Lightning fans rejoiced Wednesday night as their Bolts moved on to the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was Braydon Coburn’s slapshot at 3:58 in the third period that brought the Thunder to Amalie Arena.
The Lightning rallied during every game this postseason to see their win in front of the home crowd on Wednesday, April 29th. For most of the game the score remained 0-0 with Detroit continually outshooting the Bolts. If it were not for some big saves by Ben Bishop the game’s outcome may have been drastically different.
A battle to get to the slot between Steven Stamkos and Riley Sheahan gave penalties to both teams just as Anton Stralman netted what would have been the Bolt’s second goal. It was a call that did not go over well with the fans. The game went to a 4-on-4 that did not see any goals. With five minutes to go the fans started chanting and cheering on their Lightning in hopes that it would help the boys in blue score another goal that would cement their lead.
With 1:18 left the Lightning got their second goal on an empty net and fans in the arena and on Thunder Alley flew to their feet, screaming with all their might over their excitement. It was justice for Anton Stralman, who got the empty netter after his second goal was disallowed. Fans were on their feet for the rest of the game, excited over the prospect of what was to come and ready to break decibel readers when the clock finally hit zero.
The Red Wings kept six defensemen on the ice to try to muster a win. They had come seven game and stranger things had happened than getting two goals in under a minute. Any hockey fan knows just how crazy any Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game was when Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov were in net.
Fans did not move from their seats during the handshakes, too excited for the next round. While dates are yet to be announced for the next round, it is already known that the Lightning will be playing the Canadiens.
Ironically, on this day in 2004 the Lightning swept the Canadiens to advance to the next round. It was 2004 when they won the Stanley Cup, and seeing the Canadiens in the next round of play, fans can only hope that this year will see a repeat. Last year the Habs swept the Bolts in the first round, and both the fans and the team have not forgotten that.
In the year since that sad day, the team has grown stronger and have developed as plays in all facets. Both teams played strong in the first round and if that is any sign of things to come, the second round will see both teams fighting even more to get to the third round.
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA where I spent 21 years of my life before moving to Orlando, Florida. I started my hockey career as Keeper of Time for the California University of PA Vulcans hockey club during university. Now that I reside in Florida I cover the Tampa Bay Lightning.