Game 24: Tampa Bay Lightning versus Winnipeg Jets

The Lightning suffer a setback in losing to division rival Winnipeg in an effort that closely resembled their last loss at home.

The Winnipeg Jets beat the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 2-1 Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

A 2-1 loss in front of a sellout home crowd. A standout effort from the opposing goaltender. Fairly dominant in several key statistics. Opportunities not taken. The 24th game of the season, taking us to the exact halfway point in the season, relied heavily on the script written during the Lightning's last appearance at home against Buffalo. A major difference? This was a dreaded "4 point game" with the two division rivals entering tied for third in the Southeast Division with 21 points.

"Scoring chances were 15-9 us and 61% on face-offs. We out-hit them. We can't put it in. It was the same story against Buffalo. Their goalie played good and we missed chances. Incredible, quality chances." - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher

Eric Tengradi put the Jets on the board first, scoring his first goal of the season at 10:05 of the first, a goal made possible when he swatted Cory Conacher's stick out of his hand, a play that Conacher felt deserved a penalty.

The period ended with the Jets up 1-0, as did the second.

The second saw the Lightning fail to cash in on a full two minutes of a five-on-three power play. On the other hand, they were able to kill off their own extended five-on-three shorthanded situation later in the period.

The Bolts tied the game at the 6:57 mark of the third when Steven Stamkos scored on assists from Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone, making his first start since missing 13 games with a lower-body injury. It was the only goal surrendered by Jets netminder Al Montoya who eventually turned away 28 of 29 Lightning shots. Anders Lindback saved 26 of the 28 shots he faced.

At 15:52, Bryan Little scored what would turn out to be the game winner, beating Lindback on the short side, on an assist from Andrew Ladd.

At the halfway point of the season, the Lightning now find themselves at 10-13-1, tied with Washington for third in the division, five points out of the playoff race.

"It's disappointing for sure, there is no other way ton describe it. The last couple games, we're playing the way we want to and we're not getting the points. And at the end of the day, that's what hockey is about. Wins. It's about wins." - Lightning forward Steven Stamkos

The Lightning's next game is Saturday when they'll host the Montreal Canadiens.

Game notes:

  • Stat of the night? The Lightning are now an NHL-worst 1-8-1 in one-goal games.
  • Stamkos has scored 39 points against the Jets, the most against any team in the NHL
  • This loss ended a streak in which Tampa Bay had recorded at least one point in each of the previous ten matchups against the Jets, posting a 9-0-1 record over that span
  • This was the second of four meetings between the soon-to-no-longer-be division rivals.
  • The Lightning have sold out each of their 12 home games this season.
  • The Lightning honored Barry and Lori Torman as the 27th Lightning Community Heroes of the year during the first period of tonight's game. The Tormans, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Casey's Cookies, the Children's Dream Fund and the Abilities Foundation. The Tormans are the proud parents of a 24-year-old mentally and physically disabled daughter, Casey, and have gone the extra mile to help others in similar situations. Their daughter was their motivation to start Casey's Cookies because they were concerned about her quality of life after her schooling was completed. Casey's Cookies was started as a means of employment for their daughter and others like her, as a way of solving a real social problem for participants, and providing peace of mind for their parents. Casey's Cookies has garnered both local and national attention from the media for its work with people that suffer from mental and physical disabilities. The long-term goal for Barry and Lori is to grow Casey's Cookies into a residential center for the disabled, where the employees can live, work and play in a nurturing environment. The Tormans, while providing unconditional love for their own daughter Casey, genuinely care about others in similar situations as their own, and firmly believe in supplying young adults with substantial opportunities and shaping their lives.