NHL Game Night: 12/28/10 Bruins at Lightning

It's the annual Bruins/Lightning hosing at the hands of a referee or video goal judge.

BOS-4
TB-3

Dan Ellis allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss.

First Period
00:28 BOS Ryder (11), Recchi (14), Seidenberg (11)(PP)
07:10 TB Stamkos (29), Clark (10), Malone (19)(PP)

Second Period
03:27 BOS Kampfer (1), Savard (3), Horton (13)
14:02 TB Lecavalier (7), Bergenheim (9), Kubina (10)

Third Period
03:00 BOS Marchand (5), Thornton (2), Campbell (6)
10:50 TB St Louis (15), Stamkos (23), Kubina (11)
19:40 BOS Recchi (7), Bergeron (15), Seidenberg (12)(PP)

Vincent Lecavalier was the game's second star. He made a brilliant play to almost set up a goal by Pavel Kubina in the first period and an equally brilliant goal to score Tampa Bay's second goal, but I'd be hard pressed to give him a star nod after losing the faceoff cleanly on Boston's third goal. Details matter, and the Lightning stunk in the faceoff circle in the defensive third in the final frame. I counted three clean faceoff losses in the period. You can't survive on a diet of that. All that aside, offensively, I haven't seen Vinny look this good since he was running and gunning for a Richard Trophy. I think you're going to see a lot of this in the second half of the season: Stamkos drawing the attention while Vinny racks up a lot of goals because he's flying under the radar. Gagne too.

I'm not typically big on complaining about the officials. For the most part, things even out in the course of an NHL game. However, once or twice a season a team gets the shaft, and the Lightning always seem to get theirs against the Bruins. I'm still not over Zdeno Chara batting in a puck at his eye level and a video goal judge still saying it should count a few years back, and tonight was a call that was almost as terrible that I'm not going to get over for a long time. There is NO WAY IN HELL Steven Stamkos' hit late in tonight's game was a penalty. Let me reiterate that, NO WAY IN HELL! That was a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit by two players going for a puck in the corner. The player being hit was not in a defenseless position. Stamkos did not hit him in the back or slew foot him, or any of the other dangerous plays that should get you wrung up for boarding. No, Steven Stamkos got two minutes for being the stronger hockey player.

Shame. Shame on the officials. I remember a day when NHL referees would never make a borderline call like that late in a game and potentially rob a team of a point. But, in the post-lockout Gary Bettman world, they get rewarded for affecting the outcome of games, because that somehow equals excitement when you artifically put teams under duress (as opposed to hard, clean hits which in Bettman World aren't entertaining at all, because as we all know we all buy tickets to see the zebras and not the players). They get encouraged to do it, and they get encouraged for giving out penalties for good, hard, clean hits. Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania is complaining about the wussification of America with the football game being snowed out in Philadelphia. Well, I'm officially complaining about the wussification of the NHL when Steven Stamkos (not exactly Steve Avery) gets the gate in the last two minutes of a tied hockey game on a good, clean, hard hit. The referees tonight crossed a pretty bright line with that call. I hope the Lightning send the tape into the league and I hope the refs get reprimanded for what they did. Unfortunately, I would put it past Bettman to give them a bonus for it ("I just picked my All-Star Game crew!"). It was a total joke.

I'm pissed, in case you couldn't tell.

Mattias Ritola had 1 shot in 8:34 tonight. He did some good things tonight offensively. It was one of his better games in a while.

Dana Tyrell was -1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:26.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.