The Tampa Bay Lightning knew what the stakes were going into this game and played to the level coach Jon Cooper got that.
Not only were injuries the story of the night, but yet again, it seems like the Bolts know what they have in their locker room—a group of guys who are ready to have a hero appear each night. Friday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was no different as they got goals from three different guys Palat, Eric Brewer and Nate Thompson respectively.
Another hero was Kristers Gudlevskis who played an outstanding game in his first career NHL start only giving up one goal on thirty shots. Gudlevskis is well known for his play in the Sochi Olympics as he held Team Canada to two goals in a 55 save loss to the world’s best team. That effort was a monumental feat compared to facing the Blue Jackets who are a far cry from fielding a line up with Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and company.
Although the rest of the world wasn’t watching him tonight, the Lightning nation was and Gudlevskis, much like his battery partner Anders Lindback, got a few standing ovations throughout the night for his spectacular stops on the thirty-eight shots he faced.
“He was up to the task, he was outstanding,” coach Jon Cooper said on his young net minder. “He was there for us, I can’t fault him on either goal, one was a power play tip and the other on a blown coverage.”
Gudlevskis wasn’t the only one making his debut, earlier today it was announced that Cedric Paquette was called up due to the Filppula injury, Paquette proved his worth in the lineup by getting a pass off to Brewer on the faceoff, and Brewer forced it through Curtis McElnny.
Brewer’s eventual game winner was his second goal in two games; he had only one on the season before and finished the night with three.
“I am not shooting the puck any different, I am just shooting and it’s going in,” Brewer said. “ I wish I had an answer for you as I would be doing it more,” he said with a smile.
It seems like the Bolts are getting hot at the right time and will do whatever is necessary to win as evident by a new cast of heroes emerging each night. The team no one expected to compete for a playoff spot is competing not only for a playoff spot but also for home-ice advantage
“For me, you go into every game, we want to win the game, we put the lineup in that will win the game,” Cooper said.
It doesn’t seem to matter what lineup they use, they are all about winning and that attitude is reflecting now at time when a hot team is a dangerous team.