Payback. Revenge. Gettin' even.
Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the win.
TB 7:20, Stamkos 8 (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)
TB 4:34, Fedoruk 2 (Hale, Downie)
TB 14:48, Malone 8 (Hale, Tanguay)
TB 7:09, Stamkos 9 (Lecavalier, Malone)(PP)
TB 9:29, Tanguay 1 (Malone, Stamkos)
OTT 10:17, Ruutu 4 (Kelly, Donovan)
OTT 14:19, Kovalev 4 (Alfredsson, Lee)
For the Lightning to crush Ottawa a little over a week after the Senators absolutely embarassed the Lightning 7-1 is a tremendous psychological victory, and the fact they physically outcompeted Ottawa right to the final whistle makes the win that much powerful. A game like this gives the Lightning big mo'. And Alex Tanguay breaks the snide in his first night on the Stamkos line. Beautiful. And, if the early verdict is true and this line continues to be productive, that frees Marty St. Louis up to stay on Vincent Lecavalier's line, and you know eventually those two will click together.
Steve Downie had an assist and was +1 with 7 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 12:04. He was strong on the puck. He was agitating as could be. He even beat up a bigger man in Jarkko Ruutu. Simply put, it might have been Downie's best game in a Lightning uniform (I'll overlook that first period turnover ten feet inside the Ottawa blueline). I wonder if he might get another shot in Wright's spot on Lecavalier and St. Louis' line at some point.
Drew Miller was -1 in 11:47. It's bizarre how clean his stat lines are.
Zenon Konopka was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 8:55. His stat lines tend to be the antithesis of Miller's. He was also 63% on draws.
James Wright was -2 in 10:07. Congratulations on sticking with the team, kiddo.
Victor Hedman had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 23:53. My current wishes for Hedman: work on keeping the puck in at the point on the PP, and I would like to see the Lightning encourage Hedman to shoot more on the PP. The man possesses a howitzer, but he's been deferring to the vets. Opposing PK's are adjusting to that. Hedman needs to stop being strictly a pass-first player.
That's another point the Lightning left out on the ice this year.
Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 32 shots, but one of those was a softie with time running out that cost the Lightning a point in the standings. After demolishing a water bottle, Smith stopped the 1 shot he faced in overtime and stopped 5 of 6 he faced in the shootout, but the damage was already done.
TB 19:59, Lecavalier 1 (Wright, St. Louis)
BUF 19:14, Grier 3 (Kennedy)
TB 4:26, Stamkos 7 (unassisted)
BUF 19:43, Stafford 3 (Roy, Rivet)
The Lightning are sitting at 3-3-3 for their record right now, but if they had actually finished off this game and the one against New Jersey they could easily be 5-3-1. The thing is, they dominated this game for much of the contest. It shouldn't have been a one goal game at the end of regulation anyway. And you can't blame Smitty for what happened in the shootout tonight. I can't fathom how Lecavalier, Stamkos, St. Louis, and Tanguay all failed in the shootout. That's uncanny, and frustrating.
Steve Downie had 1 hit in 10:43.
Drew Miller was -1 with 1 shot in 12:08.
Zenon Konopka had 2 hits and was 86% on draws in 7:34.
James Wright had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 3 blocked shots in 17:05. He's spent considerably less time on the deck the past two games than he did in the previous seven. Now it's decision time for the Lightning, but it seems obvious they'll keep Wright in Tampa rather than sending him back to junior. The key will be for the team to get him on the same in-season weight training program Stamkos was on last season so he doesn't burn out around the midway point of the year.
Victor Hedman had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 28:19. I thought he was off tonight. As good as he was against San Jose, he played a little too soft for my taste tonight and his giveaway obviously led to Buffalo's opening goal. Of course, had he hit the top corner on his chance in overtime, I might not be typing this at all.
The Lightning get right... very right.
Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the win. Smitty has fully rebounded from his terrible outing against Ottawa.
