It's hard not to be excited about the Lightning's 2-0 start, and I just wanted to expand on some thoughts I had after tonight's dominating effort against Atlanta. The big concern I think we all had coming into the year was how Dan Boyle's injury was going to effect the team. Boyle has been the tempo setter for this team ever since he was acquired in the 2001-2002 season, and as one of only two righty shot defensemen in the organization (AHLer David Schneider being the other) his minutes on the power play were going to be very difficult to replace. If you had held a gun to my head and asked me how the team would do over this first month, I probably would've said about .500, maybe a tad below, without Boyle. Now they're 2-0 heading into a two game set against an 0-2 Panthers team with the chance to get off to a really good start. Granted, things can change in a hurry and the team still will probably need to weather at least another three weeks without Danny (and he might not be 100% for a long time even after he returns). However, I can't help starting to think about how if this team gets off to a great first month of the season without Boyle, think how good they'll be when he returns?
Tomorrow's headline should read: "Paper Champions Get Folded Up".
Johan Holmqvist barely had to break a sweat stopping 13 of 15 shots he faced for the win.
Tampa Bay 5:22, Vincent Lecavalier 3 (unassisted)
Atlanta 8:58, Slava Kozlov 1 (Tobias Enstrom, Todd White)
Kazan's nightmarish open to the season continues. Vasily Koshechkin dropped to 2-7-1 on the season in a 3-2 Ak Bars loss to Dynamo. Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless in the game for Kazan. Former Lightning player Dimitry Afanasenkov had a pair of goals in the match for Dynamo.
Evgeny Artyukhin had a goal in Omsk's 4-2 loss to Khimik.
Helenius and Seattle got the better of Jung and Kelowna in the first of a home-and-home set between the Thunderbirds and Rockets. The teams play again tonight (Saturday) in Seattle. Helenius's 1.62 Goals Against Average is tops in the WHL among goalies playing more than one game. His .922 save percentage is top-5.