Quirky Schedule Helps Tampa Bay Lightning Get Some Early Season Wins

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Quirky Schedule Helps Tampa Bay Lightning Get Some Early Season Wins

It was a wild night at the St. Pete Times Forum Thursday night as the Tampa Bay rallied from a pair of two goal deficits and defeated the Minnesota Wild in a shoot out, 4-3.

The victory was the first shoot out win of the season for Tampa Bay, which had failed to score on 14 shoot out attempts before Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos went 2-for-2 on the night.

It was also the third victory for Tampa Bay after a four day layoff.

In a strange scheduling quirk, three times this season the Lightning have had four days off—Sunday to Wednesday before having to play their next opponent.

The time off has benefited the club, allowing for additional practice time that they would not otherwise see in a hectic NHL schedule.

In the first two outings, the Lightning played some of their best hockey of the season, blasting Ottawa and San Jose by identical 5-2 scores. In this one, the Bolts were sloppy, falling behind 2-0 and 3-1 before rallying late to tie and put the game into overtime.

There won't be any more four day breaks for the Bolts the rest of the season (excluding the two week Olympic break), so the Lightning hope that the rest and practice time will continue to carry over.

The Lightning also continue to play well at home, now one of only two NHL teams yet to have a regulation home loss. What makes their 5-0-3 record on home ice even more impressive is that in two of their shoot out losses, Tampa Bay had the lead in the final minute, only to give up the tying goal and eventually lose in the shoot out.

With home ice and breaks from the schedule makers, the Lightning find themselves hot on the heels of the division leading Capitals and are three games over .500 for the first time since the 2006-07 season, the last time the Bolts made it to the postseason.

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