Man, Columbus is dreadful.
Mathieu Garon allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the win.
TB Angelidis (1), (unassisted), 13:20
CBJ Lebda (1), (Brassard, Umberger), 15:07
TB Lecavalier (19), (Gervais, St. Louis)(PP), 8:19
TB St. Louis (12), (Lecavalier), 16:56
CBJ Johansen (9), (Umberger), 5:40
TB Thompson (5), (Moore, Smith), 11:29
Columbus is horrible. If the Lightning had a more functional power play or if Curtis Sanford had been a little worse, the Lightning would've easily doubled their margin of victory. It's a nice win to have going into the All-Star Break, but they're terrible. They looked like a Junior A team, at times.
The Lightning probably will get a slew of guys back from injury after the break. That's good, because Norfolk's just about down to the popcorn vendors as far as their roster goes.
Brett Connolly had 1 hit in 6:43.
Trevor Smith had an assist and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:39. Here's a guy making a move to try and stick. At a bare minimum, he's getting quality minutes on tape for other NHL teams to evaluate.
Evan Oberg had 1 hit in 1:21 in his debut after being called up from the Delta Airlines Frequent Flyer Club.
Mike Angelidis had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 4:01. It was a soft as hell goal, but no one deserved that moment more than a hard working guy like Angelidis.
Finally, Pierre-Cedric Labrie was -1 with 3 hits in 5:01.
I'd like to thank Mike Smith for still being Mike Smith.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the rare win.
TB Stamkos (32), (St. Louis, Moore), 12:02
TB Purcell (12), (Downie, Kubina), 15:39
TB St. Louis (11), (Smith, Labrie), 6:15
PHO Korpikoski (11), (Gordon)(SH), 8:29
TB Downie (8), (Lecavalier), 16:39
PHO Yandle (6), (Korpikoski, Whitney), 3:25
PHO Whitney (15), (Ekman-Larsson, Doan)(PP), 16:01
The Lightning didn't have nearly the jump they had last night against Dallas, but they didn't require quite the same effort against Mike Smith, who allowed 4 goals on just 21 shots, including the gift to Steve Downie that ended up being the winner.
Brett Connolly was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 7:18.
Trevor Smith had a beautiful assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 8:25. His saucer pass to Martin St. Louis to spring him on his breakaway goal was a breathtaking little display of skill. Nice.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had his first NHL point on an assist and he was +1 with 3 shots in 6:30. You get the feeling he's quickly becoming sort of the unofficial team mascot. It's hard not to root for the guy.
Streaking Lightning extinguish Stars. (Cliche headlines are fun.)
Mathieu Garon allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. He shook off a little collision in the middle of the game to handle his business.
TB Purcell (10), (St. Louis, Gervais), 18:48
DAL Wandell (3), (Eriksson), 1:22
TB Purcell (11), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 3:36
Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis were the game's first and second stars.
Karri Lehtonen saved the Stars from getting blown out early. The Lightning played one of their best periods of the season in the first, and their puck movement on the power play, in particular, was dazzling. They deserved to have a bigger lead going into the third and it was a relief that they held onto their 1 goal margin.
Brett Connolly had 4 penalty minutes in 6:28 and they were kind of lazy penalties. Bad rookie. Bad.
Trevor Smith had 2 hits in 4:41. Norfolk would like to clone him and send one of the two back to them right now.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 4 hits and a fight in 6:01. For those of you who were making a point to exalt Blair Jones' physical play even though he was averaging 1 hit a night: this is the kind of a stat line a 4th line lumberjack needs to put up. Keep chopping wood, Pierre-Cedric. He showed some nice technique on the short punches in close quarters at the start of the brawl with Nystrom.
Heroes (just for one day).
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the victory.
TB Lecavalier (18), (Gilroy, St. Louis), 7:11
BOS Horton (15), (unassisted), 4:28
TB Pyatt (5), (Downie, Gilroy), 14:11
BOS Horton (16), (Ference, Krejci), 16:48
TB Malone (10), (Moore, Thompson), 4:58
BOS Paille (8), (Chara, Seidenberg)(SH), 10:53
TB Moore (4), (Malone, Downie), 16:15
TB Stamkos (31), (Lecavalier)(EN), 19:39
It took 44 games before the Lightning finally started to play with some pride in the 45th. 1 game in 45 isn't going to fix everything that's gone wrong, but tonight the Lightning are heroes once again.
