Lightning crumble in final 20:24.
Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 39 shots before allowing 2 of 6 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. He looked really good for the first 39:36 of the game. He was moving well. Following the puck. Then he overplayed on Jason Blake to allow the first goal and his fundamentals started to come unglued. His rebound control went straight to hell. His five-hole got big enough to drive a truck through. I give him credit for battling his way to get the point and he was game in the shootout, but that's a game Karri's got to help his team close out. Fundamentals. Fundamentals. Fundamentals. On the good side, he's claimed 6 of the last 8 available points.
13:39 TB Lecavalier (29), (Murphy, St. Louis)(PP)
02:26 TB Stamkos (15), (St. Louis, Ramo)(PP)
02:36 TB Pettinger (5), (Karsums, Krajicek)
19:36 TOR Mitchell (9), (Blake, Stralman)
03:24 TOR Blake (24), (Stempniak)
14:29 TOR Hamilton (2), (Devereaux, Stajan)
TOR- Hamilton, Mitchell
Hard luck by the Lightning in the shootout as Stamkos and St. Louis both rang posts. Hint to Rick Tocchet: Lashoff's awesome at shootouts.
Noah Welch had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:29. If he plays every game down the stretch, he'll graduate and be a Bolt Prospects alumni. This saddens me. See: Stewart, Karl.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 20:57. He was more subdued than usual tonight.
David Koci had a 10 minute misconduct, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 4:47.
Paul Szczechura was +1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 13:31. He was also 70% on draws. He looked good tonight. His whole line did with Pettinger and Karsums.
Martins Karsums had an assist and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 10:19. Still waiting for him to put it all together, but he was better tonight.
Richard Petiot had 2 hits in 18:59 against his former organization.
Matt Lashoff was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 22:58. You can see why he was a guy the Lightning were willing to give considerably to get. His skating is smooth as silk, and he's got some skill. Between Lashoff, Ranger, and Meszaros the Lightning will have a ridiculously mobile defense next season. The downside with Lashoff? Tocchet needs to get him to take the body more in the defensive zone. If he can get that out of Lashoff, he's a top-four in this league. Even if he doesn't, he's a real nice number five d-man in the making; a great piece to add to the puzzle.
The worst 40 minutes of hockey in Lightning history.
Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 7 shots before being pulled for Karri Ramo. Ramo was then the beneficiary of some of the worst defense in the NHL and allowed 6 goals on 22 shots (and took the back door loss to boot) before being pulled at the end of the Second Period. McKenna stopped all 8 shots he faced the rest of the way. Honestly, there was only 1 questionable goal in the lot (by Ramo, on a shot that deflected off Stamkos' stick and through his five hole). Other than that, all of the other eight goals were quality goals that were either odd man rushes or terrible defensive zone breakdowns.
07:01 CAR Staal (29), (Brind'Amour)(SH)
09:40 CAR Staal (30), (Cole, Ruutu)
10:09 CAR Babchuk (9), (Pitkanen)
12:43 TB St. Louis (24), (Stamkos, Szczechura)
02:41 CAR Corvo (12), (Cole, Staal)
03:48 CAR Brind'Amour (9), (Samsonov (25), Cullen)(PP)
06:03 CAR Ruutu (18), (Samsonov, Corvo)(PP)
12:48 CAR Staal (31), (Larose, Ruutu)
16:45 CAR Staal (32), (Ruutu, Cole)
3:30 TB Lecavalier (28), (Malone, Prospal)
9:12 TB Malone (23), (Prospal, Lecavalier)
Here's an FYI to Len Barrie and Oren Koules: Lightning Nation is pissed off. They're more than a bit peeved by the fact that they have to watch a defense comprised of two cast offs who couldn't even get regular ice time for the Florida Panthers, a cast off who couldn't even get out of the minors for the Carolina Hurricanes, a goon who shouldn't even be playing defense in the NHL, Charminy soft Lukas Krajicek, and Matt Smaby, who is the one guy in the bunch who doesn't deserve to be shot, stuffed, and mounted on the wall at the Bear Mountain Resort. This defense is a disgrace, and it's patently obvious that the season is being tanked from the blueline out. When the lone silver lining is, "Oh, well we picked up two points on the Isles in the Tavares/Hedman derby," that's just not acceptable. Honest to goodness, if you're going to ice a corps that bad, why not just call up Vladimir Mihalik and Ty Wishart? I'd rather give minutes to the kids than a has-been and some never-will-bes.
Noah Welch was -2 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in an obscene 27:22 of ice time tonight. He and Cory Murphy's first period should be a warning to pregnant women of what happens if you drink while you're carrying your child. How does a guy who couldn't even get in the lineup for Florida end up here playing 27:22 two games later? I can't figure out if this movie is a comedy or a tragedy, boys and girls.
Smaby was +1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:49. I'm kind of surprised that his ice time was so low because he was very visible in the physical game. That said, even he made his fair share of mildly stupid plays tonight.
