3/31/12 Tampa Bay Lightning vs WPG Jets, 3-2 BOLTS

Another fun road trip, starting with getting us another cool Ford Edge, this one was Burgundy, which is the other color I’d wanted to drive…..black, white and burgundy, and, I’m a happy girl, except that now I really want one….or a Fusion, I’d love a Fusion!

So we took off Friday afternoon heading for just past 1/2 way, Lake City Florida. I soooo didn’t plan on this being Spring Break weekend, so, we left around 2p, and should have been there by 6:30, checking into our hotel, and all of a sudden, traffic just stopped, dead still, and we ran about 5 miles an hour for about an hour or so. So what should have taken about 4.5 hours took 6. We got checked into our hotel about 8p, munched, watched some TV to decompress, and crashed so we could head out early on down to Tampa. 

Packed up and ready to go.

Saturday morning, we got up, had our coffee and boom, storm….thunder, lightning and really heavy rains. We got a break so we went ahead and checked out and hit the road about 8:30 for a 3 hour finish to Tampa, and what happened, boom, dead still traffic, just volume as far as the eye could see. Our first standstill, we sat for about 30 minutes, then the second time, we stopped completely and sat with the car in park for about 45 minutes. Finally it opened up, and we passed one 11 car accident, and two smaller residual ones, and we finally got to our hotel about 2:45p. So this leg of a 3 hour drive ended up being 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Saturday Morning, looking out our hotel window in Lake City before leaving for Tampa

Our Chariot Awaits!    

We unpacked, got in our jerseys and headed for the arena as game time was 7p, doors open at 6p, and we wanted to talk to our dear friend Randy who was our Atlanta Thrashers rep for several years and when they left, he went to work for Tampa Bay and takes good care of us, so this would be our last time visiting with him since he lives in Tampa now and this was their last weekend home game. 😦

Once again, I didn’t bring my GAME lens!   I never know anymore where I’m going to get grief for one or not, so I brought a different one tonite, and was not used to it, so I wasn’t able to get my lighting settings quite right, but………..here goes……

My friend Libby Smith and her daughter Daisy were down for their first Tampa Bay game, so we wanted to spend a minute with them. Got over to the arena, and it was great, we each got a great big signed team photo and a huge Tampa Bay Lightning banner to wave!!!!! That was awesome. We talked to Randy awhile, pregame, then after warm ups Libby and Daisy met up with us and talked awhile and then it was game time.

Libby and Daisy loving their first Tampa Bay game!   Hey Girls!

Opening at Tampa Bay is always a lot of fun. They start with turning the lights down and lightening bolts all over the ice, and a baby goalie skating the ice to the tune of AC/DC Thunderstruck, then he goes to the center under the jumbotron and pumps his hockey stick to the words “Thunder”……”Thunder”…..! it’s really very cool.

My video of tonight’s “Thunderstruck”:

Warm Ups:

Chris Thorburn!   Thorburn really earned my respect in his last season as a Thrasher at one game where he lost his stick and he played on his knees and stomach and whatever it took to keep away a goal.  It was a fantastic thing to see.  

Vinny had shaved his head for charity  

Stapleton and Big Buff  

Nik and his Greek God Hair

Bryan Little.   I do love Little!   

Maybe they hang out together at the beach in WPG….no, probably not  

Zach:   “Really”, “REALLY”?   

The boys sharing a laugh.   Vinny telling them about shaving his head for charity?  While Antropov stands there with the Greek God hair

Ryan Malone, one of my new favorites!   Did really well for my fantasy hockey team this season, til he got injured.  Now he’s back and playing his @$$ off 

A few Jets fans in the house

Nate Thompson 

Zach with his usual, do de do, face

Bolts Zamboni  

Then they start the Tesla coils going and the lightning comes from them which you can see, hear and feel. When the teams take the ice and the anthems are sung, the US Flag is unfurled and the crowd passes it over their heads while singing! Very moving. This game was Jets again, and we were really hoping Tampa Bay would win, and with two goals by Malone, Stamkos brought it home in OT at 3-2 Bolts, complete with a couple of brawls.

