Wright, James

NHL Game Night: 12-9-09 Oilers at Lightning

Lightning fall to .500. Season at a crossroads.

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TB-2

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
TB 1:08, St. Louis 6 (Lecavalier, Malone)
EDM 11:21, Gilbert 2 (Nilsson, Stortini)

Second Period
EDM 6:31, Penner 17 (Gagner, Brule)
TB 7:34, Hedman 2 (St. Louis)
EDM 11:07, Stortini 3 (Stone)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Ryan Malone left in the first period with a lower body injury. Steven Stamkos didn't see the ice again after what turned out to be Edmonton's winning goal with an injury.

Messages are being sent. If they aren't received, changes are almost sure to be the next option.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 12 penalty minutes, and was 80% on draws in 7:48.

Paul Szczechura was -2 with 2 shots and 1 hit and was 56% on draws in 20:50.

James Wright was -2 in 13:57.

Victor Hedman had a goal, 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots as he rose back to the 26 minute mark with 26:04 of ice time.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-7-09 Capitals at Lightning

They can skate with the Caps, but they couldn't finish their chances.

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Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
WSH 7:39, Ovechkin 19 (Semin)
WSH 12:32, Eric Fehr 8 (Fleischmann)
WSH 19:35, Ovechkin 20 (Fleischmann, Semin)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Steven Stamkos 0 shots on goal. I rest my case. The coaching staff needs to get on Steven hard to shoot the puck more. If I was Tocchet I'd tell Lecavalier, Stamkos, and St. Louis the first one to 5 shots in the next game gets $500.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:57 and was 50% on draws.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot, 1 hit, and was 80% on draws in 13:17.

James Wright had 2 shots and was 50% on draws in 13:38.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 2 hits in 19:11.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-5-09 Islanders at Lightning

Just what the doctor ordered.

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Mike Smith stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout. He's been fairly resilient this season. He had a terrible game against Ottawa earlier in the year and he had a good start his next time out afterwards. He was suspect a couple of times against Boston, in my opinion, but he shut the door tonight against the Isles.

First Period
TB 1:35, Malone 16 (Meszaros, St. Louis)
TB 19:08, Downie 5 (Meszaros, St. Louis)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
TB 2:58, Halpern 5 (Foster, Lecavalier)(PP)
TB 10:31, Hedman 1 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)

Steve Downie is quietly becoming a real weapon on the power play, and Jeff Halpern is obviously a new man after his conversion to the wing.

Zenon Konopka had 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, and was 71% on draws in 7:34.

James Wright had 1 shot, 1 hit, and was 50% on draws in 12:51.

Blair Jones had 1 shot, 1 blocked shot, and was 50% on draws in 12:00.

Victor Hedman scored his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 21:32. To use the basketball vernacular, the big man filled the lane and finished with authority on the "fast break" 3-on-1. Seriously, he looked like a shark attacking his prey the way he recognized the odd man rush situation and used his speed to blast right to the net and he made no mistakes with his shot. Beautiful, beautiful goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-4-09 Lightning at Devils

I'd almost rather lose a game 4-2 then cough up a winning goal in the last minute. Almost.

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Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for the loss. It's been an alarming trend over the last week and a half where the Lightning haven't been getting quite the same level of goaltending they were getting, and the results have very quickly turned sour because of it. That's not to say Niitty was terrible, but 3 goals on 19 shots isn't a pretty number.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB 1:26, Lecavalier 6 (Halpern)

Third Period
NJ 1:15, Rolston 9 (Niedermayer)(PP)
NJ 5:14, Bergfors 8 (Zharkov)(PP)
TB 17:00, Downie 4 (Stamkos, Malone)(PP)
NJ 19:21, Langenbrunner 6 (Greene, Rolston)

Zenon Konopka had 5 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 7:18.

Paul Szczechura played just 4:12 in the game.

James Wright got in his first NHL fight and had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 9:23.

Blair Jones had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:27. Let me be one of the first to say how proud I am of Blair to work his way into this opportunity. He has always had a lot of promise since his days in junior, but he's fluctuated between the penthouse in his rookie season and the doghouse for the past couple of seasons because he's a bit of a laid back Western farm boy, as Steve Stirling once put it to me, so the physical and defensive intensity hasn't always been there night in and night out. He's really started to understand more about being prepared to go every night and he's earned this chance. Let that be a lesson to all the youngsters in Norfolk: even in your fourth season of pro you've got a chance if you work hard, prepare like a professional, and put it together at the rink.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 1 hit in 19:32.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-2-09 Lightning at Bruins

Boston remains the Lightning's chamber of horrors.

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BOS-4

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 38 shots for the loss. I thought Smitty's play was subpar tonight. I think Boston's first and third goals were suspect, and I think they really changed the complexion of the game. You can't spot Tim Thomas two extra goals of support in his own barn. He'll beat you.

First Period
BOS 8:05, Savard 5 (Morris, Chara)(PP)
BOS 14:03, Bergeron 8 (Chara, Recchi)

Second Period
BOS 13:36, Sturm 7 (Recchi, Bergeron)
BOS 16:09, Sturm 8 (Bergeron, Recchi)

Third Period
TB 1:27, Halpern 4 (Downie, Malone)

The team didn't play as poorly as the score indicated, outside of the goaltending. The forecheck and the dirty work in front of the opposition's cage is coming along. They'd have gotten more were it not for Thomas being Thomas tonight.

It was good to see Matt Smaby back in action, although he only got one shift in the third period after seeing about 10-11 minutes in the first two periods. He was feeling his way out in this game. I think he needs a couple of games to get comfortable again and then the hits will start coming. I hope the Lightning recognize what they have in Smaby. Big, physical defensemen are rare and worth their weight in gold. It seems like every year teams draft 2-3 dozen of these types of guys out of junior and only a handful pan out. So, when you get one that does, you need to keep him and continue to develop him.

Steven Stamkos has gotten into more of a pass-first mode the past couple of games. Shoot the puck, young man. Shoot it from the team hotel. Shoot it from the nacho stand. Shoot it from the restaurant after the game. Shoot the puck. He had 5 shots tonight, but he gave up at least three shots from prime scoring areas. Shoot.

Zenon Konopka had 2 shots and 4 hits in 8:17.

Paul Szczechura had 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:16 but was 43% on draws. He's been one of the Lightning's better forwards over the past couple of games.

James Wright had 2 blocked shots in 8:53.

Victor Hedman was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:41.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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