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Game Five…. let that sink in…. The Tampa Bay Lightning are up 3-1 in their series against the Detroit Red Wings and one game away from eliminating the Red Wings from the playoffs. This is the same team they faced last year in round one and defeated in seven games a year ago. Both these teams have at time shown they want to win individual games during the series. Now let’s see if the Lighting can show they want to win the series and move on to face the Florida Panthers of New York Islanders.
The first period saw a lot of back and forth action between the Lightning and Red Wings. There were clear moments where the Bolts seemed like they wanted this game, but times when given the chance on the power play they were unable to get anything past Mrazek. While game four showed the Lightning can score on the power play this game showed they still have a long way to go. Both teams had two opportunities on the power play with the Lightning’s second chance coming with 38 seconds left in the first period. Either way the Lightning were way to pass heavy on their two power play opportunities. Both team combined for 17 shots on goal through one period (9 for the Red Wings – 7 for the Lightning). With both teams having their chances with the extra man they should have double digit shots a piece.
At the start of the second period the Lightning would continue on the power play for 1:22 to start the period. The Lightning came out kind of flat in the middle period of the game only managing two shots through nearly seven minutes. The intensity level was clearly in the Red Wings favor as during their penalty kills they have gotten quite a few shorthanded opportunities that had it not been for Bishop the Bolts would been in the hole quite a bit nearly mid-way through the 2nd. Bishop bailed the Lightning out time and time again in the second period hoping at some point his team would step up and take back this game. Detroit continued their dominance reminding me a lot of the first game in Detroit that the Red Wings won 2-0. The Bolts
Something i never thought I’d say to start a period at Amalie Arena…The Triplets with a horrible opening shift for the period. Why Jon Cooper would break up Killorn, Kucherov and Johnson amazes me, but that’s what he did to start the 3rd period. Lack of Intensity continued into the 3rd period as the Bolts were unable to get the puck out of their zone at times due to fumbling the puck in their skates and causing a turnover or just bad luck and god passing by Detroit. Victor Hedman who’s normally really good with puck control has been pretty bad in this period so far. As the period continued the Lightning’s problems continued nearly costing them a goal numerous times, luckily Ben Bishop is playing at such a high level. Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan finally got the Bolts on the board after too much inconsistent play both men combined to score a goal with 1:43 left in the game.
Now comes the waiting game who shall the Lightning play in round 2?
Florida Panthers or New York Islanders?
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star – Peter Mrazek (DET G): Kept the Lightning at bay when they were able to get shots on goal. Had 24 saves before giving up a goal late.
2nd Star – Alex Killorn (TBL F) and Ryan Callahan (TBL F): Scored the game winning and set up beautifully the game winning goal. This gal doesn’t get scored without both of them.
1st Star – Ben Bishop (TBL G): Is pretty much the sole reason the Lightning won this game and the series.
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