Most people tend to benefit from getting breaks during a long, grueling schedule. Not completely so for the Tampa Bay Lightning who, coming off a three day rest, didn’t wake up until late. That was almost enough, seeing as they tied things up before eventually falling to the Florida Panthers 3-2 in a shootout.
Tom Pyatt and rookie Alex Killorn scored less than five minutes apart to help force overtime. Peter Mueller then beat Mathieu Garon, while Jacob Markstrom stoned Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos. This ended a four-game home winning streak for Tampa Bay, but marked the fifth consecutive time they earned a point on home ice.
Tonight gave Lightning fans hope though. No, the game didn’t clinch a playoff spot or win a championship, but the team showed they aren’t ready to give up on this season.
The first two periods saw one penalty for each team, with the difference being that Florida took full advantage of its power plays. There were opportunities for the Lightning, but Markstrom came up huge. Actually, he was the biggest X factor all game long, stopping 41 (yes, 41!) shots.
There were also some fisticuffs, as George Parros and Radko Gudas went at each other. That was expected, however, given the fact Gudas’ clean open-ice hit in the last meeting between these two teams prematurely ended Kris Versteeg‘s season.
Now, the Lightning set out on an extremely crucial three-game road trip beginning Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Though one point is nice, Tampa Bay needs a full 60 minute effort if it wishes to snag one of the coveted Eastern Conference playoff berths.