The Tampa Bay Lightning might have no realistic chance of making the playoffs, but their Southeast Division foe the Winnipeg Jets, do. Despite where the Lightning are at this point in the season, the team continues to be motivated while shaking the playoff picture.
The Lightning tried to play post season spoiler but failed to do so on Tuesday, losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Jets . It wasn't because the Lightning played poorly either. They overcame a two goal deficit before sending the game into a shootout.
Winnipeg forward Andrew Ladd scored less than two minutes into the first period, establishing a tone for most of the stanza. The Jets outmanned, out worked, and out did the Lightning in almost every category in the first period. The Lightning simply were being dominated and as the story seems to remain the same, would have been playing pond hockey if it weren't for its goaltender, Ben Bishop.
Later in the first period, Tampa Bay's play improved. They penetrated the neutral zone and were able to generate quality offensive shots against Ondrej Pavalec. At 10:56 of the first, Martin St. Louis netted an unassisted goal to tie up the game.
There were plenty of ebbs and flows in this game. Winnipeg stole Tampa Bay's momentum in the second period, scoring two consecutive goals while holding the Lightning to four shots on goal. Blake Wheeler scored at 8:37 after winning a battle with Victor Hedman on the boards. Andrew Ladd scored his second of the game in the waning minutes of the second period at 17:54. Ladd's second goal was deflected off of Keith Aulie's stick before making it's way passed Bishop.
Once again, the Lightning relied on the third period to mount a comeback and thanks to Labrie's goal at 5:19, that comeback was sparked. The line with Nate Thompson, B.j Crombeen and Labrie buzzed around the net for half of the game Combeen and was arguably the Lightning;s best line Tuesday night.
Then, Steven Stamkos tallied his 27th goal of the season at 11:17 of the third period with a wristshot complete the Lightning's two goal rally, eventually sending the game into a shootout.
Bishop saved 33 of the 36 shots he faced and now has a 4-1 record in shootouts after Mike Santorelli and Ladd scored on him. No one scored in the shoot out for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay now travels to Montreal to play the Canadians on Thursday night.