NHL Game Night: 10/27/10 Penguins at Lightning

When the Lightning need a good luck charm, they put St. Pete Times Forum VP of Operations Mary Milne on the TV, and game winning goals ensue.

PIT-3
TB-5

Dan Ellis stopped all 24 shots he faced after replacing Mike Smith to get the win. He was excellent controlling his rebounds, which is a new. Smitty, bless his heart, allowed 3 goals on 7 shots. He looked so good in his last start. It was surprising to see him fall off so quickly. The NHL should be scared to death of a time that will eventually come when the Lightning get some consistent goaltending.

First Period
02:51 TB Tyrell (1), Thompson (2), Kubina (3)
03:28 PIT Adams (1), Cooke (4), Orpik (1)(SH)
04:29 PIT Cooke (2), Letang (7), Adams (2)(SH)
12:15 PIT Dupuis (2), Adams (3), Crosby (6)
16:40 TB Purcell (1), Kubina (4), Ritola (1)

Second Period
08:43 TB Lecavalier (3), St Louis (7), Stamkos (8)(PP)

Third Period
06:40 TB St Louis (4), Downie (5), Stamkos (9)
19:29 TB St Louis (5), Stamkos (10)(EN)

Martin St. Louis, Dan Ellis, and Nate Thompson were the game's three stars. A lot of teams would've packed it in after giving up three unanswered goals to the Pens in the first period. Credit to Teddy Purcell for getting the Lightning back to within one. They were like a pack of hungry, wild dogs after that, seriously outchancing Pittsburgh in the final two frames.

Mattias Ritola had his first point with the Lightning, an assist, in 8:18. My initial impressions of Ritola! is that he wins the D. Affy award for being an NHLer from the opposing blueline in.

Dana Tyrell had his first NHL goal, two shots, and one blocked shot in 15:18. Here's what I liked about Dana tonight: it's human nature to relax a little after you've had some success. Dana seemed to work even harder after he got that goal, if that's possible.

Michael Vernace was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 3:23. In case your wondering, my back-of-the-envelope estimate is that Vernace made $1,567.71 for every minute he was on the ice tonight. Nice work if you can get it.

As I've been saying on the BoltProspects Message Board, my hope for the team was to get 14 points out of their first 10 games. That was an aggressive number for a team with a lot of new players and a new system, but it's the kind of start they really needed to get out of the chute well on a playoff push. They have 13 points through their first 9 games heading into Phoenix on Saturday. That's not a gimme, but they're definitely off to the kind of start they needed.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.