Lightning clinch the win in the last second. The ability to overcome the volume of penalties showed an improvement in regaining composure, the main issue with Tuesday's game against Buffalo.

Read more after the jump.

Overall, it was a pretty decent match up between the Bolts and the Canes. Both teams were fierce, and had relentless energy that lasted throughout the game.

In the first period, a total of nine minors dominated the play, including two boarding and two charging penalties in the first six minutes (15 total by the game's end). 

Killing off five penalties in the first period, the Lightning started the second period on the power play, following Eric Staal's hooking minor at the end of the first. Following the power play, Steve Downie opened the scoring, rebounding off of Marty St. Louis' shot from the right side of the ice to score against Cam Ward, whose 23 wins lead the Southeast division.

At 1-0, the Bolts leapt on the momentum, taking advantage of yet another penalty (Joni Pitkanen - cross checking). Vincent Lecavalier scored a second Lightning goal at 7:41 on the power play, with assists to Teddy Purcell and Simon Gagne.

"It was kind of a cheesy goal. I had a lot of good opportunities before that, and I missed. Sometimes after that a cheesy goal goes in, but it's nice."

Leading with 2, the penalties continued to come with a boarding call to Matt Smaby leading to Eric Stall's power play goal

The Lightning finished the second period leading 2-1, totaling 33 shots on goal.

The pace changed for a few minutes in the third: for nearly five minutes, play continued without a penalty to eithr team, until Pavel Kubina took an interference call at 4:54.

Sean Bergenheim scored a third goal for the Lightning, assisted by Dana Tyrell, but the lead was diminished in the last minute of the period, when Jeff Skinner's goal brought the score to 3-2. More, the Canes followed up with an equalizing goal from Erik Cole with at 19:27, taking the game into overtime. 

Bergeron, who took an assist in overtime against the St. Louis Blues, scored 1:32 into overtime to take the win for the Bolts. Boucher said afterwards:

"I've seen him do that all last year. Big goals at big moments. I'm happy, but I'm not surprised."

Also:

  • Adam Hall was pretty solid on the face off circle, with 8 of 10 wins. 
  • Teddy Purcell led the shots on goal with 6, followed by a respective 5 from both Steven Stamkos and Simon Gagne.
  • Randy Jones blocked 4 shots overall , including 3 in the last period. 

Up Next: The Tampa Bay Lightning (34-17-5) will face the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, February 15, followed by the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, February 17. If you aren't in attendance, feel free to stop by the game thread and say hello. 

Other Recaps: 

Hurricanes vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Hurricanes vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Hurricanes vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]

Canes Country [SB Nation]

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