NHL Game Night 3/15: Rangers at Lightning

The Lightning suffer another crippling defeat in the Steve Stamkos derby tonight.

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Mike Smith stopped all 20 shots he faced tonight for his first shutout in a Lightning uniform.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
Tampa Bay 19:13, Alexandre Picard 2 (Jeff Halpern, Mathieu Darche)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 6:40, Martin St. Louis 23 (power play) (Jussi Jokinen, Dan Boyle)
Tampa Bay 19:02, Michel Ouellet 15 (empty net) (Mike Smith)

If you find these young goaltenders the goal support, I'm telling you, they'll make it stand up. This team is not that far away from turning this thing around. Heck, Smith even got an assist on the empty netter tonight to put the icing on the cake.

Tonight's game winning goal belonged to Alexandre Picard who now has 2 goals and 4 points in 10 games since joining the Lightning. That pro-rates to a 30+ point season over 82 games. Whoever scouted this young man with the Phantoms, and I kind of assume it was Bill Barber, deserves a steak dinner. This young man's been a bit of a revelation since coming over in the Prospal trade. He had 18:30 in ice time tonight, and is looking like a lock to be the team's #5 or #6 defenseman next season. Heaven help the NHL when he gains that extra 5-10 pounds of muscle and gets a little sturdier on those Bambi legs. "Make it so, Number Two."

Box score and extended statistics from TheAHL.com.

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The newcomers, with the

The newcomers, with the exception of Jokinen have been terrific. Smith looks to be a solid choice in net now and in the future, ya can't say enough about Halpern he's been great, and Picard has really impressed me as well. He been in there bangin, making solid plays, and chipping in offensively here and there. That was great tonight when Smith turned the puck over to what would've been an empty net, then you see Picard come sliding through and blocked a sure goal...awesome. If the team can draft well and bring in some players in the offseason, it could be a very quick turn around. Sure, this season is a loss but it's great to see positives for the future coming out of it. Haha...I agree though, they gotta not do as well as they are though because we do want the best chance we can get so that we get that top pick and bring in Stamkos. Hey, the lower the picks all around the better this year with as deep a draft as they say it is. Regardless, there are some bright spots in a less than favorable season. Next year is a new year and I think this will be a better team, at least we all hope so.

Isnt winning the most important thing?

If the Bolts are winning, who cares what draft pick they get. I hate reading after every game that they(Bolts) are losing out on Stamkos. The kid is only 18 barely 6' and isn't even leading his respective league in scoring. I really don't know all that much about him, other than what i've read, very dynamic skater and scorer. If the Bolts were to get him, everybody would want him to start right away, and that just doesnt happen very much, with success. Like I said, I would rather the Bolts keep winning than to root for them to get the first pick. And don't forget the NHL is a lottery for the top pick. Even if they had the worst record that doesn't ensure them of the #1 pick. Let's also not forget about some guys we already have, who are lighting it up, and deserve a shot before some guy we draft. I dont know if the Bolts plan on keeping Mitch Fadden at Center, but he's on fire and is well deserving of a entry level contract next year and at the least be given a shot at making the club. Personally, I'd rather the Bolts have like the 5-8 pick and grab Kyle Beach.... Let Beach (who is scappy and an agitator, ala Halpern in his younger years) learn from Halpern and Gratton(if he's here next season).

to see draft history ...http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=7323&hubname=

Only 5 teams since 1995 have had the worst record and won the lottery!!!!

Matts, you do realize that

Matts, you do realize that Stamkos is competing in a league that also has 19 and 20 year old players, right? The fact he isn't leading the OHL in scoring is really immaterial, and 58 goals and 105 points in 61 games is nothing to sneeze at. He's also listed at 6'1" 180 lbs, so he's not barely 6', he's firmly average sized for height in the NHL.

Size is definitely not a deterrent from drafting a top flight skilled player since the rules changes anyway. Patrick Kane is tiny (listed at 5'10" 163 lbs by the 'Hawks) and he's sitting on 17 goals and 61 points in 72 games as a rookie. That's the kind of impact we desperately need from our top choice this year, and other than Stamkos and possibly Filatov I'm not sure any of the other forwards in this draft can step in right away and play on a scoring line in the NHL.

