Can you believe there was a time when people were trying to run Jussi Jokinen out of town?
Mike Smith was excellent, allowing just 1 goal on 36 shots for the win. I thought Barry Melrose might give Smith a couple of nights off after the frustration he showed late in the Rangers game, but he threw Smith right back in and the young netminder responded.
17:20 PHI Briere (4), (Gagne, Richards)(PP)
07:58 TB Jokinen (5), (Recchi, Roberts)
13:35 TB Prospal (3), (Lecavalier, St. Louis)
The best free agent signing of the offseason by the Lightning? Mark Recchi at $1.25M? Don't look now, but the old man has 8 points in 13 games so far this season.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 1 hit, and was 44% on draws in 9:39.
When this Lightning team learns to play 60 minutes with the same urgency and work rate they showed after falling behind in the third, they'll be pretty scary to deal with.
Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 35 shots in the game. He also came a bit unhinged at the end of the game culminating in a physical confrontation with Aaron Voros. We'll have to see if he can shrug off that late game frustration and start with a clean slate next time out.
16:09 NYR Callahan (5), (Zherdev, Rozsival)(PP)
14:23 NYR Drury (3), (unassisted)(SH)
18:36 TB St. Louis (3), (Prospal, Malik)
00:35 NYR Drury (4), (Gomez, Redden)(PP)
07:58 TBL Malone (3), (Recchi, St. Louis)(PP)
08:27 NYR Staal (1), (Zherdev, Voros)
19:32 NYR Drury (5), (Kalinin, Rozsival)(PP)
Put aside the score of this game, and just compare how the team looked in Prague against this opponent and how they looked tonight. There's significant improvement pretty much across the board, but it's still a work in progress. To me, the way to get this thing to a finished product is to just start playing 60 minutes with urgency, because when this team moves its feet it has a lot of speed and a lot of size and the Rangers really looked overmatched at times in the third period when the Lightning were pressing to try and make a comeback.
Steven Stamkos was -1 in 14:29 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and he was 40% on draws. I don't know if Coach Melrose would try this, but in order to get Stamkos out in space through the neutral zone to use his speed, I wouldn't be opposed to spot shifting Lecavalier or St. Louis with the kid. You get the feeling watching Stammer that he's close, but he needs to find a running partner to work with who has the speed to play with him. I'd also try to make sure I got Ranger or one of the other d-men who are good at making that long stretch pass out when Stammer is out.
The Lightning continue their quest to lead the league in overtime and shootout losses.
Mike Smith stopped 35 of 38 shots in regulation and overtime before going 1-for-3 in the shootout for the loss.
16:28 TB Jokinen (3), (Recchi, Artyukhin)
16:05 NJ Clarkson (3), (Zubrus, White)
18:44 NJ Elias (4), (Zubrus, Gionta)(PP)
10:52 TB Jokinen (4), (Meszaros, Recchi)(PP)
15:10 NJ Pandolfo (2), (Madden, Elias)
16:40 TB St. Louis, (Lecavalier, Ranger)(PP)
NJ- Langenbruner, Elias
Steven Stamkos was -1 in 13:52 with 3 shots, 1 blocked shot, and he was 50% on draws.
Mike Smith, who has been outstanding so far this season, stopped 36 of 38 shots in the win.
04:08 TB Vincent Lecavalier, (Vaclav Prospal, Steven Stamkos)(PP)
13:15 TOR Mike Van Ryn, (Mikhail Grabovski, Niklas Hagman)(PP)
The Lightning still got outshot 12-5 in the final frame as they continue to learn how to play with a lead late in games. However, after a punishing practice prompted by the debacle against San Jose, this was a win the Lightning had to have for team morale in the early season.
Congratulations to Steven Stamkos. He had 1 assist, 2 shots, and was 67% on draws in 12:58.
Dan Boyle's revenge.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 45 shots in the loss.
07:57 SJ Marcel Goc, (Dan Boyle, Mike Grier)
18:00 SJ Ryane Clowe, (Christian Ehrhoff, Joe Pavelski)(PP)
16:28 SJ Devin Setoguchi, (Joe Thornton, Rob Blake)
If you needed a clear indication of just how far the Lightning are from being a Stanley Cup contender, there it is.
Steven Stamkos was -2 in 13:57 with 3 shots and 4 hits. He was also 0-for-2 in the faceoff circles.