Brett Connolly had 2 shots and 1 hit in 6:45.
Trevor Smith was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 4:53.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 5 hits in 3:35. Now, that's the kind of production the Lightning signed him for.
The Lightning squander a rare opportunity to begin to turn their season around.
Mathieu Garon allowed 5 goals on 43 shots for the loss. The inability to make key saves in the third period when the club desperately needed them may have contributed to the writing of their obituary this year.
PIT Neal (23), (Martin, Malkin)(PP), 2:43
PIT Park (3), (unassisted), 10:38
PIT Neal (24), (Malkin, Sullivan)(PP), 0:34
TB Gilroy (1), (Stamkos, St. Louis), 2:00
TB Malone (9), (Lecavalier, Purcell)(PP), 4:53
TB Purcell (9), (Lecavalier, Gervais), 6:50
PIT Malkin (19), (unassisted), 7:38
PIT Malkin (20), (Orpik), 9:27
PIT Malkin (21), (unassisted)(EN), 19:04
Vincent Lecavalier was the game's third star. I've been waiting for the kind of emotional outburst he showed in the third period today chasing down Malkin and throwing some fisticuffs. Frustration? Sure. But the Lightning are too robotic, and they need more than just Steve Downie to show a little fire. I didn't mind it. I wouldn't mind seeing more of it, in fact.
A 3 goal lead in the third period, as I've said many times, should be a death sentence in pro hockey. And, if you manage to be the team that overcomes such a deficit to win that slim 1 in 100 times it happens, well, it can have a lasting positive effect on a team's confidence. The Lightning desperately needed the kind of bounce in faith they would've gotten from completing their comeback from 3-0 down this afternoon. And, they were right there. It was there for the taking. The failure to convert the opportunity may have been the final nail in the coffin of the team's playoff hopes this year. They needed that. Badly.
Brett Connolly had 1 hit in 7:08. He's been playing hard and he's been close to creating chances, but they're not quite there for Brett like they were early in the season.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and 5 for fighting in 2:48. That's the kind of stat line I expected to see.
You know, if you don't start every game in a 2,3, or 4 goal hole, you don't need to try to make a miracle comeback.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for the loss.
WSH Ovechkin (18), (Johansson, Wideman)(PP), 3:52
WSH Brouwer (12), (Semin, Wideman)(PP), 5:45
WSH Brouwer (13), (Laich, Knuble), 5:25
TB Pyatt (4), (St. Louis), 17:06
TB Stamkos (30), (Malone, Lecavalier)(PP), 16:34
WSH Brouwer (14), (Laich, Halpern)(EN), 19:00
TB Lecavalier (17), (St. Louis, Purcell), 19:49
It seems like every game this month has been an exercise in taking the first 20 minutes off and then trying to come back in the last 20. You can't survive on a half or a third of a game's effort. It doesn't work that way.
Brett Connolly had a hit in 8:43.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 3 hits in 7:04.
This season Bolt Prospects introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their on-ice contributions. There are no trophies or plaques, but we did have a medal in mind for this one since weâ€™re late with the announcement.
Quite simply, we wanted to highlight prospects throughout the year to help fans get better acquainted with the next round of Lightning stars while recognizing the prospectâ€™s achievement on the ice.
This weekâ€™s BP Prospect of the Week award goes to â€¦ Brett Connolly, Team Canada.
It's sad to think with 40 games left to play the season may already be effectively over.
CAR Ruutu (15), (Staal, Tlusty), 3:27
CAR Tlusty (8), (Staal), 4:41
TB Thompson (4), (unassisted), 14:36
CAR Harrison (6), (Ruutu, Faulk), 15:10
CAR Tlusty (9), (Staal, Ruutu), 16:18
TB Purcell (8), (Gervais, Stamkos), 2:49
CAR Brent (5), (Stewart, Harrison), 13:41
It's time for Steve Yzerman to throw the switch and to begin working the phones as a seller. If there was a team in the NHL I could've hand picked for the Lightning to get a win tonight, it would've been the Carolina Hurricanes. Even in their darkest hours, the Lightning have always seemed to torment Carolina. To get blown out 5-2 at home by a club they've effectively owned is a pretty prominent red flag that indicates the comeback in the standings isn't coming.