Beach has some character issues and is not nearly as dynamic offensively as Stamkos. He's now sitting at 27 goals and 60 points in 60 games. Really, it's tough to go from a Ferrari like Stamkos down to a Dodge Ram pickup like Beach.

I'd also like to take this opportunity again to profess my undying admiration for Zach Boychuk, who has 33 goals and 72 points in 60 games. He's only 5'9" and 179 lbs, but mark my words that young man is the next Danny Briere.

Forget Beach

If Feaster's still in charge, there's no way he, who will take a chance on a mid rounder but not a high pick, would pick Beach now. Especially after the Andre Roy fiasco.

See here:
http://www.boltprospects.com/forum/showpost.php?p=5045&postcount=5

His own coach is throwing him under the bus.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Beach fall into the teens.

Yes we are all Bolt fans and

Yes we are all Bolt fans and what them to succeed. And yes we all know that the top 5 picks are a lottery system, but the worse your record is the more weight your chances carries which gives you a better shot at the top pick. Nobody wants to see the Bolts fail, but we also have to look toward the future and give this organization enough pieces down the road to turn it around...example Pittsburg. Also, Stamkos isn't a tiny as you make him out to be and he is a dynamic player. You seem to have fallen in love with Beach, and that's fine, he's a very good player but has charactor issues and isn't nearly the talent Stamkos is. I too have also become a fan of Zack Boychuk. I think he'll be a solid NHL player down the road as well. And who cares about statistic and odds or whatever that only 5 teams with the worst record have gotten the pick, doesn't mean it can't happen this year...be more positive. Look in the end all anyone on here is saying that they want to see this team do as well as possible. This organization needs more depth though. Yeah there are a couple prospects who may, and I do say may, turn out to be decent players years down the road but that remains to be seen. I'm all for taking a guy that is widely said to be an impact player immediately or within a short period of time. That's just my 2 cents on it.

That's the way the rules are

That's the way the rules are set up. The winner of the lottery can only move up a maximum of 4 spots.

Guys, I never said the Bolts

Guys, I never said the Bolts shouldn't draft Stamkos. I never said he wasn't a dynamic scorer and skater.(I actually said he was) I guess reading about losing out on the "Stamkos Derby" every time the Bolts win just got to me earlier.(But I have seen his height listed anywhere from 5'11"-6'1", so I was just being a dick and taking the lower end) Hey, if the Bolts end up with the 1st pick and draft Stamkos, great, I hope it works out wonderfully. However, I don't want them to lose now in order for that to happen. I see you guys are pretty high on this other guy, Zack Boychuk, I don't have a clue who he is but i'll check him out.

And SJR1709, you want me to be positive about getting the 1st pick via having the worst record(Meaning they would be the WORST team in the NHL). I was being positive, in the fact that by winning some games now, the Bolts can help establish much needed momentum while still having a shot at Stamkos going into the off-season.

And Pete, I'm not hating on you, I love this site and love reading what all of you guys have to say. But, your assessment of Picard only being a #5 or #6 defense-man next year is selling him way short. This guy has been a force since coming here. He's playing sound D, good offense, and plays physical(which is a welcome sight around here for the D). I actually think his play has elevated the play of Ranger and O'Brien the last 3 or 4 games. Maybe they think he can take their job next year. I mean, Janik, Lundin and Luke all shared time as the #5 and #6 D-men. I think Picard is better than all 3 of those guys right now. I see no reason he couldn't take or at the least challenge for Ranger or O'Brien's job next season on that 2nd D pairing.

Well, for Picard to be a

Well, for Picard to be a top-4 here he'd have to outplay Boyle, Ranger, O'Brien, or Kuba. I'd be very happy if he could pull that off... I'm just not betting on it.

If he can play 18 minutes a night and chip in 25 points next season (and not have the giant minus number he had in Philly), I'm doing the happy dance. Everything else beyond that is gravy.

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