NHL Game Night 12/12: Lightning at Maple Leafs

For some reason, I want to believe tonight's collapse is rock bottom, but the more I think about it the more aprehensive I am that the worst is yet to come.

TB-4
TOR-5

The Lightning choked away a 3-1 lead by allowing 4 unanswered goals in a 20 minute segment between the second and third periods in the loss. Johan Holmqvist stopped just 20 of 25 shots he faced in taking the L and it appears as teams start to see him the second time around, they're eating him alive. I've never seen a 6'3" goaltender play smaller than Holmqvist does, and I'm not sure if it's correctable at this stage of his career. The good news is that young prospects like Karri Ramo and Jonathan Boutin are getting better by the game in the AHL, but that's not helping the team right now.

Vincent Lecavalier, who would be a bona fide MVP candidate if the team wasn't underacheiving at 1 game under .500, had 1 goal and 2 assists in the game while his partner in crime, Martin St. Louis, had 1 goal and 1 assist. Filip Kuba and Dan Boyle each had 2 helpers while Nikita Alexeev and Brad Richards had the other Lightning goals.

At this point, you're going to hear the mighty Wurlitzer that is the Canadian hockey media start writing the Lightning's epitaph and I have no doubt the bogus trade rumors are going to start flowing hot and heavy. A lot of pressure is going to come bearing down on Feaster to make some sort of changes to right the ship and this team desperately needs a stay-at-home top four defenseman and possibly a decent natural right winger as well. It's beginning to get to the point where the points this team isn't picking up against beatable opponents like Toronto will definitely destroy their playoff chances, and I fear what the result will be if and when PS&E's bean counters decide to downsize the payroll. If these players really do value their time in Tampa and the team that has been built there over the past 7-8 years, they need to step up now because there will be irrevocable structural changes to the roster if they don't. I feel like John just introduced Yoko to the rest of the group, and this band may be on borrowed time.

First Period
Toronto 3:28, Alexei Ponikarovsky 9 (power play) (Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe)
Tampa Bay 7:32, Nikita Alexeev 9 (Vincent Lecavalier, Filip Kuba)
Tampa Bay 12:29, Vincent Lecavalier 18 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Filip Kuba)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 0:24, Brad Richards 12 (Martin St. Louis)
Toronto 12:55, Chad Kilger 5 (Darcy Tucker, Michael Peca)
Toronto 19:30, Chad Kilger 6 (Michael Peca, Pavel Kubina)

Third Period
Toronto 3:37, Darcy Tucker 18 (power play) (Mats Sundin, Kyle Wellwood)
Toronto 10:55, Jeff O'Neill 9 (Bates Battaglia, Ian White)
Tampa Bay 16:16, Martin St. Louis 18 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier, Dan Boyle)

Game sheet from NHL.com.

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Agreed

I agree with every word. This isn't the first chokejob the Bolts have had this season, and it's not the first by a big margin. If no change has come yet, if no inspired play has come from these pathetic losses, I can't see it coming at all.

It seems like the only people upset with this team right now are a few scattered groups of fans. Why isn't there any voice right now in the media calling for someone's job? Why is NOTHING being done at any level? You can bet that this sort of failure wouldn't be accepted among the media in Canada, so why is it any different here? Our expectations are to go out every season and contend for the cup (at least that's what they should be), so why is no one upset at a sub 500 record? Why is no one upset at a team that quits?

I don't think change is going to come, but if it does come, and it comes soon, this team might still have a chance, but it's looking more and more each game like they're going to continue their slow decline into the basement of the division and conference.

It's really depressing.

Right On

You're right on with your analysis...and thank you for not bringing up the officiating...

Pathetic

That is the only way to describe what is going on. It is like a lead balloon in the sky falling to the bottom of the heap. Nothing more than a 1 year wonder thanks to Andy in 04 and they could not even do the man right with the 'Chuck night' The only thing they did was chuck him to the garbage can. I sit in section 102 and believe me the games are brutal to watch. Also, for those of you wanting to attend a game lower bowl seats are available for $30 - $40 bucks outside the stadium. I've vented now let's look at solutions: Coaching change - must happen and now or forget the season. Love Torts and Rammer but they do not have the team ready and some of the personnel decisions have been awful. Goalie: For a brief second thought Homer was the answer your right he is small. Denis, each day looks more like Grahamme/Burke in disguise (pathetic) to be kind. 'D' no that means Dolly World not Defence. Solid stay at home is a must. Offense: Always when it does not matter. When you need the score it falters, think Marty on the breakaway, Sat - 2 minute 5 on 3 geez did they even get a shot on net? I will not renew the tickets for this pathetic performance and you can take that to the bank. I will purchase the hockey channel and enjoy lot's of hockey and save a bunch of bucks.

Goldenbolt

Holmqvist actually isn't

Holmqvist actually isn't small. He's listed at 6'3" which is amazing because he plays like he's 5'-10" 5'11" the way he plays so small in his net.

I think the jury is still out on Denis. I want to see what he does if/when this team gets a top four stay-at-home d-man. When Cullimore left, it put this team in the position where they had to start playing Boyle 1st pair minutes at even strength, and although the Boyle/Ranger pairing is very good at moving the puck and are servicable in their own end, neither will be confused for Scott Stevens. This team desperately needs a steady, dependable, big, physical shut down guy. I think the long term hope is that guys like Egener and Smaby will fill that hole, but in the meantime they need to find someone for right now.

I think if you can do that and find another servicable right winger to bolster your forward depth, you fix a lot of problems and make Denis' job one where he can thrive.

Denial not Denis

Management is in denial right now...I think they believe the problems will work itself out....After almost a year and half of mediocre play it is time for sweeping changes for the overall good of the Lightning organization...And if, I hear another player and coach use the word, “hopefully”, in a sentence like, “hopefully, we'll play better on Thurs night,” I am gonna puke...How about saying, “we will play better on Thurs night?”...You don’t control your destiny using words like “hopefully.”

Maybe they need

to fire Tort's and hire a real hard ass. Since the cup season Tort's has seemed to trusted them to be professionals and quit treating them like kids. They don't seem to possess the collective professionalism (that Andy enforced upon them) that they need to stay consistent. We seem to collectively possess more talent than last year and the top guns are better offensively. The defense won't stay in front of the net (which is historical for our franchise). Think about all the shot blocking we did during the cup season. That to me is the biggest thing missing.

Maybe Crisp should come back and pull another Calgary job with a more veteran group than when he was here originally. Then kick him upstairs.

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