November 10, 2011 joe 0
Really is a shame Tuesday’s tilt against Toronto wasn’t televised locally as the Lightning’s 4-0 shutout win proved a nice little bounce back from the team’s rather taxing trip out West.
The goals were spectacular, the play in between them solid, safe and smart with the boys benefiting from early scoring and a surplus of momentum that sent the Maple Leafs scrambling and looking for the very semblance of structure.
It was a group effort this one and a confidence booster no doubt as the Bolts got back to basics and the Guy Boucher-style of play that’s served them so well this season.
Totally Hot: Steven Stamkos’ smokin’ shot from the point to give the Lightning the early lead on a first period power play (textbook set-up from Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier duly noted) and that marvelous mid-air marker he backhanded into the twine off a Mattias Ohlund rebound. Nate Thompson cornering the puck down low, dishing it out to Mike Lundin at the blueline and then crashing Casa de Giguere to score just 29 seconds after Stamkos in the opening frame. Dan Ellis with a pair of phenomenal point blank saves on Tyler Bozak around the 38-minute mark en route to his second shutout of the season.
Totally Not: Gotta be a tad nit picky here since there wasn’t a whole lot to not like about this game. Perhaps the boy’s shot discrepancy in that they produced more shots in the first (14) than in the second and third periods combined (7 and 4, respectively) and were outshot by Toronto (28-25) despite dominating the majority of the tilt. Then again, the Bolts made the shots they did have count and so, we’re back to square one…
Total Buzzkill: The inklings of a snoozefest trap the Lightning kinda sorta adopted in the second and third periods.
Give Me This Game, I’ll Give You One Word: ReassuringMore
November 7, 2011 joe 0
Clearly the Bolts are ailing as they head home from a relatively brutal west coast swing on the heels of their second regulation loss in as many games.
And though the final score of 5-2 may speak volumes about San Jose’s scoring prowess, it only whispers of Mike Smith’s quality performance in net (disciplined and quiet and, all things considered, particularly marvelous if you ask me).
Afraid this one got away from the Lightning early on when an uncharacteristic Steven Stamkos giveaway in the first resulted in a shorthanded screamer from Patrick Marleau (who also had a power play goal). It got the Sharks on the board and set the tone for what would become an exercise in timely scoring and opportunistic play.
As the CSN broadcast crew so adeptly (and rather hilariously) predicted, the keys to a San Jose victory would be: 1. Relax, 2. Discipline and 3. A goal would be nice.
Words to live by for the Bolts as they rest, regroup and lick the wounds of defeat.
Totally Hot: Stamkos redeeming himself from that ugly first period oops by scoring one doozy of a power play goal late in the third and putting a rocket on net for the Marty St. Louis deflection that accounted for Tampa Bay’s only other tally. Antero Niittymaki (hard not to root for one of the nicest guys in the game, though I would’ve loved to have seen this kind of outing from him vs. another team). The Sharks’ lethal power play…hot damn can they move that puck or what?
Totally Not: Absentee dogging of the puck in the second. Defensive letdowns up the wazoo. And the relative ease with which the Sharks set up low in the Lightning zone and got pucks on net.
Total Buzzkill: The resurfacing of the life-sucking penalty. It’s baaaack.
Give Me This Game, I’ll Give You One Word: Hurting
By AMANDA HARRIS
November 12, 2010 joe 0
The Bolts did as Guy Boucher asked last night, minimizing trips to the penalty box and putting at least 40 pucks on net (41 to be exact).
There was finally a conversion on the power play (thank you, Ryan Malone) and Steven Stamkos scored (and racked up an assist) to remain atop the NHL leader board, though Alexander Semin, with a rather gutting hat trick, is now nipping at his heels in the goal department.
But they still lost.
And it sucks because the end result (6-3) doesn’t reflect the little scoring tit-for-tat the boys had going on right up until the game broke open late in the third.
Despite some major mishaps on D (try not to screen your own goalie guys), the Bolts were still in this one, trailing 4-3 with roughly seven minutes left in regulation. And then Alex Ovechkin decided to show up, striking on a delayed penalty call and sealing Tampa Bay’s fate (Semin’s empty netter only serving to punctuate the final line score).
Totally Hot: The amount of action the guys had going on in front of the Capitals’ net in the opening frame (the crossbar and right post ringy ding dinging). Super solid play from Sean Bergenheim (team-high eight shots and an assist), Dominic Moore, Marty St. Louis and the entire Nate Thompson line. Adam Hall answering for Mike Lundin and taking on Matt Bradley after the Capitals winger munched Lundin along the boards.
Totally Not: Defensive. Breakdowns. The kind that result in breakaways and unmarked Caps and Washington goals. Boo.More
November 9, 2010 joe 0
Can’t miss Lightning news you can use from in and around the blogosphere, webnets, and MSM
Unsung Hero?: Damien Cox of theToronto Star on the Jeff Vinik-Steve Yzerman era in Tampa and why the Lightning organization may want to show a little love for former GM Brian Lawton.
