Slump busted, barely.
Anders Lindback allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the victory. Really only one of those goals was truly cringe-worthy. Either way, he gets the W and with the decision, he graduates from prospect status on Bolt Prospects.
00:48 FLA Matthias (3), (Weaver, Skille)
04:48 TB Pouliot (4), (Lecavalier, St. Louis)
06:51 TB Killorn (1), (Carle)
02:27 FLA Skille (2), (Matthias, Weaver)
03:42 TB Stamkos (8), (Conacher, Purcell)
19:55 FLA Smithson (1), (Kovalev)
01:53 FLA Huberdeau (6), (Shore, Strachan)
03:24 FLA Kopecky (3), (Weiss, Campbell)
07:28 TB Stamkos (9), (Purcell, St. Louis)(PP)
19:49 TB Purcell (4), (Stamkos, Thompson)
01:19 TB Pouliot (5), (Pyatt, Bergeron)
At this point of the season, against this opponent, this was 2 points the Lightning absolutely had to have. They outshot the Panthers. They outhit them. They bested them in the faceoff circles. They got the better end on special teams. And yet, still, the Lightning came within 11 seconds of dropping a must win game.
Congratulations to Alex Killorn on his first NHL goal on a pretty nice shot from the high slot. He also had 2 shots and 2 hits in 12:31.
Richard Panik had 3 hits in 7:09.
Cory Conacher had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 4 shots, and 1 hit in 15:01.
I expected more after the comeback in the Canadiens game.
Mathieu Garon allowed 4 goals on 39 shots for the loss. Far be it from me to question Guy Boucher, but at this point I'd be strapping a saddle to Anders Lindback and riding him the rest of the season.
02:40 WSH Brouwer (7), (Perrault, Backstrom)(PP)
08:23 TB St. Louis (4), (Pouliot, Lecavalier)
05:09 WSH Fehr (2), (Perrault, Ward)
02:22 WSH Fehr (3), (Perrault, Carlson)
07:29 WSH Beagle (1), (Schultz, Kundratek)
12:02 TB Purcell (3), (Stamkos)
16:47 TB Thompson (3), (St. Louis)
Nate Thompson was the game's third star.
Alex Killorn was -1 with 1 hit in 10:25.
Richard Panik was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 8:32.
Cory Conacher was -2 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 16:56.
It's a loss, but it feels like a win.
Anders Lindback allowed 3 goals on 34 shots before allowing 1 of 2 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss. He was magnificent in overtime, helping the team kill off a 4-on-3 PP. Absolutely magnificent. Here's the upshot with Anders: he still doesn't graduate from prospect status on this site until his next NHL decision. Tonight was just the second shootout in his NHL career. He's got a lot of time to gain experience and get better.
19:17 MTL Gionta (3), (Plekanec, Subban)(PP)
8:21 MTL Subban (3), (Eller)
18:54 MTL Moen (1), (Eller, Armstrong)
14:04 TB Hedman (3), (Pyatt, Pouliot)
18:17 TB Hedman (4), (Purcell, Salo)
19:16 TB Salo (1), (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)
Victor Hedman and Anders Lindback were the game's first and second stars.
As any reader of this blog should know by now, being down by 3 goals in the third period is supposed to be a death sentence in professional hockey. Unofficially, I'll bet 98% of the time you don't come back from it. That's why cutting leads to 2 goals to give yourself a chance heading into the third period is so important. So, when a team beats the long odds to overcome a 3 goal deficit to steal a point like the Lightning did tonight, it's a big deal for that team's confidence and swagger. And the way the Lightning got the game tied tonight is they made their own luck and got a couple of bounces on their last 2 goals. I expect the team to really break out of their slump in the next game feeding off their performance in the third period tonight. This was a shootout loss that feels like a win, for sure.
Alex Killorn was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal in 10:53.
Richard Panik was -1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 9:58 in his NHL debut. As with Killorn's debut in the last game, we're proud papas on the site to see Panik make it to the show.
Cory Conacher was -1 with 2 hits in 14:15.
Suddenly, the entire organization is circling the drain.
Mathiru Garon allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for the loss before being pulled for Anders Lindback who allowed 2 on 13 the rest of the way. Garon's played like hot garbage the past few starts he's had, and the third goal he allowed was horribly soft.
