Tampa Bay Lightning
Sinking rivals thrown anchor...
Anders Lindback stopped 26 of 28 for the victory. He had a bone headed puck handling gaffe that cost him the first goal he allowed. If he can clear up some of the mistakes, his numbers are going to start looking quite nice.
11:09 TB Stamkos (4), (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
11:24 FLA Mueller (2), (unassisted)
12:49 TB Conacher (3), (Hedman)
03:18 TB Pyatt (3), (Tyrell)
15:39 TB Tyrell (1), (Pyatt, Pouliot)
14:13 TB Lecavalier (3), (Pouliot, Conacher)(PP)
14:31 FLA Fleischmann (2), (unassisted)(SH)
With the Panthers already off to a 1-4 start, this was an opportunity for the Lightning to really put their rivals behind the 8-ball in a 48 game shortened season and they capitalized on it big time. Killer instinct. You also have to like how the shots against and goals against are creeping to acceptable levels.
Keith Aulie was +1 with 3 hits in 12:24. Tonight was Aulie's 82nd NHL game, graduating him from prospect status on the website. Aulie becomes a Bolt Prospects Alumni joining the likes of the afore mentioned Tyrell.
Conacher had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots in 13:05. Standard Honey Badger stat line. He was also hosed on a holding call chasing a loose puck that would have resulted in a breakaway goal.
Part game recap, analysis and scouting report, the Day-After Digest appears after every Lightning game.
The Lightning got off to a rocky start falling behind at the tail end of the game's opening shift but after seeing Vincent Lecavalier drop his mitts and go toe-to-toe with Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn and surviving four-minutes down a man after B.J. Crombeen was charged with three minors on the same shift and only drew a single penalty, Tampa Bay took control, seizing a 3-1 lead heading into the second period. The Flyers regrouped in the middle frame, earning two additional power plays and peppering Lindback with eleven shots while mostly holding the Lightning offense in check, but were unable to convert any chances. Tampa Bay scored early in and nearly midway through the third period to put the game out of reach and leave the visiting bench and their supporters in the crowd stunned.
"After the emotion came down, our players stayed focused for the rest of the game," Boucher said.
The Lightning got plenty of production out of their key forwards as Vinny Lecavalier, Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos all scored and Marty St. Louis racked up four assists. Purcell tied the game late in the first period when he skated into a feed from Stamkos, who, trying to find Purcell, took a quick pass in tight space from St. Louis in the slot, wheeled around and sent the puck into open space towards the right hash. Lecavalier cranked a vintage one-timer from the left circle high that beat Leighton high to extend the Lightning's lead to 3-1. Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman, who's been much more decisive about and aggressive in heading up ice to lead or join rushes than he has been in seasons past, also scored for Tampa Bay. Boucher touched on this progression in Hedman's play, crediting the presence of Carle and Salo as relieving some of the pressure on both the young defender and the vet Brewer, suggesting that they particularly allow Hedman some "freedom" before clarifying that when Hedman is making reads, he's now "not as scared to see the opening and take advantage of it."
"We're a very, very different team. We're big now, we're tough and we're committed to defense," Boucher said before elaborating, "You add that to our offense and it certainly makes for something positive right now."
Aside from allowing a bad angle goal when Sean Couturier sent a "shot" from the boards near the goalline to his right than snuck in between his skate and the post just 0:59 in, Anders Lindback managed to keep his composure and was otherwise superb tonight. He stopped the remaining twenty-four shots he faced, including high-quality scoring chances that came from a few odd-man rushes and several attempts from prime real estate. In particular, it was a sprawling left pad save on Matt Read nearly midway through the first with the Flyers still on the power play that seemed to turn momentum in the Lightning's favor.
"At some point he just shuts the door," Boucher said in praise of the young Swede, adding, "That's the mark of good goaltenders. He battles, he's got talent, has an amazing attitude and never gets nervous. That's a good mix."
