Not long into the game, Flames center Olli Jokinen, who is having a good season so far, took a hooking penalty to put the Bolts on their first power play of the game. The power play has struggled this season and had a rough first minute as they couldn't maintain possession in the Flames zone. However, the second power play unit took to the ice and had great puck movement which eventually led to a Teddy Purcell goal. It wasn't pretty and took a lot of luck in the form of a bounce off Calgary defenseman Chris Butler, but when those bounces go your way you can't complain.
The Lightning looked to take their 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but the offensively starved Matt Stajan tied it up for the Flames at 19:27 of the period. The Flames went on the power play with five seconds to go in the period on a Dominic Moore penalty which they technically didn't capitalize on. But Flames' star Jarome Iginla took a great feed from Jokinen to give the Flames the led just two seconds after Moore's penalty expired.
Play began to pick up for the Bolts in the second half of the middle period when the line of Ryan Shannon, Tom Pyatt and Blair Jones crashed the Flames' net leading to Pyatt smashing the puck into the goal to tie the game 2-2. Tampa Bay continued its pressure in the offensive zone but this time it was the Stamkos line dominating, leading to a Malone one-timer to put the Lightning ahead 3-2. Then under a minute to go in the second period, a face-off win my Nate Thompson quickly led to a 2-on-1 rush thanks to a Victor Hedman feed through the neutral zone. Thompson mishandled the puck in the slot as he was thinking about a pass but took control just in time to score and give the Lightning a two-goal cushion.
Tampa Bay would see their lead evaporate in the third period in a show of this team's lack of confidence and ability to put together a strong 60 minutes of play. Fortunately they had good overtime karma on their side, as well as a guy wearing the number 91 on the back of his jersey. Stamkos took to the net and was set-up beautifully by defenseman Eric Brewer to get his 19th goal of the season and send the Lightning to their 13th victory of the 2011-2012 season. Mathieu Garon looked decent in net tonight in his seventh win of the season. Expect him to get the start again on Saturday.
They face the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday in Ohio which starts their three game road trip heading into the Christmas break. Columbus is the worst team in the league but I wouldn't expect the Lightning to take them too lightly. A win to kick off this road trip would serve as a boost of confidence for a team that needs it so much.
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