TB 0:30, Wright 1 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)
TB 15:01, Malone 7 (Hale, Downie)
SJ 12:34, Vesce 3 (Huskins, Demers)
TB 16:39, Stamkos 5 (unassisted)
TB 2:54, Meszaros 2 (Fedoruk, Veilleux)
SJ 13:41, Boyle 2 (Thornton, Marleau)(PP)
TB 19:41, Stamkos 6 (Tanguay)(EN)
The Lightning finally got the first goal of a game for the first time of the season and they defeated a San Jose team that absolutely dismantled the Rangers within the last week. Short of Lecavalier and/or Tanguay getting their first goals of the season, this game resolved many of the problems the Lightning were having after getting pasted twice against the Senators and Penguins.
Steve Downie had an assist and was +1 in 13:35 in his debut on the Stamkos line. This might be a better fit for Downie with Stammer being a pure, shoot-first player and Downie being allowed to play more the playmaking role he's comfortable with.
Drew Miller had 1 shot in 14:05.
Zenon Konopka was +1 with 2 hits on 9:45.
James Wright, the funoodle, had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 15:18.
Victor Hedman was +2 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 24:03. That was maybe his best defensive game thus far of the season.
Lightning spend half a game on the PK.
Antero Niittymaki allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for his first loss.
PIT 4:57, Guerin 3 (Malkin, Goligoski)(PP)
PIT 17:10, Gonchar 2 (Orpik, Crosby)
TB 6:18, Stamkos 4 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
PIT 8:15, Dupuis 1 (Gonchar, Fedotenko)
PIT 11:21, Rupp 2 (Crosby)
Steve Downie was -1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 14:47.
Drew Miller had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 10:36.
Zenon Konopka was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 6:42.
James Wright had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:00.
Victor Hedman was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 23:15.
One of the worst games I've ever seen the Lightning play.
Mike Smith allowed 7 goals on 35 shots including two very soft goals. Wonder if Rick Tocchet regrets not playing Nittymaki, not that it would've mattered all that much.
OTT 4:25, Kovalev 2 (Alfredsson)
OTT 10:22, Michalek 2 (Ruutu)(SH)
OTT 5:41, Michalek 3 (Alfredsson, Volchenkov)(SH)
OTT 6:15, Picard 1 (Ruutu, Kelly)
OTT 10:59, Foligno 1 (Phillips, Volchenkov)
TB 14:26, Malone 6 (St. Louis, Stamkos)
OTT 11:39, Michalek 4 (Spezza, Alfredsson)(PP)
OTT 17:01, Ruutu 2 (Kelly, Karlsson)
The Lightning were outshot 35-17 in the game. They dominated the first 4 minutes of the game, then one bad clear ended up in the back of their net, and they crumbled. It was a lot like the opener against Atlanta.
Steve Downie was -1 with 11 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 12:10. His line were the only three members of the Lightning that showed fight tonight.
Drew Miller had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 15:36.
Zenon Konopka was -1 with 17 penalty minutes in 8:30.
James Wright had 1 hit in 14:58.
Victor Hedman was -2 with 1 shot in 20:52. He drew iron on the backhand on one rush, but that was the extent of the good news for Victor.
Niitty thieves two points from PantherNation.
Antero Niittymaki had a world beating 31 saves on 33 shots, including several breakaways and other outstanding post to post saves. He even had an assist. The book on Nitty is that he's a streaky goaltender, and when he's hot like this you ride him 'til the wheels fall off. I doubt we see Smitty next time out.
FLA 8:10, Dvorak 1 (Kreps)(SH)
TB 18:32, Stamkos 3 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
FLA 6:33, Horton 1 (Weiss, Kulikov)(PP)
TB 7:17, St. Louis 3 (Lecavalier, Hedman)(PP)
TB 13:29, Malone 5 (Stamkos, Niittymaki)
The Lightning, frankly, played their worst hockey since the Atlanta game. The difference was that they got great goaltending and they were a little bit tighter in the neutral zone than they were against the Thrashers. Good teams find a way to win when they don't play their best hockey. That said, the Lightning ought not make a steady diet of giving up breakaways at key junctures of games.
Steve Downie had 3 shots and 3 hits in 12:37 and keeps drawing penalties from the opposition right and left.
Drew Miller had 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:38.
