NHL Game Night 2/20: Lightning at Sabres

If the Lightning had earned even half the points they've frittered away late in games this season they'd probably be winning the division right now.

TB-3
BUF-4 (OT)

The Lightning held a two goal lead with under 4 minutes in the third to play and still found a way to choke and give Tomas Vanek a hat trick in the process. Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 46 shots in the loss.

First Period
Tampa Bay 4:02, Chris Gratton 10 (Filip Kuba, Craig MacDonald)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
Tampa Bay 1:03, Brad Richards 18 (Jan Hlavac)
Buffalo 3:03, Derek Roy 22 (Jaroslav Spacek, Tim Connolly)
Tampa Bay 13:12, Vaclav Prospal 28 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Buffalo 17:39, Thomas Vanek 23 (Tim Connolly, Toni Lydman)
Buffalo 18:15, Thomas Vanek 24 (Tim Connolly, Derek Roy)

Overtime
Buffalo 2:25, Thomas Vanek 25 (power play) (Jaroslav Spacek, Jason Pominville)

Mike Lundin- 6:19 of ice time.
Doug Janik- 2:43 of ice time.

Is it really any secret why this team wilts defensively late in games? If Doug Janik is not trusted to play more than 2:43 in a game, then why the hell is he in the bigs? Seriously. If he's not traded at the deadline he should be immediately sent down to Norfolk. It would be far more logical to have Matt Smaby up with the team learning the ropes and filling a jersey than a living, breathing dead-end like Janik. And why, when the season is a bust, is a young player like Mike Lundin not getting more ice time? It might give John Tortorella and his mini-me Sullivan a heart attack to hear this, but the season is over. There's 22 more games now to help this franchise lay a foundation to have a successful 2008-2009 season, and part of laying that foundation is letting the kids play and learn in games where mistakes won't cost a playoff spot because the season is already over.

That means playing Lundin and Tarnasky more. That means giving extended recalls to guys like Smaby and Blair Jones. That means giving cups of coffee to a few guys like Justin Keller, Radek Smolenak, Mario Scalzo, Vladimir Mihalik, and Andy Rogers and actually giving them some ice time when they're up with the team.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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Amen....The team may not

Amen....The team may not have a deep talent pool to draw from as far as their youth in the minors, but it that's who you've got then it's time to give some guys a shot to see what they've got. There are some young guys down there in Norfolk with talent, so why not give them a shot, let them learn, and see what happens. Some of these guys might turn some heads and become very good NHL players. The only way to know though is to give them the operturnity. With trades looming and with the team more likely than not, not making the playoffs, here is the chance because they are the future of the franchise at the moment.

now your getting to it!

Do you really think he'll be coaching next year? Especially if we become a developing franchise? His time is up. If the new ownership is smart enough to trade Richards to keep Boyle & resign Vinny, do you really think he'll keep that fire-breathing scowler who can't judge talent? The time is coming. I wish Blair would have done better with his 49 seconds earlier in the year; he must have lost a faceoff and got benched. And you're right about the puppet. Getting Torts out will be like removing Noriega from office in Panama. I wish it would have been done earlier... things could have been different!

Pete, I think you should

Pete, I think you should write up an "editorial" regarding your thoughts about the end-of-season and playing the young-uns with call-ups, etc. Paste your blog on the front page, and let them have it. We know this site is read. It might not have any impact, but at least there will be at least one journalistic outlet calling the organization out on this craziness.

Craziness is going to happen

At the risk of sounding like an apologist...

We're going to see this over the next dozen cap years. Teams are so evenly matched one major injury will have a drastic effect on a team's playoffs hopes. Division champs one year (or within a point) and last the next. It's going to happen.

If Boyle had been here all year and potentially Ramo's ankle doesn't twist the wrong way, it's hard to see how we wouldn't be with Carolina right now and being buyers at the deadline plugging the remaining holes. Throw in injuries to Ouellet and mono for Richards and there are more at least semi-legitimate excuses.

The problem has been depth (which is a result of Cup draft years and prospects for playoffs), and to an extent, the system not being ideal for the players asked to execute it, but I don't think this is the 1990's Los Angeles Clippers.

True, there have been mistakes a plenty, and there's no explaining lack of effort.

That said, if 2004 was the year of the Lightning with the Cup and World Cup MVP and awards, etc, then this is the anti-Lightning year. It's going to happen.

In a glass-half-full world, the depth acquisitions obtained next week could be looked upon as the reason for great success in 09, 10, and/or 11.

Ramo should've never been

Ramo should've never been sent down to begin with. That move was penny wise put pound foolish.

Ramo

Yeah, Ramo wasn't ready at the begining of the season and he still isn't ready.
He makes the same mistakes each night he plays. He should be in Norflok learning how not to make those mistke night in and night out. Instead bc Denis blew, the Bolts have to rush his development.

A.) He was better than Denis

A.) He was better than Denis at the start of the season, and even in the infancy of his NHL career is already more than capable of giving this club quality starts.

B.) Had he been with the club from day one, some of the mistakes he makes would have been corrected by now as he gained experience.

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