Lightning just miss a breakthrough they desperately needed.
Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 23 shots and allowed 1 of 2 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the SO loss. He was not super-sharp tonight, but I was almost willing to give him a pass after making a key desperation save with his right pad late in the Third Period that nearly was enough to preserve the win. But, he allowed a deflected floater with less than a minute to play and that ultimately cost the team a second point tonight. I'm not going to lambaste a guy for allowing goals on 2 breakaways and a penalty shot. That said, it's an obvious tell when Bishop is on/off as to whether or not he's leaving his five hole open. Tonight it was open 24 hours like a 7-Eleven, and Pirri took advantage on his PS goal and the Shootout winner. The five hole is to Ben Bishop what drink is to someone in AA: it's a demon he'll be fighting with the rest of his life. Being such a tall guy, he'll never fully correct it, but he's got to focus on keeping it under control.
4:48 FLA Jokinen (4), (Trocheck, Campbell)
15:22 TB Paquette (2), (Brown)
1:02 TB Namestnikov (4), (Stamkos)
2:39 FLA Bjugstad (6), (Smith, Huberdeau)
4:47 FLA Pirri (3), (unassisted)(PS)
7:49 TB Stralman (1), (Killorn, Hedman)
9:56 TB Namestnikov (5), (Brown, Stamkos)
19:22 FLA Ekblad (3), (Smith, Bolland)(PP)
This one stings, because it had the chance to be a cathartic moment that would put the Lightning season back on track. It was not a pretty game. It was incredibly sloppy and incredibly chippy, but that emotional response by the Lightning after getting physically challenged by the downstate rival was welcome. It looked like the elixir, quite frankly, as the team battled to manufacture the 4 goals it looked like it needed to win. And then the bottom dropped out on a center point wrister than took a slight deflection off Condra and went in with under a minute to go. Deflating. Tonight's exercise was helpful because it showed them they can manufacture goals in the dirty areas off rebounds, as they did on 3 out of the 4 goals. But, they really needed to payoff of the 2 points to feel good about the night and it slipped away from them. So, the funk continues to linger a bit longer.
So, the Lightning will be at least 3 points in the hole at the end of segment 2 of the season. 2 points in the segment finale would be much appreciated, to be sure.