Zenon Konopka had 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:34 as the fourth line's ice time crept up by about four minutes in this game. They are fun to watch.
James Wright had 1 shot in 11:26.
Victor Hedman rebounded from an earlier shorthanded giveaway that ended up in the back of his net to have an assist, 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 24:30. The hilarious thing is that 24:30 seems like a light night for Hedman in the ice time department.
The Lightning victimized by bad fortune despite playing an excellent game.
Mike Smith stopped 31 of 34 before going 0 for 2 in the shootout session for the shootout loss. He can't seem to stop much in the shootout, and the Lightning skaters can't seem to score in the shootout to save their lives.
NJ 4:46, Parise 1 (Zajac, Martin)(PP)
TB 9:49, Stamkos 1 (St. Louis, Hedman)
NJ 18:09, Pandolfo 1 (Clarkson, Niedermayer)
TB 1:52, Stamkos 2 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
TB 5:41, Fedoruk 1 (Hedman, Ohlund)
NJ 19:59, Zajac 2 (Rolston, Parise)
NJ- Parise, Langenbruner
The Lightning played fairly passive hockey for the first 22 minutes but really turned it on and played some dynamite hockey for most of the last two periods, eventually outshooting New Jersey 44-34. But, one or two little details like a bad clear by Paul Ranger and the Lightning ended up getting robbed of a second point. It's demoralizing. This is where the team's veteran leadership needs to stand up and hold it all together.
Steve Downie was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:16. On balance, I thought he was great, particularly on a shift late in the third period where Konopka almost got a key insurance goal.
Drew Miller had 3 shots and 3 blocked shots in 17:04. His best game in a Lightning uniform.
Zenon Konopka was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot and was 71% on draws. Konopka's becoming a guilty pleasure for me.
James Wright had 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 12:37. I love his effort, positioning, and skating. I love that he sticks his nose in. But, if you breath on him, he goes down. He's just not strong enough to really compete at this level.
Victor Hedman = MANchild. He had 2 assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots in 26:38. His offensive instincts were grossly underrated by the pundits. His ability to see the ice is just fantastic. He got the Lightning the go-ahead goal on a brilliant rush with speed and then an even more brilliant cross-ice pass to Fedoruk. Breathtaking. Some people were saying he'd top out at 40-45 points a season. Those figures need to be revised. He looks more like a 55-60 point a year guy once he gets a little more seasoning. Between Hedman and Stamkos, the Lightning are in ridiculously good shape for the future.
Good road point. God I hate shootouts.
Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 28 shots before giving up 2 of 3 in the shootout for the shootout loss.
CAR 13:12, Jokinen 1 (Pitkanen, Ward)(PP)
TB 6:00, Malone 1 (Stamkos, St. Louis)(PP)
CAR- Samsonov, Ruutu
There were a lot of things to be happy about with this game. They were much tighter defensively and had a much more even effort throughout the game. This was supposed to be a "hornet's nest" the Lightning were walking into and they managed to carry the play 5-on-5, for the most part. My only nitpick remains the Lightning's play in the physical game. They got outhit 42-25 tonight by Carolina. That can't be what Rick Tocchet has in mind. I want to see guys like Vincent Lecavalier, Andrej Meszaros, and Paul Ranger start to take the body a little more.
We'll have to see what becomes of Matias Ohlund's injury that took him off the ice in the third period.
Steve Downie had 2 shots and 3 hits in 12:17.
Drew Miller had 2 shots and 2 hits in 17:32.
Zenon Konopka had 5 penalty minutes and 3 hits in 3:23. That's efficiency.
James Wright had 1 shot and 2 hits in 13:25.
Victor Hedman had 2 penalty minutes and 2 blocked shots in a team high 24:16.
Thankfully, tonight was just 1 of 82.
Mike Smith allowed 6 goals on 28 shots for the loss. That's not the start to the season you want from your number one goaltender.
