DALLAS (CBS) The Tampa Bay Lightning (19-23-4) came into last night’s game with a chip on their shoulder.
A month went by without a single win on the road, but with the help of Teddy Purcell the Lightning secured a 2-1 win at the American Airlines Center to snap their six-game road skid dating back to Dec. 17.
Purcell scored the only two goals for Tampa Bay, and Mathieu Garon stopped 27 shots to give the bolts a much needed win away from home. Tampa Bay has surrendered the most goals in the NHL(160) up to this point, and last night they held a struggling Dallas squad to one goal after allowing three or more goals during a span of their last seven games.
Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier have grown accustomed to placing the team on their backs when times get tough, but Purcell stepped up last night and emerged as the Lighnting’s lone threat.
He opened the scoring late in the first with a wrister through the five-hole of Kari Lehtonen to put the bolts up 1-0. Tampa Bay outshot the Stars 13-5 during the opening period, which paid dividends in the long run. Tampa Bay’s defense remained stout the entire night, holding Dallas to 0-for-4 on the power play.
Tom Wandell brought the Stars even 1:22 into the first with Dallas’ only goal of the night, but it wouldn’t be enough to snap their four-game losing streak. They’ve managed to score only four goals in their last four games, which explains their recent winless drought.
Purcell scored the winning goal at 3:36 in the third when he took a lead pass from Martin St. Louis and finished a very difficult backhanded shot passed Lehtonen for his 11th of the year. St. Louis assisted Purcell on both of his goals, and he deserves a lot of the credit for the win last night.
With Victor Hedman and Marc-Andre Bergeron out with injuries, Tampa Bay has played surprisingly well in the absence of two key players in the Lightning’s defensive scheme. If the bolts can continue to hold teams to one or two goals a game, they will have a chance to win more games without having to score five or more goals every night.
Tonight they head to Phoenix to face the Coyotes to wrap up their brief road trip out west.