NHL Game Night 12/9: Ducks at Lightning

You can't afford to spot a team like the Ducks any soft goals, and the one Denis allowed tonight cost the Lightning at least a point.

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Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 25 shots and Chris Kunitz's shot from behind the net riccocheting off Denis' left skate and in as the netminder left his post to early on a rush in the third period proved to be the Lightning's death knell. Martin St. Louis had 2 assists while goals were scored by Eric Perrin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brad Richards. Vincent Lecavalier and Paul Ranger added individual assists, but it was a sputtering power play that went 0-for-5 including a squandered long 5-on-3 power play in the third period with the Lightning chasing the tying goal that was the real story offensively. Atlanta picks up a point in the standings and now has an 11 point lead on the Lightning in the division.

First Period
Anaheim 3:07, Dustin Penner 11 (Todd Marchant, Shawn Thornton)
Tampa Bay 10:20, Eric Perrin 8 (Paul Ranger, Martin St. Louis)

Second Period
Anaheim 10:58, Dustin Penner 12 (power play) (Shawn Thornton, Francois Beauchemin)
Anaheim 12:48, Teemu Selanne 17 (Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz)
Tampa Bay 17:25, Ruslan Fedotenko 8 (Vincent Lecavalier)

Third Period
Anaheim 2:26, Chris Kunitz 16 (Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer)
Tampa Bay 10:10, Brad Richards 11 (Martin St. Louis)

The moral victory is the Lightning proved they can go toe to toe with the second best team in the NHL and certainly hold their own. But moral victories don't count in the standings and the brutal December schedule rolls on as this Lightning team is still trying to hit its stride.

Game sheet from NHL.com.

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Powerplay

If they don't get this Powerplay going sometime soon, it could really kill them down the line.

It was a really good effort again tonight, but when a team like the Ducks spots you 2 men, down one goal, and under 10 minutes left, you can't afford not to take advantage. That one Powerplay goal could have possibly meant a point against the second best team in the league, after picking up 2 in crushing their division leader.

They've improved their full 60 minute efforts, and their ability to score goals, especially with Fedotenko and Richards getting back into the mix, but as long as they keep going 0/5 and 0/6 in games, they're going to have a lot of trouble. You need to be able to make teams afraid to take penalties so you can open up the ice. Not one team in the league would be afraid of this PP, and tonight was a good example of that.

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