On Wednesday night, Dec. 2, 2015 the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a final score of 2-1 in front of a light crowd of 14,741 at Honda Center in Anaheim. Despite missing talented young players Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Cedric Paquette due to injury, the Lightning were able to prevail in this tightly contested game. Much of the credit for the win, goes to Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop.
Both teams had quality scoring chances throughout the game, but Bishop was able to come up big when his team really needed it. Anaheim goalie John Gibson also played well, but Bishop was truly the difference-maker.
Tampa Bay outshot Anaheim 8-5 in the scoreless opening period, but this was the only period in which the Ducks were outplayed. The second period was rather curious. Both teams had good spurts of offense. Tampa Bay scored the first goal of the game at 2:35, but the Ducks answered back less than two minutes later. The goals were almost identical; Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin scored off a scramble in front of Gibson and Anaheim forward Corey Perry scored off a scramble in front of Bishop.
The second period also saw Tampa Bay have two goals disallowed. With the scored tied 1-1, Nikita Kucherov appeared to have put Tampa Bay ahead, but it was ruled that his stick was too high when he deflected the shot past Gibson. A short time later, Alex Killorn put the puck past Gibson but it was ruled that his teammate Ryan Callahan, who was in front of the net, jostling with Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, had interfered with Gibson and thus the goal was disallowed.
For the Lightning, the third time turned out to be the charm. As the second period wound down Tampa Bay were awarded a power play. The penalty was against Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner who was called for cross-checking Lightning forward Jonathan Marchessault, at 14:47. While Stoner watched helplessly from the penalty box, Tampa Bay pushed the puck up ice, through the neutral zone and pressed the attack. Having entered the Ducks zone with good speed, Marchessault took a beautiful pass from Drouin and scored from the high slot to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead at 16:22. Tampa Bay were outshot 16-9 in the middle stanza, but had the lead.
The third period was where Bishop really earned his money. The ice again tilted in favor of the home team which outshot the Tampa Bay squad by a margin of 12-5. Combined with the second period, Anaheim outshot the reigning Eastern Conference champions by a margin of 27-13, but their efforts proved futile.
The Ducks are now 1-1-1 after three games of this six-game homestand which continues with a game against the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, Dec 4. With an overall record of 9-12-5, the Ducks are in fifth place in the Pacific division.
Ducks notes: The Ducks continue to struggle in the second period of games. Coming into the game, they had a mark of -22 in second period goal differential for the season. That mark is now -23 as they were outscored 2-1 in the second period of this game. Forward Nate Thompson appeared in his first game of the 2015 regular season after having had shoulder surgery during this past summer. Thompson logged 6:58 of ice time while skating on a line with Mike Santorelli and Chris Stewart.
Dec. 2, 2015 – TBL 2, ANA 1. Final shots on goal: ANA 33, TBL 22. Power play: TBL 1/4, ANA 0/4. Three Stars of the game: 1) Ben Bishop – TBL, 2) Corey Perry – ANA, Rickard Rakell – ANA. Goaltenders: TBL – Ben Bishop, ANA – John Gibson.
Ducks forward line combinations:
Ducks defense pairings: