NHL Game Night 1/20: Lightning at Hurricanes

And the road warriors keep rolling...

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CAR-5

Marc Denis stopped 30 of 35 before stopping 4 of 4 shooters for the extra extra session win. It wasn't pretty, but with the chips down Denis got it done. Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis each had 1 goal and 2 assists in the win. YoungStar Paul Ranger added 1 goal and 1 assist and Doug Janik (AKA Secret Weapon 3) had 2 assists. Vincent Lecavalier and Filip Kuba had the Lightning's other goals with Kuba's being a smoking slap shot on the rush to tie the game with 2:54 left in regulation. Nikita Alexeev and Eric Perrin had individual helpers.

If you look up "sore losers" in the dictionary, you might spot the Carolina press corps. Denying Prospal a three stars selection on a night when he had 3 points? Ridiculous. Giving first star to a guy who had a couple of goals bounce in off of him? More so.

I wish there wasn't an All-Star Break at all, because this Lightning team is rolling like a battle hardened war machine right now. To go into Buffalo, New Jersey and now defending champion Carolina and grind out 2 points in hostile road environments should make the league take notice. The Lightning appear done messing around this season. The character of a real contender is starting to show. Now they just need Feaster to pull the trigger on one or two more trades to get them the reinforcements to put this team over the top. The Lightning now move 2 points behind Carolina for 2nd place in the division and remain 8 points back of Atlanta. Lurking. Waiting for the Smirkin' Chikins to slip. The Lightning have also opened a 4 point gap on a gaggle of teams in 8th place and are within 5 points of 4th place Montreal for a little first round home ice.

First Period
Carolina 5:32, Eric Staal 21 (power play) (Scott Walker, Andrew Hutchinson)
Tampa Bay 6:51, Vaclav Prospal 8 (Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle)
Carolina 18:23, Eric Staal 22 (Scott Walker, Anton Babchuk)

Second Period
Carolina 0:34, Ray Whitney 19 (Dennis Seidenberg, Justin Williams)
Tampa Bay 3:22, Vincent Lecavalier 30 (Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger)
Carolina 7:35, Andrew Ladd 4 (Anton Babchuk, Justin Williams)
Tampa Bay 8:06, Paul Ranger 2 (Nikita Alexeev, Eric Perrin)
Tampa Bay 12:02, Martin St. Louis 30 (Vaclav Prospal, Doug Janik)

Third Period
Carolina 9:31, Scott Walker 16 (Andrew Hutchinson, Andrew Ladd)
Tampa Bay 17:06, Filip Kuba 8 (Vaclav Prospal, Doug Janik)

Game sheet from NHL.com.

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Goaltending

Denis did about the best job I've ever seen of a goaltender that gave up 5 goals. He had little chance on any of the goals and made every stop he truly had a chance to make. The way the puck bounced tonight it looked more like the 3rd basketball game of the day in there than a hockey. I had told my wife before the game that this would likely be a strange game with the ice conditions and it sure was. I think once the boys figured out that the best strategy was to shoot as much as they could and let the bounces take care of themselves, the got themselves righted after the first. Good win tonight.

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