With Boucher opting to skate twelve forwards and six defensemen, Dana Tyrell was back in the lineup at the expense of Marc-Andre Bergeron. Brendan Mikkelson and P.C. Labrie were the other scratches. Despite not playing since last Monday's away tilt against the Islanders, Labrie was in high spirits and eager to share how excited he is to be a part of the big club and eagerly awaits his next opportunity. He made sure to mention how refreshed he feels after playing nearly half of a season with Syracuse, adding that the short training camp helped him re-focus and boosted his confidence since he wasn't able to display what is such a big part of his game: hitting and fighting. He also touched on how being called up and sticking with the Lightning has provided the opportunity to learn from B.J. Crombeen, whom the young forward says he watches intently during games to soak in and learn as much as he can from the veteran grinder.
Lightning starting to dial in the defense...
Anders Lindback allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory. His one goal allowed was of the stinky doo doo variety with a puck sneaking by his skate on the post. Had it not been for that, he'd have had the shutout.
00:59 PHI Courturier (2), (Talbot)
14:34 TB Purcell (1), (Stamkos, St. Louis)(PP)
16:10 TB Brewer (3), (Purcell, St. Louis)
18:55 TB Lecavalier (2), (St. Louis, Salo)(PP)
00:58 TB Hedman (2), (Hall, Salo)
12:29 TB Stamkos (3), (Purcell, St. Louis)
Vincent Lecavalier, Sami Salo, and Martin St. Louis were the game's three stars. I don't know when it happened, but evidently Lecavalier became Mark Messier over the offseason. His bout with Luke Schenn in the first period changed the momentum after Lindback's softie, and that and the penalty kill essentially won the game.
Keith Aulie was -1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 13:25. Aulie will graduate from prospect status on Bolt Prospects in his next NHL game.
Cory Conacher had 1 shot in 12:57. They can't all be multi-point nights.
On the night honoring #4's 1,000th game...
Anders Lindback stopped 32 of 36 for the victory. One the one hand, the defense gave up way too many breaks, partial breaks, and odd man rushes for the first two periods of the game. On the other hand, he looked like stinky doo doo allowing some pucks through him and not being tight to the post on another near goal. I would say this was clearly his first subpar game in a Lightning uniform.
TB 01:09 Carle (1), (Conacher, Bergeron)(PP)
04:11 OTT Condra (1), (Neil, Gonchar)
14:30 OTT Spezza (2), (Alfredsson, Gonchar)(PP)
14:45 OTT Karlsson (3), (Michalek, Turris)
15:00 TB Stamkos (2), (Salo, St. Louis)
17:30 OTT Turris (4), (Alfredsson, Daugavins)
18:10 TB Hedman (1), (Stamkos, St. Louis)
03:39 TB Malone (2), (Salo, Conacher)
12:58 TB Malone (3), (Lecavalier, Hedman)
19:18 TB Pyatt (2), (Stamkos)(EN)
Ryan Malone and Sami Salo were the game's first and second stars. Your biggest goal of the night on Vincent Lecavalier's night was Hedman's late Second Period goal set up by a big faceoff win and a solid screen in front of the net. This might well have been an Ottawa bloodbath without that goal, because the rest of the Second Period is pretty much footage the Lightning would like to see burned.
Obviously, it's not sustainable to keep trying to win these games with these 80's style high scores. The pieces are there for the Lightning to get better defensively, but it needs to take a couple of weeks, not a couple of months.
Keith Aulie was -2 with 16 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 13:14, and he looked like he was going to kill every single man, woman, and child associated with the Ottawa organization following a goalmouth scrum late in the game.
Cory Conacher had 2 assists and was +1 with 1 shot in 16:13. The second assist, which came on Malone's first goal, was all Conacher jumping on a defenseman and stripping the puck for a sharp, decisive pass out to Salo for the big bomb from the point. One very good trait Conacher has: he moves the puck quickly, decisively, and hard.
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for January 23 is … Cory Conacher, W, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA)
Last week the North American sports world’s biggest headlines were about a story that was fake. During the college football season, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o was the subject of multiple stories documenting his inspirational play in memory of his deceased girlfriend. It was a heart-wrenching story… until it was proven to be false. Te’o was allegedly the victim of a hoax and his girlfriend never existed beyond someone’s imagination.
The American sports fan was already cynical, and now their ability to engage in an emotional story will take a greater hit.
Don’t let it.
Good (true) stories still exist. Take Cory Conacher as an example.