There were three primary reasons why the Lightning won this game. First, they were able to score the game’s first goal, which came with only 6:28 left in the second period. That tally allowed them to play with the lead rather than chase a deficit. Second, they netted an insurance goal just 11 seconds into the third. That goal provided momentum and they added a third goal shortly thereafter. And finally, the Lightning’s penalty kill was superb, killing seven Vancouver power plays, including long five-on-threes in both the second and third periods.
As a whole, the Lightning played pretty well five-on-five. They limited Vancouver to just four first period shots (all of the Vancouver power plays came in the final two periods) and only 20 even strength shots all game. For most of the night, the Lightning had the puck, which prevented the visitors from generating a sustained attack. But the Lightning’s game wasn’t flawless – as has happened at points this year, the Bolts were guilty of passing up shots (they themselves only had six shots in the first, despite dominating puck possession in the frame). And their power play only mustered two shots during five chances. Still, entering the third period with a 1-0 lead, they were more committed to shooting the puck, which led to both Alex Killorn’s tally at :11 and Brian Boyle’s strike at 4:16.
The Canucks didn’t spend much time in the Lightning zone, except when they had their extended power plays. But the Lightning did everything right on the PK. They cleared pucks when they had a chance. They disrupted Vancouver passing plays. They boxed out in front of Ben Bishop. And they won seven of eight shorthanded faceoffs.
Bishop made 27 saves – and that total included a terrific save on an in-alone chance for Daniel Sedin moments after Valtteri Filppula had netted the game’s first goal. But compared to the previous two home games against Edmonton and Colorado, the Lightning did a terrific job of limiting Vancouver’s scoring chances. Even during those five-on-three power plays. It was a solid defensive performance on which to build after the All-Star Break.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Killorn’s goal eleven seconds into the third period, which extended the Lightning lead to 2-0.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1.Valtteri Filppula – Lightning. Goal and assist. Won 13 of 17 faceoffs.
2.Lightning Penalty Killers – A perfect seven for seven.
3.Alex Killorn – Lightning. Two goals.