Game 36: Tampa Bay Lightning versus Carolina Hurricanes

The Lightning overcome a spectacular effort from Carolina goaltender Justin Peters to pick up an overtime winner and extend their winning streak to four games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime on Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Sometimes it really is a matter of quality over quantity. For example, much has been made of the Tampa Bay Lightning's inability to generate offensive opportunities, illustrated by their propensity to be outshot by opponents. However, tonight the Lightning took 50 shots between regulation and overtime and needed every last one of them to notch three goals. Meanwhile, the visiting Carolina Hurricanes scored two goals on 27 shots, cashing in on their first shot of the game and again on their first shot of the second period.

All of this is just to point out that hockey can be a weird game.

"That is less frustrating to me than getting twenty shots, I would rather get the fifty and the goalie flat out beat us instead of saying we just beat ourselves." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

The story of this one really comes down to the Lightning hanging around long enough to solve Hurricanes netminder Justin Peters. His counterpart, Ben Bishop was rock-solid and dependable but Peters was simply spectacular tonight.

Carolina didn't register their first shot at the 4:35 mark when Jiri Tlusty took advantage of a totally screened Bishop and unleashed a wrist shot from outside the right face-off circle to give them a 1-0 lead. Patrick Dwyer and Riley Nash were credited with assists.

In spite of the early deficit, the Lightning were doing a good job controlling play and limiting Carolina's offensive opportunities. They didn't get their second shot until about nine minutes in and their third came right around fifteen minutes.

At 16:12, the Lightning tied it up on a goal by Victor Hedman who was assisted by Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn.

The period ended with the teams tied at one, with the Lightning holding advantages of 19-8 in shots, 3-1 in takeaways and 5-1 in blocked shots.

The Hurricanes employed an aggressive penalty kill throughout the game, attacking Lightning puck carriers with two and sometimes three defenders. At 10:11, that tactic yielded a short-handed breakaway goal by Tlusty, assisted by Eric Staal and Ron Hainsey. It was the first shot recorded by Carolina in the period.

The Lightning thought they had tied the game on the power play at 18:56 when Filppula's shot looked like it had been caught by Peters inside the net but after a brief review, the NHL situation room in Toronto ruled the puck "did not completely cross the goal line".

As a result, Tampa Bay trailed 2-1 after two periods.

The Bolts tied the game again at 7:56 on the power play when Martin St. Louis tipped in a shot by Victor Hedman. Filppula got the secondary helper.

Regulation time expired with the teams tied at two.

At 2:16 in overtime, Radko Gudas took it upon himself to end the affair. First, he separated Carolina's Jeff Skinner from the puck with a jarring hit along the boards in the Lightning's end. Then, after getting the puck back from Nate Thompson, he unleashed a snapshot from the right circle that simply beat Peters to end it.

"He's got a rocket for a shot, that's why he gets some power play time. I'll be honest though, we get the two on one and all I'm thinking is "please hit the net"." - Cooper

The Lightning will attempt to increase the winning streak to five games when they travel to Sunrise on Monday to face the Florida Panthers. They return home next Saturday when they host the Montreal Canadiens.

Game notes:

  • This is the only game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum between the former Southeast Division mates
  • The four-game winning streak is the second of the season, matching the streak that ran between November 1-9 for longest of the season to date.
  • Tom Pyatt returned to the line-up after missing 31 games with a broken collar bone, recording 8:32 of ice time.
  • Jean-Philippe Cote has changed his number from 60 to 22.
  • Eric Brewer suffered an upper body injury in the third period and did not return.
  • St. Louis now trails Chris Chelios by two points for 90th on the NHL's all-time scoring list.
  • Filppula has a three-game points-scored streak (two goals, two assists)
  • Tonight's 50 shots was a season high for the Lightning.
  • The Lightning honored Patricia McGuigan as the 18th Lightning Community Hero of the year, and the 100th Hero since the program began three seasons ago, during the first period of tonight's game. McGuigan, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to The Spring and LifePath Hospice. McGuigan began volunteering as a receptionist at The Spring of Tampa Bay, a program that prevents domestic violence, protects victims and promotes strong life choices. After serving as a receptionist, McGuigan invested her own time and money to take the programs intensive 30-hour volunteer training program so that she could become a direct service volunteer. She is one of their top volunteers and provides countless hours each week to helping the patients. This past summer McGuigan took complete responsibility for The Spring's new Shelter Boutique Clothing Closet in their emergency unit. She moved clothes out of an old utility closet, organized clothing in the revamped area and developed a labeling system so it could be better organized. McGuigan always takes the extra time to communicate and visit with the clients, showing her compassion with people as they go through difficult times.