Droughts and records have one thing in common: they both must come to an end. Such was the case as Ryan Callahan and Cedric Paquette end scoring droughts as they both scored for the Lightning in their eventual 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
The Tampa Bay Lightning started the first period with a barrage of shots on Martin Jones early in the first period. Jones stood tall as the Lightning spent several minutes in the offensive seemingly setting up plays and firing at will. Even when the puck came back Ben Bishop was sent a long lead past up to Ondrej Palat who was unable to convert. Jonathan Marchessault was also present playing aggressive and was looking to make the most of his opportunity to play while Vladislav Namestnikov is day-to-day with an upper body injury and Erik Condra is out with the flu. Unfortunately the Lightning were unable to keep the Sharks on their heels as they were able to come back in the latter half of the period with shots of their own on Bishop. Late in the first Ryan Callahan was able to score just getting the puck by Jones. Assists on Callahan’s goal go to Alex Killorn and Andrej Sustr. Overall it was avery good period for the Lightning and even though the shots were tied at eight a piece, the Lightning’s puck control appear to be improved from recent games.
The Lightning appeared to take the foot of the gas in the second as they did not come out nearly as aggressive as they did in the first. It was back and forth early on as both teams traded unsuccessful scoring attempts until Joel Ward Blasted a slap shot through traffic and Bishop. It did not seem like both teams really had a sense of urgency as both were experiencing missed passes. No-one thought to cover Joe Pavelski in front of Bishop and Joe Thornton behind the net sets him up for and easy goal. It was in the second when recent call up Slater Koekkoek demonstrated why he was a first round selection from the Lightning. Koekkoek was making solid passes and had a few shot opportunities. It might not be too long before Koekkoek becomes a regular on the blue line in Tampa Bay. JT Brown sets up Cedric Paquette to tie the game and ending a 20 game goal drought. With less then five minutes left in the period Braden Coburn gets an interference call that the Lightning kill off and end the period. One thing I noticed this period is the puck handling from Ben Bishop. Bishop is able to send the puck two thirds of the way up the ice and right on the tape of his teammates at will.
The third period started and both teams appeared to play a bit more cautiously. Early on it was Matt Nieto scoring for the Sharks and the Lightning had to play with more aggression then they probably wanted to. Joonas Donskoi was called for tripping. The Lightning had a good power play with some shots but no goals. Jonathan Marchessault was called for boarding that the Lightning were able to kill off. The Sharks Played a very good defensive period containing the lead while still being able to catch up in shots on net. The Lightning appeared to fall apart more as the third went on. Bad passes in the neutral zones and Valtteri Filppula getting a penalty call with just under six minutes to go. The Lightning were able to kill the penalty but did not have much time to work with. The Lightning seemed to be rushing and mishandling the puck lead to break away from Joe Pavelski who was unable to control the puck, but Melker Karlsson did not mishandle the puck and got one past Bishop. Victor Hedman was issued a 10 minute misconduct penalty for shooting the puck down the ice after the goal. Joel Ward was called for holding the stick with 13 seconds left but it was too little too late for the Lightning. Tampa Bay was off to a great start but seemed to fizzle out as the game went on.
3 – Ryan Callahan – Playing on a line with Steven Stamos appeared to be just what Callahan needed, as he was able to end his scoring drought, and in general played more aggressively and seemingly effectively in the offensive zone.
2 – Joel Ward – Joel had the first goal tonight for the Sharks, getting them on the scoring sheet early in the second period. Ward’s aggressive play through the whole game, lead to him getting the second star.
1 – Matt Nieto – Matt scored the game winning goal for the Sharks, earning him the first star of the night.
Bolts will be back in action against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday at 7:30.
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