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Game 18: Lightning pull away late to beat Calgary 3-1

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The Tampa Bay Lightning came up with offense late in the third to break open a low-scoring, back-and-forth affair with the Calgary Flames and take away a 3-1 win.

Linesman Steve Barton separates Calgary's Matt Stajan and Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan during Tampa Bay's 3-1 win Thursday night.
Linesman Steve Barton separates Calgary's Matt Stajan and Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan during Tampa Bay's 3-1 win Thursday night.
Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday night.

After over a month spent mostly on the road, with no homestands longer than two games, the Lightning began this three-game skein under .500 and were looking for a win on the relatively unfamiliar ice of Amalie Arena.

"There's always urgency, whether it's game two or game eighty. All the points are important at this time. You don't want to get too far behind, especially in this big homestand we have here. We want to make sure we get points out of it." - Ryan Callahan

The two teams spent a majority of the game scoreless or tied at one before the Lightning rang up two goals in the dwindling minutes of the third period to come away with the win, breaking a three-game losing streak at home and a two-game overall skid in the process.

Fans in the north end of Amalie Arena certainly got their money worth, with the Lightning maintaining possession in the Calgary zone for long stretches of time in the scoreless first period, retreating only when shorthanded due to two penalties.

The script was flipped in the second with Calgary dominating possession in the north end like the Lightning had in the first.

It looked like the Lightning were on the board at the 1:13 mark on a goal from Steven Stamkos, but it was waved off immediately due to the puck being kicked in as Stamkos was trying to move the puck to his stick and with it ending up in the net instead.

46 seconds later, they got that opening marker with Brian Boyle scoring on an assist from Braydon Coburn.

At 6:45, the Flames tied the game on a power play goal from Sam Bennett, getting assists from Mikael Backlund and Dennis Wideman.

Tied at one apiece going into the third, the Lightning had held an 11-8 edge in shots in the first period while being outshot 15-7 in the second.

The third period began with less pronounced puck possession from either side, with neither able to mount much of an offensive onslaught. The Lightning finally took the lead at 12:51 with Stamkos burying a one-timer from Alex Killorn on the power play. Tyler Johnson offered the additional assist.

At 18:27, Johnson provided insurance, scoring on an assist from Nikita Kucherov.

Callahan put the puck into an empty net with less than 10 seconds remaining but the goal was disallowed due to Stamkos being offside.

"It was big. We really needed it, especially in front of these fans. You know they come out and support us every night and it is no fun losing in front of them, So to go out there and get a big win for them, it feels good." - goaltender Ben Bishop

The Lightning are home again Saturday night when they host the Florida Panthers.

Game notes:

  • This was only the third win at home for the Lightning this season (six games)
  • Bishop stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced, snapping a personal losing streak of five games. He has given up two goals or less in 10 of his 14 starts this season. "Yeah, we owe it to him", said Stamkos. "He has been sensational for us, and it's tough when you are losing games. Giving up one, two goals, especially with the offense that we've had the last couple years. Again, he has been our rock and it was nice to get him the win today."
  • The Lightning are now 9-6-0 with a tie all-time at home against Calgary and 17-12-1 with the tie overall.
  • This is the first Pacific Division foe faced by the Lightning this year.
  • The Lightning had scored only 12 goals in their previous nine games, compiling a 2-6-1 record in the process.
  • Neither scenario applied to tonight's game, but with the lead after two periods, the Lightning are 5-0-0 and 0-6-0 when trailing after two.
  • The Lightning honored Morgan Watt as the seventh Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Watt, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Southeastern Guide Dogs. Watt served in the military as a security police first responder and a K-9 handler in which explosive detection, hyper vigilance and instant reaction were normal. In his second career as a pilot, he suffered underlying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that led him to end his career. After attending an open house event for Southeastern Guide Dogs, Watt was inspired by the idea of working with guide dogs. Watt has worked 1,198 hours for the Paws for Patriots program of Southeastern Guide Dogs and has personally helped veterans on their journey from post-traumatic stress to post-dramatic growth. Today, Watt serves as a chair of the Paws for Patriots alumni group that will act as a support group to provide support to veterans and their service dogs, access issues and support for the entire family. He also speaks to community groups about handling service dogs along with speaking to veterans who are interested in receiving a dog to help mitigate symptoms of PTSD. His long-range goal is to bring awareness to the disease and then bring awareness to the importance of service dogs in post-traumatic growth.