The Bolts will still lose buckets of money this season, but the overall tone of what’s happening in Tampa seems to be positive, and much of that has to do with [Steve] Yzerman’s presence and sterling reputation in the industry.
That said, much of what Yzerman has been able to accomplish in the first quarter of the season was because of what was accomplished over the previous two seasons by the former GM, Brian Lawton, who was fired at the end of last season by [Jeff] Vinik.
Really, he’s benefitted from the stability of a deep-pocketed new owner and the foundation established by Lawton, particularly in getting the Lightning on the same draft-and-develop path as the Penguins, Capitals, Blackhawks, Kings and Blues…
White Lightning: Steven Stamkos let Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski down gently when the editor extraordinaire offered up this humdinger of a nickname proposal during a recent interview with the NHL’s resident stud muffin.
Apparently, ‘Stammer’ suits him just fine, as does an off-season chock full of excruciating workouts with “Scary Gary” Roberts, the Lightning’s newfound stability, ‘star’ players occasionally dropping the gloves, and imbibing in that Canadian classic, the Caesar (when back home, north of the border, of course).
Under 100: Those familiar with the Dan Ellis Twitter saga of early September will no doubt appreciate this Ellis-centric game preview offered up by Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets.
Seeing as the Bolts take on Toronto later tonight and Ellis is expected to start between the pipes, this soon-to-be hip-hop anthem (set to the tune of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”) is the no-brainer of warm-ups songs if ever there were one.More
November 6, 2010 joe 0
Many many apologies for the tardiness of this post. Life kicked me in the ass this week, albeit in a very, very good way, and between work and hockey and commuting to work and Lightning hockey…well, you get the picture.
My hope is you’ll cut me some slack (at least this one time), though I do invite you to unleash the beast if you find this seeming afterthought completely inexcusable.
Either way, here we go…
First up, let’s tackle those mighty Ducks and that nasty little habit they have of beating the Bolts in overtime in Anaheim in the month of November.
Not a fun one to watch as the boys blew a 2-1 lead late in the third to force the extended frame. Sure they got a point (on the road, no less) but Steven Stamkos’ power play goal wasn’t nearly as pretty as his dazzling marker last year and the degree to which the team got worked on all three Anaheim tallies was a wee bit embarrassing.
It was perimeter hockey much of the time with everyone bottling up along the boards and a haphazard opponent traipsing right through the middle. As the astute Lightning fan to my left pointed out, this was a classic case of the team playing down to it’s opponent.
Totally Hot: Brett Clark and Dan Ellis. The second and third period wake-up call that saw the group crawl back from a rather pathetic first period not-quite-effort.
Totally Not: Absolutely nothing doing during the early extended power play opportunity (and I mean nothing). Victor Hedman looking more than a tad bit lost in his own end and generally having what I would call a ‘rough go of it”. That too many men penalty in the first.
Total Buzzkill: Two (as in dos, deux, a pair, a couple) shots in the first period.
…. And now on to Staples Center where the Bolts lost in regulation for just the third time this season.
Despite the final score, this was by far the Lightning’s better game of the back-to-back series here on the left coast and could even be described as rather playoffesque. The crowd of nearly 19,000 was pumped, Drew Doughty was finally back on the ice for the Kings and Tampa Bay was seeking redemption from the previous evening’s OT defeat.
It was a duel between the best-of in each conference and the action didn’t disappoint with physicality at the forefront (I’m not sure the glass ever stopped swaying during this one). In the end, it was the Kings’ ability to capitalize on a Lightning guffaw and the fact the southland squad brought just a bit more ‘tude that proved the difference makers.
Totally Hot: Mike Smith keeping the team in it right up to the final buzzer, looking a bit like he did when he first came over from Dallas with more than a few snazzy saves and his athleticism between the pipes on full display. The boys playing with backbone (many gutting it out through injury and illness) in a 60-minute total-group effort. A righteous penalty kill that all but shut down L.A. at the Lightning blueline, limiting shots and scoring chances. Jonathan Quick who played lights out for the Kings en route to the shutout. A fantastic showing from the Lightning’s SoCal fan contingent (it’s not just me out here folks, really) with everything from full-on face paint to jerseys galore (Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos, Thompson and yes, even a Meszaros sighting).
Totally Not: Some very disjointed power play units (still). The unfortunate yet entirely preventable turnover that led to the GWG. Mattias Ohlund face-planting Dustin Brown into the boards from behind (it happened right in front of me and though I can’t say for sure Brown didn’t turn seconds before impact, Ohlund should know better). The Kings’ relentless and repeated attempts to rile Steve Downie, the third period cross-check sandwich they put him in and that cheap cheap shot Willie Mitchell got away with once the zebra’s stepped in.
Total Buzzkill: Some very one-sided officiating.
Give Me These Games, I’ll Give You Two (maybe three) Words: Work-in-Progress
By AMANDA HARRIS