The Tampa Bay Lightning closed out their four-game homestand by ending a three-game losing streak and defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime, 2-1.
Martin St. Louis, the leading scorer for the Lightning on the season, continued his torrid pace of late by scoring with only 1:56 left in the four-on-four overtime period to win the game. The goal was number 28 on the season for St. Louis and extended his consecutive scoring streak to a season-high nine games.
St. Louis beat Columbus netminder Steve Mason to the far side on a blast from the left faceoff circle.
“I was going for the far side all the way,” St. Louis said. “I usually do when the goaltender is right handed.”
The assists on the winning goal were awarded to Steven Stamkos and Richard Petiot. For Stamkos, it was his second assist on the evening. He had already extended his consecutive game scoring streak to six games when he assisted on Tampa Bay’s first goal of the game, scored by Ryan Malone in the third period.
After two lackluster periods in which neither team could reach the scoreboard, the third period and overtime were, by contrast, hard fought and competitive.
Competitive might not be the term for the first two stanzas however, as Tampa Bay generated only 2 shots on net in period one and then five shots in period two. Only two of the shots on net could be considered to be scoring chances.
By contrast, Columbus pumped 17 shots on Lightning netminder Mike McKenna through two periods, but McKenna was on top of his game and smothered every shot. There were very few rebounds, and when there was, the Lightning defense boxed the Blue Jackets out of the area. McKenna finished with 33 saves on the night.
Columbus opened the scoring at 4:21 of the third period when Jan Hejda was credited with a goal as the puck bounced off a Tampa Bay defenseman and past Mckenna.
That goal stood up until Hedja was set off the ice for holding the stick at 9:56. Skating with the man advantage for the only time in the game, the Lightning tied the score when Lightning forward Ryan Malone re-directed a shot from the blueline by Matt Lashoff past Mason at 10:55. The goal was number 25 on the season for Malone and was also assisted by Stamkos.
The Lightning power play has been faultless of late, and with tonight’s power play goal, Tampa Bay has now scored with the man advantage in seven consecutive games and has converted 10 of 29 power play chances.
The Lightning had an excellent chance to win the game in regulation when St. Louis beat Mason but his shot clanged off the left goal post with just over two minutes remaining to play.
“It was one of those tight games where not much was happening,” Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said. “When that happens, on the offensive front, you have to take a lot of shots and get people going to the net and it just seemed like we couldn’t generate anything.’
But they generated what they needed to in the overtime, collecting three shots on net, including the game winner, compared to only one by the Blue Jackets.
So despite being out shot 34 to 17, the Lightning grab the win because, after all, it’s not the shots you take but the ones that go in the net that count. And using that as the measure, Tampa Bay prevailed.
1 - 0 CBJ
1 - 1 Tie
Martin St. Louis
2 - 1 TBL
Holding the stick