There are a lot of veterans on this team that will be unrestricted free agents who shouldn't be back next season that should be converted into draft picks and mid-level prospects. There's still more players that the Lightning need to make a decision about, because there are passengers on this roster. Not everyone is taking a beating like Steve Downie to try to win hockey games, and those players deserve scrutiny.
Last, it's time for some youth. It's time to give Brett Connolly more ice time. It's time to give a look to guys like Carter Ashton and Mark Barberio who are currently in the minors. The 2012-2013 season begins now, and the next 40 games should be devoted to finding a mix for next season that can go out and get this Lightning team back to the elite status we thought they were headed toward at the end of last season.
Connolly had 2 shots and 1 hit in 9:44. He's been in the 9-10 minute range since returning to the team from the WJC's. The way I see it, he needs to be playing with Stamkos and/or Lecavalier the next 40 games on a scoring line. Prepare him for next season. And, if he plays well, he'll make certain guys who aren't carrying their weight as alleged scoring threats even more expendable.
A glimmer of hope, but still no result.
Dwayne Roloson allowed 4 goals on 28 shots and 1 of 3 in the shootout for the penalty shot session loss.
VAN Edler (7), (Sulzer, H. Sedin), 2:36
VAN Hansen (13), (Hamhuis)(SH), 8:16
TB Stamkos (29), (Malone, Bergeron), 10:12
VAN Malhotra (4), (Duco, Ballard), 12:27
TB Lecavalier (16), (Stamkos, Gilroy), 19:28
VAN Kesler (12), (Raymond, Hodgson), 19:58
TB Downie (7), (Kubina, St. Louis), 6:14
TB Malone (8), (St. Louis, Lecavalier), 18:59
Tonight was the halfway point of the season, and the prognosis is ugly, on paper. The team is 3 games under .500 and 8 points out of the final playoff spot in the East with 5 teams ahead of them that the Lightning need to jump over. It's bad. But, a comeback like tonight to force overtime gives a glimmer of hope. I wondered if this team had given up after falling down 2-0 in the first period. It might've been easy for them to lay down then. It'd be just as easy to lay down at 4-2 on the crippling goal by Kesler at the end of the second period. The team still pressed on, though, and so there's a tiny bit of life in Tampa Bay yet.
Brendan Mikkelson had a decent debut in a modest amount of ice time. There's something to work with there. He does skate well and he's got more willingness to pop people than had been advertised. You can see why Yzerman pulled the trigger to get him. That said, between Mikkelson, Gilroy, and Gervais: eat a little, boys. Drop by Babe's Pizza in Brandon after practice some time. Sweet mercy. Pavel Kubina sweats more weight off in a game than those three weigh combined, I'm fairly certain. Mario Larocque thinks they're skinny.
Vincent Lecavalier pulls into the halfway mark on a pace for 32 goals and 60 points. 32 goals would be his best output since 2007-2008. He's not what he was, but he's not a bum, either. I think the hyperbole about him being a glorified third liner at this stage of his career is a bit much.
Steven Stamkos is on a pace for 58 goals and 94 points. 60 and 100 isn't out of the question with all the home games the Lightning have coming up.
What's sad is, at their current paces, Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie, Ryan Malone, and Dominic Moore combined will only have 50 goals. So, Stammer's the equivalent of 4 mortal men, thus far. The secondary scoring has got to improve.
Brett Connolly was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:33.
Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss.
TB Lecavalier (15), (Moore, Brewer), 3:24
MTL Blunden (1), (Gill, Darche), 5:44
MTL Pacioretty (12), (Subban), 7:17
MTL Cole (17), (Desharnais, Pacioretty)(PP), 19:43
Vincent Lecavalier was named the game's third star.
The Lightning knew this was a make-or-break road trip and after going 0-for-3 on this swing through Canada, it looks like the season may be broken. They're now 9 points out of 8th place, and while they have a ton of home games coming up, the fact is they need to be well above .500 on the road the rest of the way too to make up the gap. Getting swept on road trips through Ontario and Quebec is only going to guarantee a top-10 pick at the draft at this point.
New acquisition Brendan Mikkelson did not suit up for the Lightning.
Brett Connolly was +1 with 2 shots in 12:13 in his return from the Canadian junior team.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 1 hit in 3:41 in his NHL debut. Congratulation to Pierre-Cedric for making it to the show.