Must win game gets won.
Dan Ellis allowed 2 goals on 36 shots in the win.
19:59 Stamkos (16), St Louis (13), Malone (8)(PP)
12:49 TB Clark (3), St Louis (14), Stamkos (14)(PP)
17:26 NYI Moulson (7), Konopka (1)
18:31 TB St Louis (8), Downie (7), Lundin (4)
18:52 NYI Tavares (7), Moulson (5), Wisniewski (12)
19:44 TB Thompson (2), unassisted(EN)
Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars. I don't know what the Isles ever did to Marty, but he seems to relish ripping their hearts out and stomping on them. He's filthy in the third period of close games against the Isles.
This was a crucial win for the Lightning to arrest any potential feefall while trying to get healthy. They've got Downie back, Gagne's back in practice, and Lecavalier's about 4.5 weeks out. So they can't lose to the handful of teams they should pound in the meantime, like the Islanders, and they didn't tonight.
Mattias Ritola had 7 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 2 hits, and was 75% on draws in 5:09. His major penalty was for charging.
Johan Harju had 1 shot and 1 hit in 6:41. I thought Johan showed a little more of his defensive game tonight, helping his line clog up the neutral zone.
Dana Tyrell was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 9:28.
If it weren't for bad luck, the Lightning would have no luck, right now.
Dan Ellis allowed 3 goals on 17 shots for the loss.
07:16 MIN Clutterbuck (6), Cullen (11), Havlat (10)(PP)
11:31 TB St Louis (7), Clark (4), Stamkos (13)(PP)
12:55 MIN Madden (3), Havlat (11), Zidlicky (5)
19:30 MIN Miettinen (4), Brunette (6), Koivu (12)(PP)
19:11 MIN Nystrom (1), unassisted(EN)
Martin St. Louis was the game's third star.
Despite outshooting Minnesota 38-18, the Lightning didn't generate as many chances as the lopsided shot totals might suggest. People thinking it's easy to absorb losing a player like Vincent Lecavalier out of your lineup, and especially off your power play, should take notice.
Mattias Ritola had 1 shot in 10:57 and was 43% on draws.
Johan Harju was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 9:10. He was soft a couple of times along the wall, weakly moving a puck blindly to a Minny point man on one play and meekly moving a puck along in the neutral zone on another. Other than blind passes to the middle of the ice, that's the quickest way I know of to get an NHL coach to send you back down.
Dana Tyrell played a very quiet 8:56.
The Lightning's MASH unit finally collapsed in the final eight minutes of the game.
Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 20 shots for the loss. One softie.
08:01 PIT Dupuis (5), Letang (13), Talbot (2)
08:28 PIT Goligoski (4), Rupp (3), Letestu (5)
05:30 TB Stamkos (15), St Louis (12), Purcell (7)(PP)
12:12 PIT Talbot (3), unassisted
16:44 PIT Crosby (11), Dupuis (3)
18:50 PIT Engelland (1), Crosby (13), Kunitz (5)
It's tough to go into a game without three of your best forwards (Gagne, Lecavalier, and Downie) battle to within an eyelash of tying the game at 2-2, and see it disintegrate in the final eight minutes. There's been no shame in the way the Lightning have played the past couple of nights, but psychologically Guy Boucher has his work cut out for him to reinstill their confidence.
Mattias Ritola was -1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:51.
Johan Harju was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:54. He got stronger as the game progressed after looking lost in the first period. He'll be fine with a little more experience under his belt.
The Lightning played a lot better than the score indicates.
Dan Ellis allowed 5 goals on 25 shots for the loss. I didn't think he played as poorly as his stat line indicates, either.
09:27 TB Purcell (2), Bergenheim (4), Thompson (4)
02:21 WSH Poti (1), Semin (8), Backstrom (11)
07:51 WSH Knuble (3), Laich (7), Fleischmann (4)
02:43 TB Malone (2), St Louis (10), Stamkos (12)(PP)
04:33 WSH Semin (10), Backstrom (12), Ovechkin (13)(PP)
10:46 WSH Semin (11), Backstrom (13), Ovechkin (14)
12:43 TB Stamkos (14), Moore (2), St Louis (11)
15:08 WSH Ovechkin (9), Semin (9), Schultz (4)
19:44 WSH Semin (12), Backstrom (14), Carlson (7)(EN)
It's tough. They outshot the Caps 41-26 in the game and were about even, I imagine, in chances. Their guys beared down on their chances. The Lightning didn't. This could've been a 6-3 game in favor of the Lightning pretty easily if they got the bounces. I'll take the effort the Lightning gave tonight on most nights. The big drama now, though, is what the fallout will be from Vincent Lecavalier not touching the ice in the third period. Injured? Benched? We shall see.
UPDATE: Lecavalier broke his right hand and is out indefinitely.
Mattias Ritola was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 13:20.
Dana Tyrell was -2 in 11:14 with 1 shot. He seemed off tonight.
The Lightning made Toronto look like an AHL team, and it wasn't nearly Tampa Bay's best effort.
Dan Ellis stopped all 28 shots he faced for the shutout. He made key saves when the Lightning needed them to make sure the Leafs didn't sustain a comeback surge. Very good effort.
