C'est une belle chose.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the victory. He's a hot mess to watch, but the pucks are hitting him, and the Lightning have the offense to consistently get him to the pay window.
MTL 5:22, Lapierre 1 (unassisted)
MTL 18:07, Plekanec 1 (Cammalleri, Spacek)
TB 1:44, Clark 1 (PP) (Purcell, Malone)
TB 10:54, St. Louis 1 (Stamkos, Jones)
MTL 11:25, Kostitsyn 1 (Plekanec, Gorges)
TB 18:41, Stamkos 3 (PP) (Lecavalier, Malone)
TB 4:09, Malone 1 (Moore)
Ryan Malone was named the game's first star. Shame on the Montreal media for showing such a lack of class to not give Lecavalier or Stamkos a star for the game tying goal. Shame on the Montreal fan base for booing like a bunch of Panthers fans (all three of them) and then throwing things on the ice when a Montreal defender fell down on the game tying goal. These are supposed to be some of the best fans in the NHL, and they acted the fool tonight. The hockey gods made sure to punish them on Malone's game winner.
The Lightning outshot the Habs 47 to 27. Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos each had 8 shots on goal to lead the way for Tampa Bay. Purcell's a part of the newly found depth the Lightning have, and Stamkos will be an MVP finalist if this keeps up. He has five points in the first two games and he's scoring big goals between the insurance marker against Atlanta and the tying goal tonight.
I'll keep saying it: I firmly believe Stamkos will win at least one Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay in the next five years, and he might easily win two. He's got something special in the dedication department, and it's something a guy like Ovechkin lacks and something I think he has even more of than Sid Crosby. In the end equation, I have a feeling #91 is why Steve Yzerman took the Lightning job. It's easier to be successful when you inherit a Richard Trophy winner who works harder than 99.9% of the rest of the players in the league. He's like James Brown without the cape and a better shot; the hardest working man in showbiz today, and he's only 20 years old. Part of me is sickened by the fact the NHL isn't the least bit interested in building their brand around Stamkos and would rather market a punk like Ovechkin. On the other hand, the idea of Stamkos being allowed to lay in the weeds of the distraction-free media environment of Tampa Bay and what he could be able to accomplish in it without the spotlight on him intrigues me. In a way, I prefer not having the kind of zoo Montreal has around them on Stamkos' back trying to divert his attention from the only thing that matters to him right now: winning.
I'm not ashamed to say I loved the way Brett Clark played tonight. He looks to be really well suited for this system. He made a play in the offensive zone in overtime that I didn't believe he was capable of making by splitting two defenders and almost setting up a winning goal on his own. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this Lightning defense looks once Ohlund gets back from the shelf.
Dana Tyrell had 2 penalty minutes in 5:33 of ice time. Dana, brother, if you want ice time you can't be taking minor penalties when Boucher finally lets you hop the boards.
Michael Vernace was -1 with 1 shot in 10:57.
I'll reiterate what I said in the first preseason game: so far so good.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the win. He'll never win style points for the way he tends goal, but as long as he keeps the pucks he should stop out of the net, this Lightning team should have enough offense to win hockey games for him.
TB 5:23, Downie 1 (PP) (Malone, Clark)
TB 8:21, Moore 1 (Purcell, Bergenheim)
TB 2:20, Lecavalier 1 (PP) (St. Louis, Stamkos)
TB 5:21, Stamkos 1 (Hedman, Downie)
ATL 16:31, Enstrom 1 (PP) (Bergfors, Ladd)
ATL 18:12, Eager 1 (unassisted)
ATL 7:41, Thorburn 1 (Sopel, Eager)
TB 10:59, Stamkos 2 (Jones)
Steven Stamkos, Steve Downie, and Vincent Lecavalier were the game's three stars. The NHL should be absolutely terrified of the concept of Stamkos and Lecavalier getting on track early this season. Also, reports of Steve Downie's demise in the post-Tocchet era appear to have been greatly, greatly exaggerated.
Going into the season, I think we all had a sense that the pride and professionalism were returning to Tampa Bay with the circus leaving town and Mr. Vinik coming in as owner. Tonight was the first time that sense translated into something tangible on the ice. The team is offensively explosive and looks deeper than at any time since, well, ever. How far they will go will ultimately be a function of the goaltending they will get, but if these netminders can make the stops they should make, this club should be in good shape.
