Clinical, workmanlike victory.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 1 goal on 34 shots for the win. As badly unfocused as he was in Winnipeg, he was equally outstanding tonight. Very sharp. Moved very well. Probably should have had a shutout except for the sloppy, penalty-filled, choppy ending to the game.
TB Lecavalier (7), (unassisted), 8:38
TB Connolly (4), (Moore, Bergeron)(PP), 4:08
TB Downie (2), (Brewer, Stamkos)(PP), 2:04
TB Lecavalier (8), (unassisted)(EN), 15:49
PIT Kennedy (2), (Martin, Staal), 16:49
34-18 still isn't a good shot disparity for the Lightning, and they definitely were outplayed in the first period, but this team gets the timely goal and save at home, and they've gotten the exact opposite on the road. It's a mystery as to why that is.
Brett Connolly had another goal and was -1 with 1 shot in 6:08. He was dropped to the fourth line to start the game and played sparingly, but was obviously effective in a smattering of power play shifts.
Blair Jones played 4:25. That's over $1,200 a minute for his night's work. I want Blair Jones' hourly rate, please. I'm sure the assistants run him through the gauntlet as a bubble guy when he's a scratch, and he's logged a lot of miles on buses with Springfield and Norfolk to get here, but still, it's nice work if you can get it.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the loss before giving way to Mathieu Garon, who allowed 1 on 17 shots. Roloson got sidetracked with doing a little acting trying to embellish contact around his crease, which he is wont to do, and lost focus, in my opinion. At the point this team is at, extracurriculars like that can't be put before fundamentals. Can't be.
WPG Kane (6), (Byfuglien, Burmistrov), 4:51
WPG Byfuglien (3), (Kane), 13:02
WPG Flood (3), (Stapleton, Little)(PP), 7:49
TB St. Louis (4), (Stamkos, Lecavalier), 10:47
WPG Ladd (5), (Oduya, Stapleton), 12:14
WPG Stapleton (2), (Glass), 10:04
TB Stamkos (11), (Gilroy), 10:26
Steven Stamkos was second star. Small solace.
That's a team that the Lightning haven't lost to in 2 years. 12 straight games. And they got rolled. Now you're hearing accusations that there are passengers on the team, people are questioning the goaltender, and Boucher just can't seem to get any of his mind tricks to work. At some point, when coaching fails, the GM has to make a move on the roster, and if there are passengers, there need to be consequences. No one is entitled to dress and play in the NHL or pull an NHL game check. These last 2 games have been utterly embarrassing after the triumph of the Flyers win.
Brett Connolly was -2 with 2 shots in 14:43.
Simultaneously frustrating and embarrassing.
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the loss.
STL Russell (3), (Grachev, Polak), 18:51
STL Shattenkirk (2), (Steen, Langenbrunner), 19:54
STL Oshie (5), (Backes)(SH), 6:26
Yuck. The Lightning only managed 18 shots on goal because they didn't have the puck all game long. There was no forecheck and no flow. The passing was off. They had no jump. That was really hard to watch. They just got whipped tonight. That was textbook.
Brett Connolly was -1 with 3 shots in 12:50.
Blair Jones was -1 with 2 hits in 6:46. We've always been big boosters of Blair on this site, but at some point he needs to be a little more than just a plumber. He's got something to give offensively, but it hasn't shown in the past few games. At all.
Can you imagine how good this team would be if they'd play 60 minutes?
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 12 shots before being lifted for Dwayne Roloson. Roloson bailed him out stopping all 28 shots he faced and all 4 shooters in the penalty shot session for the shootout win.
FLA Campbell (1), (Versteeg, Fleischmann)(PP), 1:49
FLA Kopecky (2), (Skille, Weaver), 13:05
FLA Santorelli (1), (Kulikov), 15:21
TB Malone (4), (Stamkos, Brewer)(PP), 16:20
TB Stamkos (10), (Gilroy, St. Louis), 17:46
TB Purcell (5), (Downie, Brewer), 8:11
Roloson, Steven Stamkos, and Teddy Purcell were the game's three stars.
My three stars would've included Steve Downie, who had the tying goal Kontos'ed from him by Teddy Purcell, and Matt Gilroy, who swooped into the zone late in the second period and then dished the perfect saucer to Stamkos to get the deficit down to 1 goal heading into the final frame.
For those who like to complain about Victor Hedman, I'll refer you to that first period as an example of why you should appreciate the young man. It took 20 minutes for the Lightning to adjust to playing without their bell cow on the backline.
I wish this team would figure out how to play a full 60 minute game. This 30-40 minutes of effort schtick is not going to keep getting them W's. The flat first periods have to stop.
Brett Connolly had 2 shots and 2 hits in 13:37. He showed really good speed cranking up a 3/4 ice rush that ended up in a wraparound attempt in the third period. It'll be interesting to see that part of his game develop where he carries it more.
Blair Jones had 1 hit in 6:41. He's like an awful cacophony of legs and arms that couldn't avoid hitting you on the forecheck if he tried.
Big win. Big, big win.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the victory. The stat line isn't a beauty, but his first period was superlative to give the Lightning a chance.
TB Stamkos (7), (Malone, Bergeron), 0:15
CHI Sharp (4), (Toews, Kane)(PP), 1:05
TB Connolly (2), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 4:55
CHI Hossa (7), (Kane, Montador), 6:17
CHI Carcillo (1), (unassisted), 7:10
CHI Sharp (5), (Kane, Hossa), 7:22
TB Stamkos (8), (Purcell), 11:45
TB Stamkos (9), (St. Louis, Malone)(PP), 19:27
TB Lecavalier (6), (St. Louis, Bergeron), 4:06
What a roller coaster. Chicago should be considered a legitimate contender to come out of the West this year, and they looked like they totally outclassed the Lightning in the first period in terms of speed and puck possession. It was a bit of a clinic, with the saving grace being Dwayne Roloson's play.
The Lightning started to take some baby steps in the second period, getting a couple of 1 goal leads, but then you had some mistakes, particularly a M.A. Bergeron turnover at the point that led to Daniel Carcillo's breakaway goal. 3 goals very quickly by Chicago and the Lightning looked like dead meat. Then Steven Stamkos reminded the NHL why he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Crosby and Ovechkin. He bodied a defender to force a turnover that led to his second goal, and then Marty St. Louis made a magical read and pass to set Stammer for an easy one-timer goal for the hat trick. Stammer was absolutely dominant in the third period, too, and could've had 6-7 goals with a little luck. Amazing. The Hawks should be glad he got drafted by an Eastern Conference team because he absolutely owns Chicago when he plays them.
It was a strong third period on the forecheck for the Lightning, with just a few scary moments against Chicago's top line. And then, in overtime, M.A. Bergeron redeemed himself with a great play to steal the puck in the offensive zone, roll over his wrists on a tough pass that Marty St. Louis made a great pick on, and then the easy 2 on 1 conversion down low by Lecavalier. That play was like stealing.
The game, as a whole, is not something you want to do every night. The defensive sloppiness and a 3 quick goal scenario is something that can't keep happening. But, when you have your best player show how dominant he can be and when you defeat a team that is a legitimate Cup contender, that works wonders for a team's confidence. It certainly feels better than sitting at .500 after getting fed their helmets by the Canes.
Brett Connolly had a goal and 2 penalty minutes with 2 shots in 13:37.