It's safe to say that one thing nobody expected as the newly re-aligned, full 82-game 2013-14 season began, that as we approached the quarter turn, the Tampa Bay Lightning would be undefeated against the Western Conference, generally considered to be the better of the two in the league. Yet, the Lightning came into tonight's action with a perfect 6-0-0 record against the West, which included wins over recent Stanley Cup Champions in Chicago and Los Angeles. Tonight's opponents, the Anaheim Ducks, have been gobbling up points like scraps of bread tossed on the ground by an old man at the park on a Sunday afternoon, rising to first place in the Pacific Division, where the fifth place team has more points (Vancouver with 24) than the first place team in the Metropolitan (Pittsburgh with 22) and leading the entire Western Conference.
All the Lightning did was go out and make the statement that they're a first-place team too.
"We just didn't work hard enough. They worked harder than us the whole game." - Anaheim center Nick Bonino
Even though the first period would end with the teams recording eight shots each, the Lightning fairly dominated the action right from the beginning, holding the Ducks without a shot until their first power play, over thirteen minutes in.
Valtteri Filppula got things started, scoring on assists from Teddy Purcell and Matt Carle at 11:52.
"He's a pretty confident kid right now.. He's making plays everywhere on the ice that there's only a select few guys can make." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper on Filppula
Just under five minutes later, the lead doubled to two when Martin St. Louis scored a power-play goal at 16:25. He was assisted by J.T. Brown and Filppula.
The score was 2-0 after one period of play.
3:16 into the second, the lead was extended to 3-0 when Filppula netted his second of the night, this time on the power-play with assists from Victor Hedman and St. Louis.
At 10:51, Alex Killorn put the Bolts up 4-0 with St. Louis and Mark Barberio offering helpers.
The Ducks finally put a dent in the lead, getting on the scoreboard at 16:07 with Emersom Etem scoring on a four-on-four. Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin had the assists.
The Lightning held a 4-1 advantage going to the third.
At 2:05 of the third, Victor Hedman capped the scoring for the night with his third goal of the season, thanks to assistance from Richard Panik and Tyler Johnson.
"I don't want to take anything away from our game; I thought we played pretty good, but I don't think we saw their best tonight. I think it will be a different team next week." - Marty St. Louis (the Lightning are at Anaheim next Friday, November 22)
With the win, the Lightning improve to 14-5-0, and they continue to lead the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, now with 28 points. They will now head out on a four-game road trip, and will be in action again on Saturday when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes. They'll return home to host the New York Rangers on November 25th.
- With three points tonight (a goal and two assists), Marty St. Louis now sits at 931 career points, two behind Lightning assistant coach Steve Thomas for 92nd place on the NHL all time scoring list.
- Through 19 games so far this season, Valtteri Filppula now has eight goals and seven assists. He tallied nine goals and eight assists in 41 games last season while playing for Detroit.
- Ben Bishop won his league leading 13th game of the season, tying his personal best for wins in a season, set last year between Ottawa and Tampa Bay.
- The Lightning are 8-2-0 in games when they score a power-play goal
- The Lightning are currently on a season-high five-game home winning streak.
- The Lightning honored Linda Unfried as the 10th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Unfried, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance. Unfried co-founded MADD Hillsborough in 1983 after an impaired driver killed her sister, Josie. After learning that there was no local chapter for MADD in Hillsborough County, Unfried decided to take the next step and create one. Since opening the organization in the county, she has served selflessly in many roles with MADD, including MADD president of Hillsborough County, local chapter Board Member, Advisory Board Chair, Event Chair and victim advocate. Over the past 28 years, Unfried has dedicated her time and devotion to ensuring that other people don't have to live through the same horror that she had to when he sister died because of a drunk driver. She has worked hard on changing legislation in Florida with governors and law makers at the state and local level to better the impaired driving laws.