Tampa Bay Lightning
Next time Tortorella gets thrown out of the game for criticizing the referee, I hope he gets his money's worth.
Let me be clear about this: the Lightning didn't deserve any points out of tonight's game. They played dispassionate hockey and were outskated from start to finish. However, it would be impossible to write up this game without mentioning that the league's biased enforcement of video replay from on high in the league offices in Toronto reared its ugly head once again, twice. The first on a play where a Brendan Shanahan tip on a puck looked like it was with a high stick that resulted in the Rangers' second goal and the second on a play where an Eric Perrin goal which was ruled good by the on ice officials was overturned for kicking the puck into the net. Now, you can sit here and microanalyze each play, but when you look at the bigger picture it becomes clear every time the Lightning have a game against a big market, northern opponent the call is going against them. It's obvious. So obvious, in fact, Lightning beat writer Erik Erlendsson documented the phenomenon on his blog earlier this year with several historical examples of the double standard in video judging that has always existed for the Lightning.
The most blatent case came earlier this year when 6'9" Zdeno Chara batted a puck off his stick at his eye level (the crossbar is, of course, at 4' off the ice) and somehow, mystically, the league office created a baloney explanation for why the resulting goal counted. Tonight's cases weren't as clear cut, but they did nothing to dispell the notion that yes indeed, the video replay process is rigged, which was only made worse by a phantom hooking call on Eric Perrin which resulted in the Rangers' third goal on the power play. If I thought Gary Bettman had an ounce of integrity, I'd be calling for someone in Toronto to be fired. But with Bettman, why waste the keyboard strokes? Instead, I wish John Tortorella would've thrown more of a fit after the wave off when he was thrown out of the game. Then, maybe, just maybe, the national media attention that would've been generated might've cast some disinfecting sunlight on the festering stink we all smell coming down from Toronto.
NY Rangers 1:43, Jaromir Jagr 9 (Karel Rachunek, Michael Nylander)
NY Rangers 2:50, Michael Nylander 8 (power play) (Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka)
NY Rangers 4:17, Brendan Shanahan 16 (power play) (Martin Straka, Jaromir Jagr)
NY Rangers 6:46, Martin Straka 10 (Michael Nylander, Jaromir Jagr)
Tampa Bay 17:20, Eric Perrin 4 (power play) (Filip Kuba, Johan Holmqvist)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 29 of 31 shots faced in regulation/overtime before stopping 7 of 7 penalty shots in the shootout to outduel Rick Dipietro. Holmqvist is a perfect 5-0-0 in his last 5 starts and is now 5-2-0 on the season. Nikita Alexeev and Brad Richards had the Lightning's goals in regulation, but it took Dimitry Afanasenkov's shootout goal to secure the second point. Vincent Lecavalier had 2 assists and Filip Kuba chipped in an individual helper. Richards and Lecavalier were first and third stars of the game respectively. Holmer was robbed.
Tampa Bay 2:32, Nikita Alexeev 7 (Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 5:08, Brad Richards 6 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier, Filip Kuba)
NY Islanders 8:00, Radek Martinek 1 (unassisted)
NY Islanders 19:21, Mike York 5 (Viktor Kozlov)
NY Islanders NONE
Tampa Bay Dimitry Afanasenkov
Doug Janik was +1 in 8:25 with 1 shot on goal. Eric Perrin was -1 in 13:01 with 3 shots and 1 hit and he was 4/4 on draws. Nick Tarnasky received just 2 shifts in the game for 54 seconds of ice time with 1 hit with Tim Taylor out due to injury. The Lightning continue to follow the policy that they just won't give Tarnasky ice time unless it is the third period of a blowout.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Huet was just the better goaltender tonight.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots in the loss. Vaclav Prospal had the lone Lightning goal off assists from Cory Sarich and Brad Richards. The game's back breaking moment came when, on a Montreal power play with the Lightning down 2-1, two Canadiens collided in the Montreal zone allowing Brad Richards to walk in on a short handed breakaway which he failed to convert. Moments later Guillaume Latendresse nailed the coffin shut for the Lightning with a quick shot off a toe drag move on the left wing.
Certainly no need to panic. The Lightning outshot and outchanced the Canadiens throughout the game. There will always be a handful of nights throughout the season when the other team's netminder stands on his head. This was one of those.
Montreal 2:35, Sheldon Souray 7 (power play) (Saku Koivu, Mark Streit)
Tampa Bay 7:22, Vaclav Prospal 3 (Cory Sarich, Brad Richards)
Montreal 15:12, Sheldon Souray 8 (power play) (Andrei Markov, Michael Ryder)
Montreal 9:24, Guillaume Latendresse 4 (power play) (Sergei Samsonov, Alexei Kovalev)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Lightning just made a huge statement in the early season jockeying for divisional supremacy.
John Tortorella continues to ride with the hot hand as Johan Holmqvist stopped 27 of 30 shots for the win. The Lightning scored 4 unanswered goals to start the game and never looked back. Dan Boyle led the way with 1 goal and 1 assist and was named first star of the game. Nikita Alexeev and Brad Richards also had 1 goal and 1 assist while Martin St. Louis chipped in a pair of helpers. Richards and St. Louis were named second and third stars respectively. Ryan Craig and Vincent Lecavalier also had goals for the Lightning with individual helpers going to Paul Ranger, Filip Kuba and Vaclav Prospal. The Lightning outshot the Thrashers 36-30 in the game.
I hope the national hockey media takes notice of what occured in this game. In their race to heap piles of praise upon the Thrashers and annoint them as Eastern Conference royalty, they seem to have forgotten that the Lightning, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, are the only battle tested teams in this division with hardware to prove it. With the victory, the Lightning are now 8 points behind Atlanta for the division lead, but it should be noted the team has 3 games in hand on their rivals from Georgia. I expect the race for the Southeast to get much tighter in the next month and then we'll see if Atlanta truly has the endurance for this kind of marathon. To this point of their franchise's existence, they have not.
Tampa Bay 17:55, Ryan Craig 6 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Paul Ranger)
Tampa Bay 4:58, Dan Boyle 1 (power play) (Filip Kuba, Vaclav Prospal)
Tampa Bay 12:26, Brad Richards 5 (unassisted)
Tampa Bay 15:29, Vincent Lecavalier 10 (Nikita Alexeev, Martin St. Louis)
Atlanta 19:28, Marian Hossa 14 (power play) (Glen Metropolit, Slava Kozlov)
Atlanta 8:56, Marian Hossa 15 (Slava Kozlov, Shane Hnidy)
Tampa Bay 13:23, Nikita Alexeev 6 (power play) (Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis)
Atlanta 17:16, Steve Rucchin 3 (Slava Kozlov, Niclas Havelid)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
(Springfield Falcons release)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired center Daniel Corso from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for right wing Darren Reid, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Corso, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound native of Montreal, Quebec, has appeared in six games with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League this season. He has scored two goals and recorded four assists with an even plus/minus rating in his first season with the Phantoms. He spent the 2005-06 season with the Frankfurt Lions, recording 11 goals and 17 assists in 29 games. Corso ranked fourth on the team in points and goals.