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Playoff Bound? Written by Laci Bloomers - March 16th, 2009
Jeff Friesen

At the risk of hexing a team that looks to finally be hitting on most of their cylinders, I can not wonder if perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning have finally turned the corner this season.

Several schrewd trades, in particular the last 3, seem to be playing a huge part in the resurgence of a team that most expected to possibly challenge for the Division title.  Bobby Holik and then Martin Brodeur have paid off handsomly in their contributions, Holik so much so that he will likely be resigned.  His play directly contributed to the exitous of blue liner Rob Blake on Friday to Anaheim.

That brings us to the third trade, which made immediate impact this evening.

Friday Blake was dealt with a 1st round pick to the Ducks in a deal that saw 32 old winger Jeff Friesen come to the Lightning, along with Sean Hill and young flash Peter Mueller.

Friesen wasted no time becoming a fan favorite as he set up a goal and then scored the overtime winner in a big 4-3 win over Calgary.  Rod Brind'Amour had 3 assists, and Marty Brodeur picked up the win.

The victory pulls the Lightning to 59 points, just one point out of 5th place in the Conference, even though they still officially sit 10th.  The Bolts hold 2 games in hand on Boston, the Rangers and the Islanders, all of who are tied for fifth with Buffalo and Washington at 60 points.

Jere Lehtinen scored a power play goal with 2 seconds remaining in the opening period to send the Lightning and Flames to the dressing room even at 1.  Holik and Brind'Amour drew assists on Lehtinen's 13th.

The power play struck again half way through the second period after Dany Heatley had given Calgary a 2-1 lead.  Jim Vandermeer, drawing back into the line-up after being a healthy scratch for several games, scored his 2nd of the season from Friesen and Brind'Amour.

Three minutes later, Holik and Mike Knuble set up Greg Zanon's 8th of the season, giving the home team a 3-2 intermission lead.

Colin White scored for the Flames with under 3 minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime.

Friesen's 11th , from Brind'Amour and Lehtinen, came 3:05 into the extra time.

Shots were even at 35 a piece as Brodeur and Brent Johnson battled.

The Lightning travel to St. Louis then Philadelphia before returning home to take on Atlanta over the next three days.  A strong showing in thsi tough stretch could play a key role on where the Lightning finish in the standings despite having 21 games remiaing this season.

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