NHL Game Night: 11/24/10 Rangers at Lightning
First five game winning streak since 2007.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the win.
07:06 TB Malone (4), Stamkos (16), St Louis (20)(PP)
15:37 TB Malone (5), Stamkos (17), Purcell (10)(PP)
04:53 TB Stamkos (21), Downie (9), St Louis (21)
11:05 TB Clark (5), Downie (10), Purcell (11)(PP)
16:56 TB Hedman (1), Ritola (2), Bergenheim (6)
03:58 NYR Eminger (1), Stepan (8)
12:51 NYR Boyle (10), Staal (3), Prust (6)(SH)
18:56 NYR Stepan (5), Gaborik (6), Del Zotto (5)(PP)
Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, and Steve Downie were the game's three stars. It was forty minutes of some of the best hockey of the year, followed by twenty minutes of the team letting its foot off the gas a bit and starting to freelance a bit and play outside of the team system, especially on the power play, as they tried to get Malone his hat trick goal. They'll take the two points and learn from that third period, hopefully, and get ready for a big game against the Caps. The Lightning have maintained contact in the standings at 4 points back with a game in hand. A win against Washington really sends a message.
By the way, Malone's two power play goals and the Clark goal were Exhibit A on how teams cheating to try to take away Stamkos on the power play are just playing Russian Roulette. They left Malone in front for two easy rebound goals by cheating toward Stamkos and then left Downie wide open for a one timer up the slot on the Clark goal. And, what's funny is, Stamkos still had about three really good chances from around the left wing circle anyway. Teams are going to start weighing the risk-reward of overplaying to Stamkos' side now, and I don't think that's a gamble where the team that does it wins. He's got such a quick release there's still a decent chance he's going to get his shot off anyway, and you're surrendering the front of the net or a shot from dead center up the slot in the process. Heaven help the league when that unit gets Lecavalier back in the right wing circle, because if he can pound a few one timers home like he used to back-in-the-day, it's going to create absolute chaos in the assistant coaching community.
Mattias Ritola had an assist and was +1 with 3 shots in 8:04. He darned near had a goal on the first shift on the Lightning's last power play.
Dana Tyrell had 1 blocked shot in 13:36. It's crazy to see his stat line so blank, because he was definitely involved in tonight's play. He played well again.
Blair Jones had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 8:34. I've seen him play better. It's not for lack of effort. He just seems to be playing tight, perhaps.