It’s time for the road as the Lightning will play two of their three games scheduled for the week away from home beginning in Minnesota for a Monday, Nov. 28 contest against the Wild. From Minnesota, the Lightning head to the Motown and face Lightning VP/GM Steve Yzerman’s former team, the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, Nov. 30 before returning home to face-off against former Bolts coach John Tortorella and the New York Rangers on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The week also begins a stretch of road games in which the team will play six of their next seven games away from the St. Pete Times Forum – needless to say, the task of winning away from home hasn’t been one of the Bolts brighter spots on the young season, as they’re 4-6-2 as they open the week.
The bright spot though, is that the Lightning (11-9-2, 24 pts) will face the Wild (13-6-3, 29 pts) on a modest two-game winning streak with both wins coming over in-state rival Florida Panthers (Friday, Nov. 25 (2-1 OT win in Sunrise) and Saturday, Nov. 26 (5-1 win at home) after a horrendous start to the week with a 7-1 thumping from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
The Bolts win on Friday night snapped the Panthers three-game winning streak, but more importantly the home-and home series win saw the Lightning play consistent hockey – all aspects of their game shinned, especially the penalty-killing unit which stopped all 10 Florida power-play opportunities and that of goaltender Mathieu Garon, who stopped 45 of the 47 shots he faced in making his first back-to-back consecutive day starts in two years.
Friday’s overtime win came on Steven Stamkos’ one-timer with just over two-minutes remaining in the extra frame following Vincent Lecavalier’s tying goal at 8:59 of the third period.
Tomas Fleischmann put the Panthers up 1-0 with his 10th goal of the season at 12:38 of the second period who were seeking their fourth straight win for the first time since a seven-game streak in 2008. Florida hadn’t won four straight in regulation since 2001.
In the 5-1 win on Saturday, the Bolts scored early and quickly as Martin St. Louis netted the game’s opening goal at 2:07 of the first period. The goal was his 300th career in a Lightning sweater (he has four goals with the Calgary Flames).
As well, it was the eighth time this season that the Bolts scored the first goal of the game and the first time they struck first against the Panthers in their past five meetings.
“I’m proud of it,” St. Louis said. “I’m proud to say that I’ve been on the same team for 11 years. If you told me 11 years ago I’d score 300 goals, I would have paid money for that.”
The second period saw the Bolts score three goals in a span of just over six minutes as Tom Pyatt, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone put the puck in the basket. For extra measure, Stamkos netted his second of the night and 14th overall goal with just under a minute remaining in the game.
Monday, November 28, 2011@ MinnesotaWild
7:30 PM(EST), Television: Versus, TSN2, Radio: 970 WFLA AM
The opening contest of the week takes the Lightning into the Twin Cities as they’ll face-off against the Northwest Division leaders Minnesota Wild (13-6-3, 29 pts.), who enter the contest 7-4 in their last 11 games. This is the only meeting of the season between the two clubs – last season the teams faced-off twice with the teams each winning on their opponent’s home ice.
In the first meeting last season (Nov. 14, 2010) at the St. Pete Times Forum, Minnesota defeated the Bolts 4-1. Martin St. Louis’ power-play goal for the Bolts was the lone score. In the season’s final meeting in Minnesota on April 2, Ryan Malone, Steve Downie and former Bolt Sean Bergenheim scored in the 3-1 win.
As leaders in the Northwest Division, the Wild are led by Captain Mikko Koivu. Koivu leads the Wild with 16 points (8G, 4A), while Dany Heatley is next with 13 points (6G, 7A) followed by Matt Cullen who leads the team with eight goals and is tied with Devin Setoguchi with 12 points.
Mikko Koivu (3G-13A, 16 pts) leads the team in assists and is the overall points leader, with Dany Heatley just three points back with 13 (6G-7A). Matt Cullen leads the team in goals (8) and is tied Devin Setoguchi with 12 points entering play on Sunday night.
Between the pipes are Niklas Backstrom (7-4-2, 2 SO, 1.97 GAA) who is ranked seventh in goals-against-average and tied for ninth in save percentage at .935. Backup Josh Harding (6-2-1, 1 SO, 2.07 GAA) is ranked 11th with a .934 save percentage and is tied for 16th with Marc-Andre Fleury with a 2.07 GAA.
Backstrom in six career starts against the Lightning is 4-1-1 with a 1.79 GAA and one shutout. Harding has never faced the Bolts.
For the Bolts, Steven Stamkos’ current point-streak is now at three games and has recorded a point in nine of ten home games this season. Additionally, he leads the team in goals (14), points (24) and plus/minus with a +8.
Martin St. Louis and Marc-Andre Bergeron are tied in points (19) and Bergeron tops the team in assists (16). Furthermore, Bergeron is tied for second amongst defenseman in points (19) and is tied for third in assists (16).
Vincent Lecavalier is second on the team in goals (10) and leads the team in power-play goals (3) and the NHL in game-winning goals with 4.
Lightning: Mattias Ohlund (Knee Surgery; IR), Steve Downie (Upper Body; Day-to-day)
Wild: Greg Zanon (Groin; IR), Guillaume Latendresse (Concussion; IR), Marek Zidlicky (Concussion; IR)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011@ Detroit Red Wings
7:30 PM(EST) Television: Versus, TSN2, Radio: 970 WFLA AM
This is the only meeting of the season between the two teams and the first time that Lightning GM Steve Yzerman returns to Detroit since departing to become a member of the Bolts organization. Last year the teams met in Tampa with the Red Wings 6-2 winners on February 17.
Despite outshooting the Wings 40-31, two goals from Pavel Datsyuk and one each from Justin Abdelkader, Danny Cleary, Darren Helm and Niklas Kronwall was all the support that Jimmy Howard needed in picking up the win. Howard had 38 saves on the night.
Victor Hedman and Steve Downie each had goals for the Lightning and Dwayne Roloson made 25 saves.
Saturday, December 3, 2011 vs. New York Rangers
7:00 PM (EST) Television: Versus, SUN (HD), Radio: 970 WFLA AM
Former Lightning coach John Tortorella leads his Rangers into Tampa Bay for the first of two meetings in the Sunshine state and first of four overall on the season. Joining “Torts” in New Yorkis former Bolt Brad Richards, who was signed as a free agent this past summer.
The Lightning swept the Rangers last season, winning all four games, which included a 2-1 OT win on New Year’s Day and a 4-3 shootout win on December 23.
All-Star Voting Opens November 14
Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos have been named to 2012 NHL All-Star Ballot, with the 2012 game to be played on January 29, 2012 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
On-line voting began Monday, November 14 and will conclude on January 4, 2012 with the top six vote-getters by position – three forwards, two defensemen and goalie – set to take part in the 2012 Tim Horton’s NHL All-Star Game.
On November 22, the NHL released the Week 1 results… Steve Stamkos is 22nd out of the 28 listed with 47,488. Daniel Alfredsson leads all forwards with 131,774
How to Vote
NHL.com/votewill feature interactive online ballots available in eight languages, accessible anywhere in the world. Each player ballot page includes video highlights and real-time, sortable player statistics. Fans will be permitted to select as few as one player – a balloted player or write-in – per online ballot.
For more info: Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers
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