00:31 NYR Hagelin (2), (Nash, Girardi)
15:13 NYR Callahan (3), (unassisted)
09:58 NYR Hagelin (3), (Staal)
14:42 TB Lecavalier (5), (Hedman, Killorn)
12:22 NYR Asham (1), (McDonagh)
19:51 NYR Nash (3), (Hagelin, Girardi)
It's an embarassing, frustrating time to be a fan of the Lightning organization, as both Tampa Bay and Syracuse got shelled tonight and had to pull their goaltenders mid stream en route to being thumped. The symptoms are similar. Stupid turnovers. Uneven effort. Goaltending that can't seem to make big stops when they're needed to erase mistakes. It's hard not to feel disgusted right now.
Alex Killorn had 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes in his NHL debut. He also had 2 shots on goal in 13:17 of ice time, earning a promotion to the Lecavalier line. It was a pretty good debut after some early shifts where he looked a little wide eyed about the pace of the game. I just wish the result for the team had been better for his first game.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 1 hit in 6:45. I'm not seeing a lot of positives in his shifts. He's second to a lot of pucks, and not really landing any hits in the process.
Cory Conacher was -1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 20:03. The fact the Lightning have to play a rookie, even one as good as Conacher, 20+ minutes to try to spark offense is an awfully bad omen.
It was a bad call.
Anders Lindback allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss. He was victimized statistically by the two 5-on-3's at the end of the game. Lindback is now two decisions away from graduating from prospect status on the site.
03:28 NJD Henrique (3), (Volchenkov, Elias)
13:19 TB Thompson (2), (St. Louis)
15:02 NJD Greene (2), (Clarkson, Elias)(PP)
15:16 NJD Elias (3), (Kovalchuk, Greene)(PP)
17:45 TB Carle (2), (St. Louis, Stamkos)
It's very frustrating to have a very tight game essentially yanked out from under you the way the game tonight was by the referees. The high sticking call late in the game on Adam Hall was flat out wrong on two levels. First, Hall was in the process of trying to shoot the puck away on the PK, and last I checked the follow through when shooting a puck is specifically legislated not to be a high-sticking infraction. Second, and just as importantly, Zajac tripped Hall on the play, causing Hall to spin and fall to the ice as he was making the clearing attempt, with the stick primarily hitting Zajac's visor. Guy Boucher was absolutely right. It was a bad call. Unfortunately expressing that nugget of truth to the refs came with the price tag of the unsportsmanlike minor that made things go from bad to worse.
So the Lightning now meet adversity in the form of a 3-game losing streak smack in the middle of a tough road trip. This is where you'd hope Lindback or Garon could step up and be a streak stopper.
Cory Conacher was -1 with 1 shot in 15:10.
Still trying to figure out how to win a close, tight checking game.
Anders Lindback allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the loss.
04:25 PHI Sestito (1), (Voracek, Schenn)
09:30 TB Pouliot (3), (Purcell, Pyatt)
11:11 PHI Sestito (2), (Talbot, Fedotenko)
The Lightning have their first losing streak of the season now as they attempt to break the code on how to win a close, tight checking game. My 2 cents: the power play has to be better in games like this.
Cory Conacher had 4 shots and 1 hit in 16:35.
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for February 5 is … Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA)
The Cory Conacher Show made its debut on opening night for the Lightning this season as the rookie posted a goal and an assist in his debut. He was named our Prospect of the Week for that performance.
Now, after eight games, the show is still a hit and he’s our Prospect of the Week again.
In a close game, quality goaltending matters.
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 30 shots tonight. He looked rusty and struggled, in my opinion. Rebounds were being kicked all over the place, he had trouble following the puck, and the last two Ranger goals were not his best efforts. Even the first goal was off a favorable rebound left on the doorstep.
04:22 TB Stamkos (6), (Carle, St. Louis)(PP)
09:50 NYR Stepan (1), (Pyatt, Haggelin)
03:04 NYR Nash (2), (Richards, Staal)
14:47 NYR Haggelin (1), (Pyatt)
19:39 TB Stamkos (7), (Carle, Malone)
Steven Stamkos was the game's third star.
Would the outcome have been different with Lindback in net? Perhaps. Would the outcome have been different if the Lightning were not in a back-to-back against a fresher Rangers team? I think so. Either way, this was an early stress test of the Lightning's ability to handle a more tight checking style, and while they didn't outright fail it, there are some questions left open.
Cory Conacher was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:17.
Lambs meet slaughter.
Anders Lindback allowed 3 goals on 29 shots as the Lightning defense got too loose and allowed three cheapies in garbage time.
