Miller, Drew

NHL Game Night: 10/22 Sharks at Lightning

The Lightning get right... very right.

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Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the win. Smitty has fully rebounded from his terrible outing against Ottawa.

First Period
TB 0:30, Wright 1 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)
TB 15:01, Malone 7 (Hale, Downie)

Second Period
SJ 12:34, Vesce 3 (Huskins, Demers)
TB 16:39, Stamkos 5 (unassisted)

Third Period
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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/17 Lightning at Penguins

Lightning spend half a game on the PK.

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Antero Niittymaki allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for his first loss.

First Period
PIT 4:57, Guerin 3 (Malkin, Goligoski)(PP)
PIT 17:10, Gonchar 2 (Orpik, Crosby)

Second Period
TB 6:18, Stamkos 4 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
PIT 8:15, Dupuis 1 (Gonchar, Fedotenko)

Third Period
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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/15 Lightning at Senators

One of the worst games I've ever seen the Lightning play.

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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.

First Period
OTT 4:25, Kovalev 2 (Alfredsson)
OTT 10:22, Michalek 2 (Ruutu)(SH)

Second Period
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)

Third Period
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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/12 Panthers at Lightning

Niitty thieves two points from PantherNation.

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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.

First Period
FLA 8:10, Dvorak 1 (Kreps)(SH)
TB 18:32, Stamkos 3 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)

Second Period
FLA 6:33, Horton 1 (Weiss, Kulikov)(PP)

Third Period
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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/8 Devils at Lightning

The Lightning victimized by bad fortune despite playing an excellent game.

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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.

First Period
NJ 4:46, Parise 1 (Zajac, Martin)(PP)

Second Period
TB 9:49, Stamkos 1 (St. Louis, Hedman)
NJ 18:09, Pandolfo 1 (Clarkson, Niedermayer)

Third Period
TB 1:52, Stamkos 2 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
TB 5:41, Fedoruk 1 (Hedman, Ohlund)
NJ 19:59, Zajac 2 (Rolston, Parise)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
NJ- Parise, Langenbruner
TB- NONE

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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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