The great thing about tonight's game, similar the the Admirals' game down on the farm, is that they can take a lot of offensive confidence away from the game but they made enough mistakes that Coach Boucher is going to be able to continue to keep on his club and keep them from complacency going into Wednesday's game against Montreal. And, you know, Coach Boucher has this Montreal game circled on the calendar and is not going to allow his team to go into his first game against his hometown team and in front of the Canadian media flat and overly impressed with themselves.
Dana Tyrell was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:44 in his NHL debut.
Michael Vernace had 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:04 in his Lightning debut.
(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning reduced their training camp roster by four today, assigning forwards Chris Durno and Johan Harju, as well as goaltender Cedrick Desjardins to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League and releasing forward Eric Perrin from his tryout, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
(BP Note: With this latest news, it's apparent prospect Dana Tyrell has made the Lightning roster for opening night. Congratulations, Dana!)
A business-like rout of an inferior team at home. Nice.
Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 21 shots. I feel like after two strong starts that Smitty has won the opening night starting job.
FLA 13:51, Santorelli 1 (Weaver, Allen)
TB 4:32, Lecavalier 1 (PP) (St. Louis)
TB 7:22, Stamkos 1 (Downie, St. Louis)
TB 9:20, Stamkos 2 (PP) (Lecavalier, Kubina)
TB 7:44, Bergenheim 1 (Perrin, Vernace)
Johan Harju was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 11:14.
Dana Tyrell had 2 shots and 2 hits in 13:39.
Michael Vernace had an assist and was +1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 15:12.
Yeah, we at BoltProspects always liked Magnus Paajarvi in his draft year.
Dan Ellis allowed 5 goals on 21 shots for the loss. Ugly stat line.
TB 4:33, Jones 1 (Purcell, Persson)
EDM 15:09, Paajarvi 1 (Belle, Plante)
EDM 18:34, Cogliano 1 (PP) (Foster, Paajarvi)
EDM 6:50, Paajarvi 2 (PP) (Penner, Plante)
EDM 7:57, Hall 1 (PP) (unassisted)
EDM 9:52, Paajarvi 3 (SH) (Foster)
TB 17:19, Ashton 1 (PP) (Wright, Clark)
Not an entirely surprising outcome, I suppose, considering Edmonton had most of its regular skaters going against the Lightning's lower liners, AHLers, and prospects. The only thing really concerning is to allow 5 goals on 21 shots in that scenario. Still, I wouldn't read much into tonight unless they get blown out in Calgary against the Fighting Feasters on Saturday with most of the regulars in.
Carter Ashton had 1 goal and was +1 with 1 shot and a slashing minor in 13:26. I'm of the opinion it would behoove the Lightning to, at the very least, use the 9 game tryout on Ashton. If he can stick on the team and develop over the course of the year, he could give the Lightning a lot of roster flexibility in February.
Brett Connolly was even with 1 shot in 12:13. I think he'll get a contract and then be ushered away to Prince George fairly soon.
Radko Gudas was even with 1 shot in 13:51. I doubt he makes it past the first round of cuts. He needs to get stronger and he needs some seasoning in Norfolk.
Johan Harju was -1 with 1 shot in 13:20. He got more ice time than the 9:30 Linus Omark got for the Oilers. I expect him to be on the bubble another week.
Blair Jones was -1 in 12:53. He could not duplicate what he did against the Hawks, which is the story of Blair's pro career. Probably on the bubble another week.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 with 1 shot and a hooking minor in 16:43. He might survive the first round of cuts, but I doubt he survives the second.
Niklas Persson had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 shots in 16:09. Niklas seems to be on track to make the team. In fact, he might be the first of the bubble guys to move into the safe column.
Dana Tyrell was even with 2 shots in 14:02. He'll stay on the bubble another week, I think.
Michael Vernace was -1 with 1 shot in 22:02. He got a ton of ice time given Boucher's familiarity with him, but he was awful, by all accounts.
Box score from Yahoo! Sports.