ATL 8:20, Kovalchuk 1 (Little, Kubina)
ATL 11:23, Salmela 1 (Boulton, Thorburn)
ATL 9:01, Bogosian 1 (Peverley, Enstrom)
ATL 12:42, Peverley 1 (Kane)
TB 14:01, St. Louis 1 (Hedman, Ohlund)
TB 19:15, St. Louis 2 (Stamkos, Tanguay)(PP)
TB 2:11, Meszaros 1 (Walker, Lecavalier)
ATL 11:52, Peverley 2 (Kovalchuk, Afinogenov)
ATL 13:15, Kovalchuk 2 (Little, Enstrom)
The Lightning actually outshot the Thrashers 39-28 in the contest.
It was just an uneven effort from the Lightning. At times they looked fantastic, and the Tanguay line in particular looked magical in terms of puck possession, but it seemed like a couple of bad bounces and the team just did not respond. They couldn't manage much puck possession for about a 10 minute span between the first and second periods. It shouldn't be 4-0 before you start to respond to adversity. I applaud the battle level to get back to 4-3, but it was too little too late.
Kurtis Foster disintegrated on his first shift. Yeah, he was the second defenseman I took on my fantasy team. Guess how happy I am? In general, I thought the Lightning were very loose in the neutral zone and they allowed the Thrashers too much speed through the neutral zone, and the defense struggled with it. The backcheck from the forwards needs to get stronger, and I'd like to see Matt Smaby get in there to throw a few hits at the blueline to try and slow the rush down. Hedman had a couple of plays where he had guys lined up well to slow them down at the blueline, but he doesn't have the killer instinct Smaby has. The Lightning actually outhit the Thrashers 21-10, but overall it seemed like a very soft effort by a Lightning team that had its best successes last season when it raised the intensity level and took the body. Andrej Meszaros, in particular, is a guy who is a far better player when he ups his battle level. Ditto Paul Ranger. Ryan Malone had as many hits as the defensive corps combined tonight. That's great for Ryan but unacceptable for those defensemen if they're serious about taking the next step. More intensity please.
Steve Downie had 2 hits in 14:39. He had some good moments. He started on the Lecavalier line and had a couple of chances early and buried Evander Kane on a hit in the first half of the game, too. He made a handful of decent backchecking plays, also. But, by the third period, he was off the Lecavalier line and down on the checking lines. We'll see how this develops.
Drew Miller was scoreless in 12:59.
Zenon Konopka was -1 with 7 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 6:17. He had a great fight once the Lightning fell behind 4-0 that seemed to wake the Lightning up from their sleepwalking. He contributed something tonight, which is important.
James Wright had 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:53. That third line with Halpern and Miller just didn't seem to do much, even though they were out at key junctures in the game. It's not the kid's fault, but that line in general needs to contribute more.
Victor Hedman got his first NHL assist, but was -2 with 5 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in a team high 26:27. He looked good jumping into the play, and was fairly strong positionally. It was a good debut, despite the minuses.
That, boys and girls, is what a clinic looks like.
Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the win.
TB 12:11, Konopka 1 (Ranger)
TB 13:08, Stamkos 1 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
TB 2:23, St. Louis 1 (Stamkos, Lecavalier)(PP)
ATL 5:40, Thorburn 1 (Salmela, Slater)
TB 7:08, Ohlund 1 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)
TB 12:20, Stamkos 2 (Malone, St. Louis) (PP)
If that was a preview of the regular season, then I'd say that's a pretty resounding statement the Lightning just issued. The Lightning had 3 power play goals and were 3/7 overall with the man advantage. There's no reason for this club not to be top-10 in the league with the man advantage, and it's hard to miss the playoffs when you're that good with the extra man.
Paul Ranger's shoulder must feel ok after playing a team high 22:19. Pretty fascinating ice time distribution in this game among the defensemen with only Ranger going over 20 minutes.
Final cuts are due by Wednesday. Tuesday at noon would be the deadline for the Lightning to place any eligible player who needs to go through waivers on the wire before sending them down to Norfolk.
Steve Downie was -1 with 6 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 10:31.
Drew Miller was scoreless in 13:39.
Zenon Konopka had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots on goal in 11:37.
James Wright had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 13:32.
Victor Hedman was +1 with 2 blocked shots in 19:49.