NHL Game Night 12/22: Hurricanes at Lightning

Just a terrible third period as the Lightning waste a quality start by the kid.


Karri Ramo stopped 33 of 35 shots faced in the loss.

First Period
Tampa Bay 0:23, Martin St. Louis 13 (Brad Richards, Shane O'Brien)
Carolina 18:04, Andrew Ladd 3 (Matt Cullen, Brandon Nolan)

Secnd Period

Third Period
Carolina 9:31, Ray Whitney 17 (Cory Stillman, Frantisek Kaberle)
Carolina 19:00, Ray Whitney 18 (empty net) (Scott Walker)
Carolina 19:57, Eric Staal 17 (empty net) (Ray Whitney, Bret Hedican)

I don't get it. This club finally gets some quality goaltending and all of a sudden the goal support goes in the toilet. That third period was painful to watch as the team completely lacked jump. The big money players need to step up and lead in that situation, and they did precious little. I'm seeing too much reaching, hoping, and praying and not enough moving feet and getting in position to make plays. Some of that may be attributable to the amount of ice time the top guys are lugging, in which case I have to question the coaching staff for some of their decisions as far as the ice time goes.

As for Ramo, I thought he played better tonight than he did against Toronto and deserved better than the result he got. He's still struggling with his rebound control and had some moments where he got lucky (Carolina hit 1 post and 2 crossbars by my count), but he looked a more comfortable tonight and was strong, confident, and out above his crease challenging shooters which is something he wasn't doing against the Leafs. Lightning fans also got to see another part of the Ramo arsenal tonight as he was very active with the poke check and with handling the puck including a nice clear on the PK in the second period. So far, so good as far as he's concerned. I'm interested to see how he handles a road start. I'm also interested to see him actually get some goal support so he can play with a decent lead for once.

I like Jan Hlavac. That said, I'd have buried him under the bench for the stupid offensive zone penalty he took that led to Whitney's game winning sixth attacker goal. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Mercy that was idiotic, and it might've cost the Lightning a point (or two if it got to a shootout) as Ramo looked like he might just be able steal it despite the team's poor third period play.

Mathieu Darche was -2 in 19:44 with 1 shot and 3 hits. He also had a goal waived off for kicking in a Cam Ward rebound.

Mike Lundin played 10:23 with 2 blocked shots.

Jay Leach was -1 in 2:48 of ice time.

Blair Jones had 2 shifts in the first period of 48 seconds and was never seen again. I have to say, I'm dismayed by the way he's been used so far by John Tortorella. I don't see why he doesn't deserve to, at the very least, get the 4 to 5 minutes of fourth line ice time that is customary for a Torts coached team. I get why Chris Gratton, who can't keep himself out of the box to save his life, is in Torts' doghouse. Jones hasn't done anything to merit the complete lack of faith the coaching staff has shown in him though. I feared when he was recalled that Torts might still look at him as the same wet behind the ears rookie pro who was forced into the lineup for 20 games and had no clue what he was doing at didn't deserve an NHL game check. He's a different player this year though, and I feel if Torts game Jones a chance he might be surprised how much the young man's game has improved. Maybe I'm asking too much though considering he only just now has rediscovered Nick Tarnasky's utility as a checking liner.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.