David Koci was -2 with 4 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 11:59. If David Koci is an NHL defenseman then I'm an international playboy.
Paul Szczechura had an assist and 2 penalty minutes with 3 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:30. I haven't really been impressed with Paul since he came back from his injury, but he showed flashes again tonight, especially in garbage time in the third period.
Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 11:27. Chad made the point on the message boards that, athletically, he's reminiscent of Ruslan Fedotenko. That's true, but unlike Fedotenko, Karsums is terrible along the wall. I don't think it's lack of want to and he seems sturdy on his skates. He just seems clueless about his body position. Oh, and he made a nice fat turnover that ended up in the back of the net on Anton Babchuk's goal. From Latvia to Russia with love.
One point further away from Tavares or Hedman?
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 36 shots for the overtime loss. His rebound control needs work, but he was fairly sharp in this one.
05:43 STL Tkachuk (19), (Boyes, McDonald)
09:25 STL McDonald (10), (Backes, Boyes)(PP)
03:28 TB St. Louis (23), (Lecavalier, Stamkos)
06:10 STL Backes (19), (Oshie, McDonald)
12:10 TB Pettinger (3), (Halpern, Artyukhin)
19:44 TB Stamkos (14), (Murphy, St. Louis)
00:27 STL Boyes (26), (Colaiacovo, McDonald)
Noah Welch was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 23:06. He's servicable, if unspectacular.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 1 shot, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 23:23. He took a skate to the cheek and hardly missed a shift. You can make a very strong case that he's been the team's best d-man over the last month.
David Koci had 1 hit in 6:52.
Martins Karsums was -1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:59. You can see the attraction from the Lightning's end: he's a good skater with decent burst and feisty for an average sized player.
Brandon Segal had 2 shots and 3 hits in 12:50. He had some good moments tonight on the forecheck but shanked a rebound off a Karsums shot that should've been his first NHL goal.
Trade deadline tomorrow.
Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the lost. He made some solid saves, but struggled with his rebound control. Still, I think if he gives the Lightning more games like this (.900+ save percentage and no softies) they'll be pretty satisfied.
07:38 PIT Kunitz (18), (Kennedy)
12:23 TB Prospal (17), (Lecavalier, Malone)
16:44 PIT Kunitz (19), (Sykora, Malkin)(PP)
12:26 PIT Cooke (9), (Dupuis, Talbot)
Matt Smaby was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 22:33.
David Koci was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 6:43. Pittsburgh's third goal was on him.
Brandon Segal had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 14:45. First impressions: he didn't look completely out of place as far his skating goes. If he gets more decisive when he goes to the wall, I think he could do some business up top.
Paul Szczechura had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:53.
It was 80's night in Calgary. Great for the fans. Bad if you're a goaltender.
Mike McKenna allowed 6 goals on 39 shots for the... win? "Look Ma, I'm Grant Fuhr!"
11:07 TB Artyukhin (5), (unassisted)
15:44 CGY Iginla (25), (Moss, Cammalleri)(PP)
01:19 TB St. Louis (21), (Stamkos, Recchi)
08:07 CGY Conroy (7), (Phaneuf, Iginla)
13:02 CGY Cammalleri (33), (Moss, Iginla)(PP)
14:19 CGY Lundmark (2), (Sarich, Lombardi)
14:57 TB Lecavalier (26), (Murphy, Melichar)
16:14 TB Stamkos (13), (Recchi, St. Louis)
18:27 TB Prospal (16), (Roberts, Eminger)(PP)
00:14 CGY Iginla (26), (Conroy, Vandermeer)
02:39 TB Malone (22), (Recchi, Lecavalier)(PP)
08:32 TB Lecavalier (27), (Recchi, Murphy)(PP)
16:46 CGY Bertuzzi (15), (Iginla, Cammalleri)(PP)
19:28 TB St. Louis (22), (Recchi)(EN)
You know, in a couple of days the composition of this roster is going to change quite a bit. Some of these veterans are going to be shuffling out and there's going to be some young guys shuffling in. So, it's nice to see these guys get one last game like this on the road together. Particularly, old man Recchi dropped 5 assists in what may be his second to last game in a Lightning uniform, which is a heck of a thing for a 41 year old player. I wouldn't mind seeing him brought back as a free agent in the offseason, but it's hard to know what the future holds.
The league office has to be wishing they could bottle a game like this, because it had a little of everything that is the best of the game. It was like the golden days of the 80's again with offense flowing like wine, mixed in with big hits and some fisticuffs as well. I'm hard pressed to think of a more entertaining game I've watched in Lightning history. Bigger games? Sure. More satisfying? Definitely. More fun? Even the Lightning's cup clinching Game Seven victory was more an exhale of relief to me than a sheer joy to watch like this was.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 hits and 3 blocked shots in 21:35. Iginla's goal to tie the game at 5 at the start of the third period was on Smaby on a really bad turnover. This wasn't a game for the defense and goaltenders, anyway.