Tesla Coils / Lightning bolts:

During the Anthem, the US Flag always gets passed among the crowd

And the scratches for tonite  

Game Time:  

Add yet another NHL record to the books for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos.   I know this is a warm up shot, but I just LOVE Stammertime’s smile!   

 The Bolts’ superstar center took all of 45 seconds to beat Ondrej Pavelec from the right circle to claim an NHL single-season record fifth overtime game-winning goal and propel the Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday night.

Here it comes………..

He shoots………….

And Pavs has a souvenir

Next period, clogging up Pavs view  

It’s a flying puck  

Here it comes again  

Fighting off lightning bolts is rough work!   

“Jets” fans or woolly buggers!?     

More mayhem around Pavs

Stamkos vs Slater face off  

Hainsey takes out St. Louis, and there’s hell to pay for that 

Marty is a package of dynamite!   

To the sin bin with you Hainsey

My video of the Ron Hainsey / Ryan “Bugsy” Malone, or as we call him, “Home Malone”:

And some more action around the boards

Ryan Malone also had two goals, and Sebastien Caron stopped 26 shots for Tampa Bay, which snapped a two-game losing streak.

The goal also upped Stamkos’ league-best total to 56 on the season, as he pulled eight ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin in the Rocket Richard Trophy race. With four games remaining, the Lightning forward is seeking to become the NHL’s first 60-goal man since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08.

Antti Miettinen and Kyle Wellwood had goals for Winnipeg, which has now lost six of the past eight. Pavelec made 36 saves.

Tampa Bay outshot Winnipeg 39-28 in the contest, including 21-7 in the third period.

The game featured 66 penalty minutes in total on the night, largely in part thanks to a scrum between Malone and Ron Hainsey, and an additional altercation in the final 20 minutes between Jets captain Andrew Ladd and Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman.

Wellwood’s 18th of the year snapped a 1-1 tie at 9:28 of the second period to pull Winnipeg ahead and give the Jets their first lead of the game. The goal came just 3:08 after Miettinen drew Winnipeg even by beating Caron off a centering pass from Evander Kane behind the net.

The Lightning opened the scoring late in the first when Tom Pyatt chipped the puck ahead into the offensive zone, where Malone gathered it, flipped a pass to himself, and out-muscled a defender before skating in against Pavelec and deking the Jets goaltender for a 1-0 lead.

His second of the night then tied it 2-2 after he swatted a rebound past Pavelec from the slot while on the power play. The goal was Malone’s fifth in his past two games following his fourth career hat trick two nights ago at New Jersey. He now has nine points in his past six games.

Caron, despite making just his first NHL start since Nov. 10, 2006, looked sharp throughout the night.

He made a strong glove save on an in-close shot by Hainsey during the first period and denied Bryan Little from point-blank range late in the game to keep Winnipeg at bay and force overtime.

Tampa Bay wraps up the home portion of the schedule Monday night against the division-rival Capitals before concluding the regular season with a three-game road trip through Canada.

Three star selections
1st:       RYAN MALONE
2nd:      ONDREJ PAVELEC
3rd:       STEVEN STAMKOS

Winning Goaltender
Sebastien Caron

Losing Goaltender
Ondrej Pavelec

NOTEWORTHY

    Stamkos’ overtime goal is his 5th this season which sets a new NHL record for most overtime goals in a season. Tied with four OT goals in a single season each are: Patrik Elias (2003–04), Olli Jokinen (2005–06), Ilya Kovalchuk (2010–2011), Markus Naslund (2003–04), Scott Niedermayer (2001–02), Daniel Sedin (2006–07), and Mats Sundin (1999-00).

    Ryan Malone’s goals were his fourth and fifth in the last two games, giving him 20 points (10G, 10A) in his last 22 games.

    Of Tom Pyatt’s 19 points this season, 16 have come on home ice.

    JT Brown made his NHL and professional debut tonight. The only other player to make his professional debut with the Lightning this season is Brett Connolly. Brown, Connolly, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and Mike Angelidis are the only four players to make their NHL debuts with the Bolts this season.

    Sebastien Caron made his first NHL start since 11/10/06 when he stopped 24 of 25 shots for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

    Nate Thompson made his return to the lineup tonight after missing the last seven games with an upper-body injury.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/embed.swf

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