It's about time.
Mike Smith stopped 31 of 33 shots for his first win of the season.
06:37 ATL Colby Armstrong, (Todd White)
19:24 ATL Todd White, (Mathieu Schneider, Ron Hainsey)
Congratulations to Barry Melrose on his first win in the NHL in 13 years, and Oren Koules and Len Barrie on their first win as NHL owners.
Janne Niskala had 1 assist, 2 shots, and was +1 in 11:52.
Steven Stamkos had 4 shots, 2 hits, and was 46% on draws in 11:30.
It's getting better, but still not quite there.
Mike Smith was the hard luck shootout loser stopping 21 of 21 in regulation and overtime before allowing 1 of 3 in the penalty shot session.
The Lightning outshot Minnesota 32-21 in the game.
Janne Niskala had 3 shots and 1 hit in 12:37.
David Koci had 4 penalty minutes in 0:41 of ice time (3 shifts).
Steven Stamkos had 4 shots and 2 hits and was 50% on draws in 13:56. He also failed to convert in the shootout session.
Kind of a rough night for Olaf Kolzig, allowing two goals on bad rebounds kicked up the slot and then giving the Islanders the winner on a puck handling mistake. He stopped 32 of 36 for the overtime loss.
02:47 NYI Mike Comrie, (Kyle Okposo, Bruno Gervais)
13:54 NYI Doug Weight, (Bill Guerin, Frans Nielsen) (PP)
03:43 TBL Vincent Lecavalier, (Vaclav Prospal, Andrej Meszaros)
12:02 TBL Vaclav Prospal, (Andrej Meszaros, Lukas Krajicek) (PP)
13:51 NYI Trent Hunter, (Jeff Tambellini, Mike Comrie)
14:57 TBL Ryan Malone, (Jussi Jokinen, Janne Niskala)
00:51 NYI Trent Hunter, (Frans Nielsen)
There are hopeful signs. For the first time this season, the Lightning allowed less than 40 shots and the team finished square in shots on goal at 36.
Janne Niskala had 1 assists, 1 shot on goal, and 4 penalty minutes in 12:00 of ice time.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 2 hits, and was 50% on draws in 9:22. Seem Stamkos? Still, not so much.
Outshot 25-4 in the third period and overtime.
Mike Smith stopped 42 of 46 faced in the overtime loss.
01:56 CAR Matt Cullen, (Rod Brind'Amour, Joni Pitkanen)
09:56 CAR Eric Staal, (Dennis Seidenberg, Tuomo Ruutu)
4:36 CAR Eric Staal, (Ray Whitney)
Bolt Prospects rules force me to show balance by making the glass half full statement: the power play showed signs of life going 2-for-7 and the team actually played pretty well for about the first 35 minutes of the game. However, you continue to see two problems with this club. They get hemmed in and they don't have the experience and poise to release the pressure, and they're not disciplined enough to stay out of the box.
Janne Niskala scored his first NHL goal and was -1 with 3 shots in 15:17.
Steven Stamkos had 1 hit in 6:05. Seen Stamkos? The faithful at the Forum didn't much tonight.
Olaf Kolzig played well stopping 37 of 39 shots in the loss. He also deserved better.
03:47 NYR Wade Redden, (Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez)(PP)
12:12 NYR Scott Gomez, (Aaron Voros, Wade Redden)
Don't be fooled by the score. The Lightning were never really in this game until a late surge when they tried to get the equalizer to steal at least a point. The Lightning were outshot 39-19 in the game and, generally, outplayed in every facet. For all the weapons that the club has, they showed absolutely no structure this weekend. The team may be very fortunate that they play so few games in the opening month of the season, because right now they look light years away from being able to be a competitive team, let alone a winning team.
Janne Niskala had 4 hits in 14:14.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 12:15 with 2 hits. He was caught on Gomez's goal standing around and not tying up the man in front.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and 2 hits in 14:53 and he was 75% on draws. On the good side, he rang a post that almost tied the game up in the second period. On the bad side, he took a lazy hooking penalty late that killed the Lightning's rally. All that said, he got nearly 15 minutes tonight, and that's the kind of ice time he needs from Coach Melrose.
Roster moves will no doubt be coming tomorrow. At a minimum, the club will have to send Karri Ramo down to Norfolk now that the roster limit reduces to 23. There will also probably be at least one move made on defense when Paul Ranger returns to the lineup. The obvious move would be to send Mihalik down to Norfolk. However, I could imagine Jamie Heward being the odd man out as well. Also, expect some pressure to bring Matt Smaby back up sooner or later. Initial reports out of Norfolk camp are good for Smaby, and you can make a strong argument he never should have been sent down in the first place. Adding spice to the situation are rumors that the club may move Shane O'Brien, who was a healthy scratch in this afternoon's game.