Tampa Bay Lightning captain and former number one overall pick in the 1998 draft Vincent Lecavalier played in his 1,000th career game on Monday against the New York Islanders, and on Friday night in Tampa he was presented a Silver Stick for his accomplishment. Lightning GM and member of the 1,000 game club, Steve Yzerman presented Lecavalier with the commemorative stick. It was Ryan Malone though who stole the show for the Bolts.
The Lightning scored the first goal of the game on a power play off the stick of Matt Carle just over a minute into the contest.
Marc-Andre Bergeron and rookie Cory Conacher assisted Carle’s first goal of the season. Conacher now has at least a point in every game this season. That was the only goal of the period but the Lightning had plenty of chances due to four penalties by Ottawa.
The second period for the Lightning in the early part of the season has been the teams’ Achilles heel. The undefeated Senators jumped out to a lead after three goals in the second stanza. Erik Condra, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson scored the goals for the Senators. Karlsson is coming off a 78-point season and is looking to prove that last season was not a fluke. The Spezza and Karlsson goals were within 15 seconds of each other, and if not for a goal from Steven Stamkos 15 seconds later the Bolts may have been out of the game. Three goals in 30 seconds made for a wild second period and Victor Hedman added another goal for the Lightning just before the period ended, the score was 4-3 in favor of the Senators.
If the second period is the Bolts weakness then the third period is their strong point. Ryan ‘Bugsy’ Malone scored his second goal of the season early in the third period to tie the game at four. Conacher was once again in on the play and along with Sami Salo recorded an assist. The winning goal came with only seven minutes to play and was scored by Malone as well. Lecavalier fittingly assisted on the play along with Victor Hedman. Malone scored the tieing and winning goals in classic Ryan Malone fashion, he fought for position in front of the net and banged home rebounds for the goals. Tom Pyatt added an empty net goal to seal the victory for the Lightning. Tampa Bay leads the league in third period goals, outscoring opponents 11-1.
The Lightning improved to 3-0-0 when leading after the first period of play. Bolts goalie Anders Lindback and the Senators net-minder Ben Bishop are the two tallest goalies in the league, which made for an interesting matchup. Rookie Cory Conacher is now leading all rookies in points as his two assists on Friday night bring his season total to seven, one point ahead of St. Louis Blues electric rookie, Vladimir Tarasenko.
Tampa Bay will continue the homestand Sunday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.