07:57 TB Conacher (4), (Carle, Pouliot)(PP)
14:11 TB Stamkos (5), (Purcell, Lindback)(PP)
16:55 TB Lecavalier (4), (St. Louis, Stamkos)(PP)
00:26 TB Conacher (5), (Brewer, Lecavalier)
04:43 TB Thompson (1), (Crombeen, Brewer)
05:43 TB Purcell (2), (Stamkos)
05:34 WPG Enstrom (2), (Postma, Ladd)
06:35 WPG Postma (1), (Enstrom, Little)(PP)
08:46 TB Malone (4), (Lecavalier, Conacher)
09:49 WPG Ladd (3), (Postma, Enstrom)(PP)
18:35 TB Pouliot (2), (Pyatt, Hedman)
Going in, the game was pretty simple to call. The Jets PK was in the low-60% range and the Lightning are over 30% with the man advantage. If Winnipeg got in the box, it would be a bloodbath, especially with Byfuglien out, and that's exactly what happened. Good job by the Lightning not to play down to the opposition.
Cory Conacher had 2 goals, 1 assist, and was +3 with 2 shots in 13:53. Standard Conacher line so far this year.
Part game recap, analysis and scouting report, the Day-After Digest appears after every Lightning game.
By defeating the Panthers, the Lightning extended their divisional lead to three points as Winnipeg fell in regulation to Montreal. After taking a 2-1 lead into the first period, Tampa Bay put together its best middle frame of the season, outscoring Florida 2-0 in the process, before closing out the visiting state rivals. The Panthers were visibly frustrated for much of the final twenty minutes of action and took three misconduct penalties, including a ten minute infraction on Tomas Kopecky.
Steven Stamkos opened the scoring with a power play marker shortly after the first period midpoint and Cory Conacher followed with a tally of the highlight reel variety. Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning. Lecavalier finished a beautiful passing sequence set up initially by Victor Hedman, who carried the puck into the Panthers end, banked a pass off the end boards to Cory Conacher who sent a drop-pass to a trailer, Benoit Pouliot, who wasted no time firing a cross-ice feed through a soft spot in Florida's defensive coverage to the opposite hash and directly into the Lightning captain's wheelhouse.
Despite the lopsided result and with the Lightning much more sound and consistent defensively, the Lightning were still far from flawless. The Panthers managed several breakaways, one of which they scored on, and other quality scoring chances as a result of no-look passes, poor reads and, in one instance, an Anders Lindback turnover after stopping a dump-in, holding the puck too long and attempting a last-second clear. The puck sailed right into hard-charging Peter Mueller, leaving Lindback vulnerable behind his own net and caused him to scramble back into position. The miscue ended costing Tampa Bay its early lead just fifteen seconds after earning it at the other end of the ice as Mueller was able to jam in his own rebound after trying to bank the puck in the net off of Lindback.
In his postgame remarks, Boucher wouldn't admit to being concerned about Lindback's tendency so far this season to allow a weak goal or two, stressing instead the need to "have patience" with the goalies, especially a young netminder like Lindback who is still developing.
"He's got to feel he's allowed to make mistakes," Boucher added. "We have his back because he has the players' backs very often."
Bailing out the skaters in front of him Lindback did do, delivering some key saves in the match, including a stop on a shorthanded breakaway attempt by Scottie Upshall early in the first period. On the play, Upshall went to his backhand and, with the entire bottom portion of the net taken away by a tremendously extended left leg, tried unsuccessfully to lift the puck over the Lindback's glove.
One of the other promising developments to date this season has been the return of scoring depth as it is not only the top lines but also the bottom lines that are producing. Through six games, the Lightning have nine forwards who have found the net.
Last night it was speedy wingers Tyrell and Pyatt chipping in and, while they were on the ice together, looking like a dynamic duo as they worked feverishly and threw their bodies around at both ends while leading rapid, north-south counter-rushes and continually driving the net.
Benoit Pouliot, too, was also a force as he matched a physical presence that led to several punishing checks with consistent back-checking and efficient (and sometimes flashy) puck movement be it by skating or passing it. Even accounting for an egregious turnover at mid-ice while on a power play that resulted in a shorthanded goal against, Pouliot had what was, so far, probably easily his best showing as a Bolt.
"That third line gets on and they're very difficult to stop because of their speed," Boucher said in praise of the unit. "They play deep, 200-feet hockey. They tire the other team out."