There was a lot of goodness from tonight's game, including a resurgence from Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, who each scored in regulation, in addition to St. Louis' shootout win.The Bolts did what they needed to in order to keep the pace against the Hawks and break the losing slump.
The mindset was different, but the effort was the same. After fighting for the last four games, the Lightning channeled the same effort, but were determined to win this one.
The motto: "If the door wasn't gonna open, we're gonna break it down."
Boucher prefaced the Blackhawks as having mobility, vision, flare--the hardest team to defend. "I don't think anybody's got that." And with a roster that includes skaters Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Patrick Kane, it's an honest assessment.
But regardless of the matchup, the Bolts went in to tonight's game with the decision not to lose the fight.
"We're really persevering right now." said Stamkos. "We're learning about what it takes to win in those tight games, and for the most part we've been on the winning side of those."
In what started and finished as a complete game, the first period opened with a lot of back and fourth. The Bolts took the early lead with Stamkos' goal opener, with assists to St. Louis and Brett Clark (twitter karma?). Leading 1-0, the Bolts transitioned into a penalty kill a minute after the goal from Stamkos' delay of game penalty. The Bolts were successful on the PK, but Kane evened the scoring at 16:43.
At the end of an even period between the two teams, St. Louis took a shot from the left circle to raise the score to 2-1 with 15 seconds left.
The Bolts took the momentum from St. Louis' goal into the second; just over a minute into the period, Purcell took an opportunity off of Victor Hedman's shot from the blue line to raise the score to 3, lending the the Lightning the two-point lead.
The Lightning maintained the lead through the period, but ended 3-2 after a mistake from Mattias Ohlund led to Sharp's second goal for the Hawks.
Chicago tied the game again early in the third period with a goal from Toews. Despite a wealth of shots from both sides, the score was stagnant and brought the game into overtime.
The Bolts entered overtime with the 4-on-3 advantage, but neither they nor the Blackhawks were able to score in overtime to finish the game.
Fun was key for St. Louis. "I was just thinking about the All-Star game, how there was no pressure," he said, "and I just went out there and did some funky stuff, had fun with it, and had a fun result."
As for the win, St. Louis said, "It's all about results. You really wanna get results. It wasn't pretty, but we found a way."
Up Next: The Lightning (38-21-8) will play one more time at home on Friday, March 11th at 7:30 P.M. before hitting the road again. Game thread will open at 7 o'clock sharp, so be sure to join us!
Blackhawks vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Second City Hockey [SB Nation]