Game 29: Tampa Bay Lightning versus Winnipeg Jets

The Lightning welcomed back defenders Radko Gudas and Eric Brewer but are undone by a slow start, before rallying to tie and ultimately falling to the Winnipeg Jets in overtime by a score of 2-1.

The Winnipeg Jets beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in overtime at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday night..

All things considered, the Lightning should probably consider themselves fortunate to come out of this one with a point. They got some much-needed relief in the return of defensemen Radko Gudas and Eric Brewer, and Gudas did what he does best: make opponents angry. But overall the necessary full three periods of effort was lacking, specifically the first 30 minutes, during which they presented little in terms of an offensive threat or even a demonstrated sense of urgency.

"We took nine shots through 31 minutes and it wasn't like we didn't have our legs. We didn't shoot pucks. So when you only play 130 feet of the ice and you just want to sit there and try to play keep away and not shoot pucks, it's not going to work for you. There was a clear distinction between the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes. We got everybody involved, we were shooting pucks from everywhere. I don't know how many we had in the last 30 minutes but it was well in the 20s. Even the ones we missed, we missed a boatload and it was the difference in the game.It was a tale of two games. I thought we had ample chances to win the game in regulation and obviously one chance in overtime and we didn't, and so you have to play from behind and it takes some energy to come back. It all came down to shooting pucks and we just didn't shoot enough in the first 30 minutes of the game." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

Winnipeg tallied the only goal of the opening period with Blake Wheeler scoring at 5:25 on assists from Jacob Trouba and Grant Clitsome. Little surprise that the Bolts were outshot 15-5 in the period, since they did little to mount a sustained or organized offensive attack. Bolts goalie Anders Lindback had one of his best performances of the year, stopping a total of 34 out of 36 shots (SHOTS!! SHOTS, I say!!) he faced between regulation and overtime.

The second period saw a much better effort from the Bolts as they were able to apply some pressure to Jets netminder Al Montoya, although they were unable to cash in until late in the period. Very late in the period.

WIth the clock reading 0:00.2, Nate Thompson scored when Radko Godas got him the puck off a Martin St. Louis faceoff win to send the teams into the second intermission tied at one. A third assist should probably be given to the league's new hybrid icing rule, which stopped the clock at 0:02.6 prior to that faceoff, saving at least a full second of time and allowing the play to happen.

The teams traded zeroes in the third period, sending the affair into overtime.

Just after Alex Killorn nearly converted on a breakaway, Winnipeg countered and Mark Scheifele scored at 1:04 on an assist from Wheeler to finish things off.

"It was a great pass by Wheeler. I owe it all to him." - Scheifele

With the loss, the Lightning fall to 17-10-2. Four of their next five games are on the road and they'll be in action again on Tuesday the 10th when they visit the Washington Capitals. Their next home game will be Thursday the 12th when they host the Detroit Red Wings.

Game notes:

  • This is the only meeting of the regular season between the Jets and Bolts at the Tampa Bay Times Forum this season.
  • St. Louis saw an end to his personal five-game goal streak against the Jets, which had dated back to 2011-12.
  • He did, however, break the tie with Jason Arnott for 91st place on the league's all-time scoring list, thanks to his assist on Thompson's goal. He now trails Patrik Elias by six points for 90th place on the list.
  • Mark Barberio was a -2 on the night but has recorded a plus or even rating in 14 of his 16 games played this season.
  • Linesman Brian Murphy worked the 1500th game of his NHL officiating career tonight
  • A rare appearance tonight by the Lightning's soon-to-be-replaced alternate "BOLTS" sweaters.
  • The Lightning honored Drexey Smith as the 14th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Smith, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay. Smith has been dedicating her life to relieving emotional and physical pain in the lives of others for many years. She is a physical therapist by profession and became keenly aware of uninsured people who struggled financially and couldn't afford to receive physical therapy. She treats 30 people on average a month at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic Health Center, Seminole Kiwanis Club Horses for Handicapped, USF School of Physical Therapy and Health Volunteers overseas. There have been thousands of people in the Bay Area whose lives have been touched and improved by the work that Smith does. She is tireless in her efforts and will also assist in any way no matter what the challenge she faces.