Tampa Bay Lightning
In a major upset today, Belarus knocked off Slovakia 2-1. Martin Cibak had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal for the Slovaks.
Timo Helbling was scoreless in Switzerland's 3-1 victory over Italy.
Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless with 2 shots on goal in Sweden's 4-2 win over Ukraine.
The World Championships got underway today in Latvia with three Lightning properties thus far named to their nations' teams. Martin Cibak has been selected to Team Slovakia, Andreas Holmqvist to Team Sweden and Fredrik Norrena to Team Finland. The Finns got underway today as one of four opening matches knocking off Slovenia 5-3. Fredrik Norrena stopped 13 of 16 in the win.
Defenseman Timo Helbling has also been named to the Swiss team's roster.
The Bottom Line
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished 43-33-6 this season with 92 points, eighth in the Eastern Conference and second in the Southeast Division. In 2003-2004, prior to the lockout, the club finished with 3 more wins but 14 more points in the standings. The Lightning's goal production this year actually improved by 7 goals, but their defense declined by a shocking 68 goals (that is not a typo) and the team actually scored 8 less goals than it allowed this season. The most important number though is 15, as in the 15 less playoff games the team won this season after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs 4 games to 1 by the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa eliminates the Lightning in 5 games.
I hope the Lightning remember the bad taste they have in their mouths tonight. And now the focus shifts off the ice to Jay Feaster in the aftermath of a season that failed to even remotely approach expectations.
Evgeny Artyukhin scored his first official NHL playoff goal in the game after being robbed on one by the officials in game three.
Game sheet from NHL.com.