The Tampa Bay Lightning (29-14-4) came into the game with the Colorado Avalanche (19-17-10) not having lost at Amalie Arena in over a month. It took a shootout, but the Bolts increased their home win streak to seven games with a 3-2 win over the Avalanche. Goalie Ben Bishop sparkled in net making 40 saves and two more in the shootout to lead Tampa Bay to the victory.
The first period was maybe the Lightning’s best period all season. Tampa Bay scored the lone first period goal at 1:58 as Ryan Callahan lit the lamp on the sixth shot of the power play. Anton Stralman made a great stretch pass to a streaking Alex Killorn who found Callahan who scored his 15th into a wide open net as Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov had no chance.
At 9:26 It looked like Colorado scored on a Brad Stuart shot, but the officials ruled goalie interference as the Bolts’ Mark Barberio was pushed into goalie Ben Bishop by Jarome Iginla.
Iginla and Callahan dropped the gloves at the end of the period with each earning fighting majors. It was Callahan’s first fight since November 2011, when he fought Montreal’s Mike Blunden, now with the Crunch.
The Lightning dominated the period, outshooting the Avalanche 15-5. Colorado goalie Varlamov kept his team in the game.
The second period saw the Avalanche come out flying and creating many quality scoring chances.
There was one goal scored in the second period, as the Avalanche dominated play. Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly scored his eighth of the season, 51 seconds into the period assisted by Nathan MacKinnon and Jan Hejda.
Shots in the second period were 20-9 in favor of Colorado. Shot attempts were tied at 39 apiece after two periods. Goalie Ben Bishop was outstanding in net, keeping the Bolts in the game.
The Lightning took a 2-1 lead early in the third period as Anton Stralman took a wrist shot from the point that found its way past Varlamov. Stralman’s third of the season was assisted by Valtteri Filppula at 4:08.
With a little over seven minutes left in the game, the Lightning killed off two straight penalties, but with just 6.8 seconds to go and the Avalanche net empty, Nathan MacKinnon found a rebound and scored to force overtime. For Mackinnon, t was his ninth of the year.
Colorado dominated the overtime outshooting Tampa Bay 5-2, but Ben Bishop stood tall and allowed the Bolts to go to the shootout.
In the shootout Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan scored to give the Lightning the victory.
It was a gutsy effort by the Bolts and Bishop after giving up the tying goal with less than seven seconds left in the game.
Coach Cooper talked about Bishop’s performance following the game, “He was our best player tonight for definitely the last 30 minutes. You need your goalie on to advance, and he got us a couple points tonight.”
The Bolts have 62 points and continue to lead the Atlantic Division.
J.T. Brown (healthy), recently recalled Luke Witkowski (healthy) and Matt Carle (undisclosed) were the scratches.
Assistant coach Steve Thomas was granted a temporary leave of absence from the team to attend to a personal matter.
The Lightning host the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night in their last game before the All-Star break.
(Feature Photo/Christine Gunn)
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