David Koci was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:42. I think a goal or a colossal brawl by Koci between he and Vandermeer was about the only thing that was missing from this contest.
Vancouver gets a bounce and the Lightning don't.
Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the loss. No complaints tonight. He made a handful of key saves to give the Lightning a chance in the third period, not the least of which was a huge save moving right to left on a 2-on-1 that became a partial break for one of the Sedins.
11:41 VAN Edler (7), (Kesler, Demitra)(PP)
14:36 TB Stamkos (12), (St. Louis, Recchi)
09:26 VAN Bernier (13), (Demitra, Johnson)
With 20 games left to go in the season, Steven Stamkos is suddenly en fuego despite not having a steady set of linemates. It's a very positive sign. I think people are going to be shocked how good Stamkos is going to be next season.
Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 22:57. Despite having one bad wheel, he's consistently making plays for this club. He's taking the body. He's breaking up plays with the stick. He's blocking shots at key times. He's playing around 22 minutes a night lately and he looks good doing it. That tells me this guy may have top-four potential after all.
David Koci played 7:33.
In case anyone is wondering, Smaby is 17 games away from graduating from prospect status by Bolt Prospects criteria. Ramo is now 11 decisions away from graduating by site criteria, as well. Both look achievable, and the top-5 of our rankings look destined for some major changes at year's end.
A soft goal was the difference.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 44 shots in the game. He had a respectable save percentage in the game, but he never looked completely comfortable to me and the soft goal he allowed to Jason Strudwick on a long point shot that he badly misplayed his angle on ended up being the difference. It's nothing that will get him demoted, but I would expect McKenna back in for the next game.
02:20 EDM Cole (15), (unassisted)
05:40 EDM Strudwick (2), (Gagner)
02:30 TB Murphy (2), (St. Louis, Recchi)(PP)
12:23 TB Stamkos (11), (Malone)
13:15 EDM Souray (16), (Cogliano)
02:20 EDM Cogliano (14), (Stortini, Moreau)
13:46 TBL Murphy (3), (Lecavalier, St. Louis)
19:58 EDM Souray (17), (Brodziak)(EN)
Marek Malik needs to be put down like Old Yeller. Man up, Brian Lawton. It's time. Erik Cole made Malik look like he was moving in reverse on the Oilers' first goal. Sad.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 hits and 3 blocked shots in 21:59.
David Koci had 7 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 6:09.
The Lightning steal the win.
Karri Ramo stopped 40 of 43 shots for the win. He's not playing perfect hockey, but he is playing relaxed and making saves and keeping the Lightning in a position to compete. Tonight he won despite his club being outshot 43-18. His night in a nutshell: he gave up an awful rebound to Phil Kessel coming in off the wing with the game tied 3-3 and then made an athletic pad save in close to bail himself out. Flawless? No. But he's battling, and getting fair results.
Bobby Taylor has talked recently on the broadcasts how defensemen who come up to the NHL sometimes find it easier because the forwards are always in the proper position on the breakout. I wonder if Ramo is looking more relaxed partially because he worries less about the team in front of him being in the proper position and not overcompensating for odd man rushes or back door plays.
01:38 BOS Kessel (25), (Savard, Lucic)
04:44 TB Halpern (4), (Pettinger, Eminger)
04:59 TB Hall (4), (Craig, Artyukhin)
16:42 BOS Ference (1), (Savard, Wideman)(PP)
10:00 TB Recchi (13), (Melichar, Koci)
15:17 BOS Chara (14), (Kobasew, Ward)
18:27 TB Prospal (15), (Halpern, St. Louis)(PP)
It's nice to be able to take Jeff Halpern's picture off the milk carton, too.
Matt Smaby had 4 hits and 5 blocked shots in 22:06. I'll bet you, dollars to donuts, 75% of the GM's who talk to Brian Lawton next week ahead of the deadline will try to scam him out of #32, and that Lawton will tell them, "No thanks."
David Koci had his first NHL assist, was +1, and had 3 hits in 7:06. David Koci: The Secret Weapon.
Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 41 shots in the loss. The Lightning were outshot 41-13 in the contest. Mercy.
08:30 CAR Staal (27), (Samsonov, Ruutu)
01:53 TB Prospal (14), (Halpern)
14:30 CAR Jokinen (7), (Brind'Amour)
03:38 CAR Corvo (10), (Whitney, Samsonov)(PP)
04:17 CAR Corvo (11), (Whitney, Staal)(PP)
The Lightning's penalty kill has been abhorent as of late.
Ty Wishart had 3 hits in 15:52, his highest amount of ice time this season.
Steve Downie had 7 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 7:03.
Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes and was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 23:20. A rare hitless night for the Minneapolis Sledgehammer.
David Koci had 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 10:44.