Stamkos scored the game-winner–on a power play no less–with just over five minutes remaining. This marked the Lightning’s sixth time receiving points on home ice, and gave newly acquired netminder Ben Bishop a victory over his former team. It has been a season full of changes, from a new coach to trades.
Tonight was a night for Tampa Bay fans to celebrate, though. No, the game didn’t clinch a playoff spot, but Stamkos remained tied with Alexander Ovechkin for the goal-scoring leadership, rookie Pierre-Cedric Labrie notched his first NHL goal and Martin St. Louis got his 900th career point.
The team started off slow, giving Ottawa a number of good scoring opportunities. That led to the Senators controlling play, resulting in a 1-0 deficit after one period.
Even with very slim playoff hopes, the Lightning refuse to go away. Head Coach Jon Cooper touched on that in his post game comments saying, “They have every right to give up, but aren’t doing that.”
Lightning fans can savor this victory for now, though, I’m sure they’re wondering why these couldn’t come more often. Of course, the team only goes as far as Stamkos can take them and recently that hasn’t been far.
Meanwhile, the Lightning hope to build off tonight’s win when they host the Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. No game is easy, but this may be the hardest one yet for Tampa Bay.