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.
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.