The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in a shootout behind a spirited effort at Amalie Arena on Saturday.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and was the first win on home ice for the Lightning since they beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Jan. 12 — a span of five contests — and brings them within seven points of the Philadelphia Flyers for the final wild card spot in the Easter Conference playoff race with 29 games left to play.
The Lightning were able to put together one of their strongest performances of the season, outshooting the Ducks 37-16 and tallying two goals, including one on the power play. They also held the Ducks scoreless in five power play opportunities before securing the victory in the fourth round of the shootout. Ben Bishop made 14 saves to earn his 12th victory of the season and his first since Jan. 16.
Let’s take a closer look at how things played out on Saturday:
The Ducks opened the scoring at 8:14 of the first period as Brandon Montour tallied his first goal of his NHL career. Brayden Coburn carried the puck behind the Lightning net when Ryan Kesler forced a turnover that ended up on the stick of Jakob Slifverberg in the bottom of the right circle. Silfverberg fired the puck on net, but Bishop made a pad save and the puck deflected behind the net. Silfverberg regained control of it and came back around the net before feeding it to Montour who one-timed it past Bishop.
The Lightning challenged the initial play as being offside but were unsuccessful and the goal stood.
While the Lightning went down by a goal early, they fought back quickly as Drouin beat Ducks goaltender Jonathan Bernier at the 9:48 mark for his 15th goal of the year. Tyler Johnson tapped a pass to Drouin at the top of the right circle in the Ducks zone. Drouin circled back with the puck towards the slot and fired a wrist shot towards the Ducks’ net. The puck snuck under the arm of Bernier and bounced into net to even the game.
Just over a minute later, J.T. Brown and Joseph Caramarossa dropped the gloves near center ice and had one of the better back and forth battles of the season, each exchanging blows before Brown grappled Caramossa down to the ice.
The fight electrified the home crowd, who began to chant “JT! JT! JT!” shortly after it ended. A couple Lightning players came over to speak to Brown after the fight, while Brian Boyle was animated as he banged his stick on the glass near the penalty box as an acknowledgement of the strong bout Brown had to an opponent who was three inches taller and 17 pounds heavier. It was the sort of fight that energized both teams and added to the physical nature of the contest.
The Lightning put together one of the best 20 minute spans of the entire season during the middle frame, outshooting the Ducks 15-4 and holding them without one until the dying minutes of the period.
When Montour was called for hooking at 9:24 of the period, the Lightning power play unit got to work. After a battle in the corner, the puck bounced out to the Nikita Kucherov, who had pinched up from his position at the point. He gained control of the loose puck and sent a pass to Killorn from the goal line. Killorn one-timed it from the left faceoff dot and it banked off the right post and in for his 16th goal of the season. Kucherov’s assist was his second of the evening and brought his point total to a team-leading 47 for the year.
The Lightning fired 10 shots on goal to the Ducks’ three during the final period, but the session was not without a costly goal that would send the game to overtime. Kevin Bieksa thread a pass from his own zone to Ryan Getzlaf, who was skating backwards up the right boards. Getzlaf was unable to control the initial feed but pivoted and grabbed the puck. He skated past a reaching Andrej Sustr before firing a wrist shot that beat Bishop over his right shoulder hit the top corner of the net at 4:02 of the period.
Ducks forward Nate Thompson was called for elbowing at 10:19, giving the Lightning a brief power play before Victor Hedman was taken off for hooking a minute later. Once Thompson’s penalty expired, the Ducks went on a shortened power play but were unable to find the back of the net.
The Lightning outshot the Ducks 5-0 in the extra session, helped in large part by a sprawling Jake Dotchin who broke up a 2-on-1 play and kept the Ducks from capitalizing on what was their best scoring opportunity in the period.
Brayden Point opened the shootout by beating Bernier on his attempt but Silfverberg answered by firing a puck past Bishop to close out the first round of shooters. In the second round, Drouin was stopped by Bernier, while Getzlaf potted on to give the Ducks the lead. Kucherov and Boyle each scored on their attempts, while Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry could not convert on their own, as the Lightning earned the second point and improved to 23-24-6 on the season.
ANA — Brandon Montour (1) assisted by Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Kesler
TBL — Jonathan Drouin (15) assisted by Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov
TBL — Alex Killorn (16) assisted by Nikita Kucherov (PP)
ANA — Ryan Getzlaf (8) assisted by Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler
TBL — Brayden Point — Goal
ANA — Jakob Silfverberg — No Goal
TBL — Jonathan Drouin — No Goal
ANA — Ryan Getzlaf — Goal
TBL — Nikita Kucherov — Goal
ANA — Rickard Rakell — No Goal
TBL — Brian Boyle — Goal
ANA — Corey Perry — No Goal
THW Three Stars
First: Nikita Kucherov (two assists)
Second: Ryan Kesler (two assists)
Third: Jonathan Drouin (one goal)
What’s Up Next
Anaheim Ducks at New York Rangers
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017
Madison Square Garden – 7:00 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – SNO, MSG, PRIME
Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017
Amalie Arena – 7:30 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – NBCSN
Steven is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the game of hockey. He’s the Lead Writer covering the Tampa Bay Lightning with THW. He’s also been press credentialed through the Lightning since 2016. His work has been published at The Fourth Period, LightningInsider.com, Bolt Prospects, The Sports Daily Network, U.S. College Hockey Online and College Hockey News. He’s had radio appearances on TSN 690 in Montreal, Lightning Power Play Live and multiple podcasts to give insight and analysis on the team. He can be reached on Twitter @StevenDiOssi and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.