11:10 TB Stamkos (12), St Louis (9), Lecavalier (6)(PP)
11:39 TB Thompson (1), Lundin (3), Tyrell (1)
19:13 TB Moore (5), Jones (4), Malone (7)
05:46 TB Stamkos (13), Hall (3),Ohlund (1)
Dan Ellis, Steven Stamkos, and Dominic Moore were the game's three stars. The Lightning got away with sleepwalking through the second period because they're just a superior team talent-wise relative to Toronto and because Ellis played well tonight. I suspect Boucher will not let the Lightning get to happy about this win, because they didn't play as well as the scoreboard indicates. Still, it's a good way to snap a three game skid and, for the moment, climb back withing two points of the Caps in the division. To me that's the key. The Lightning need to maintain contact with Washington in the standings and hope they can win the balance of the head-to-head matches with Washington. If they do that, they can be a one or two seed in the East at season's end. And, what the Lightning should know from the 2003-2004 campaign is that being a top seed can really help you by giving you two easier rounds to get settled into the playoffs before the bombs start dropping in the conference finals.
Stupid Canadian media moment of the night: Sportsnet Canada's studio hosts claiming that the Lightning simply had to trade Steven Stamkos to Boston for draft picks. They must've smoked their body weight in dope before going on camera. Don't do drugs, kids, or you might end up as a studio host in Toronto being forced to watch 82 games of a horrible hockey team.
Mattias Ritola had 1 hit in 9:56. As I've said before, he's an NHLer from the blueline in.
Dana Tyrell had an assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 14:11. Another high intensity night for Dana. I liked it. He was a thorn in Toronto's side.
Bruised and out of gas.
12:16 SJ Marleau (5), (unassisted)(SH)
13:58 TB St Louis (6), Stamkos (11), Lecavalier (4)
15:26 SJ Marleau (6), Boyle (7), Demers (3)(PP)
11:27 SJ Heatley (6), Couture (1), Boyle (8)
17:27 SJ McCarthy (2), Mayers (2), Murray (3)
00:27 SJ Couture (5), Heatley (9)
18:13 TB Stamkos (11), Lecavalier (5), Clark (3)
With several players out hurt, and several others in the lineup dinged up, you could see the Lightning sag when it got to 3-1. It's been a tough roadtrip, with only three of a possible eight points gained. They'll have the opportunity now to get healthy and get back on schedule back home in Tampa Bay. It hurts a little bit, but this Lightning club hasn't been able to ice a regular lineup in a while, starting with Simon Gagne's injury. Once everyone returns the top two lines will settle in, the depth players will return to the bottom two lines, and everything will work itself out. The goaltending is still the only thing I'm truly concerned about.
Mattias Ritola was -1 with 1 shot in 9:09.
Dana Tyrell was scoreless in 11:49. The scorekeepers in San Jose must be blind, because I know I saw him throw at least one hit tonight.
Blair Jones was -1 in 7:41 and was 50% on 8 draws.
Couldn't get on the website last night.
Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 26 shots for the hard luck loss.
05:20 LA Williams (6), Smyth (5), Stoll (7)
Mattias Ritola had 1 hit in 10:53.
Mathieu Roy was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:22.
Dana Tyrell was -1 with 1 shot in 8:58.
Blair Jones had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:03. He was also 4/7 on draws.
Left a point on the ice.
Dan Ellis allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the overtime loss.
12:22 ANH Selanne (6), Perry (8), Visnovsky (8)(PP)
02:38 TB Jones (1), Malone (6), Purcell (6)
00:21 TB Stamkos (10), St Louis (8), Lecavalier (3)(PP)
15:40 ANH Palmieri (1), Ryan (6), Visnovsky (9)
02:53 ANH Getzlaf (5), Selanne (8), Lydman (3)
Maybe the Lightning didn't deserve to win based on just forty minutes of solid effort. They came out flat as a pancake in the first period, getting outshot 9-2 in the opening frame before carrying the balance of play with a 32-21 advantage the rest of the way. Still, they were in control and almost potted the insurance goal to make it 3-1 just before things went awry.
Mattias Ritola had 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:57.
Dana Tyrell played 11:11.
Blair Jones had a goal and was +1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 8:56. He was also 63% on draws. I want to believe this time Blair will stick.
Exceeding expectations thus far.
Dan Ellis stopped 23 shots for the shutout victory.
15:59 TB Ritola (1), Jones (1), Malone (5)
04:26 TB Hall (2), Thompson (3), Bergenheim (3)
14:38 TB Stamkos (9), Downie (6), Jones (3)
Dan Ellis and Steve Downie were the game's first and second stars.
When the season started, I had the aggressive goal of 14 points for the first 10 games in my mind. The team finishes the first 10 game set ahead of schedule at 7-3-1 with 15 points. That's outstanding. The next 10 game set is fairly brutal, though, so I'll be happy with 10 points in the second 10 game set of the year. Let's see if the Lightning can beat expectations again.
Mattias Ritola had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 8:06.
Dana Tyrell played 13:38.
Blair Jones had a helper and was +1 in 8:02. He was also 50% on 6 draws.
When the Lightning need a good luck charm, they put St. Pete Times Forum VP of Operations Mary Milne on the TV, and game winning goals ensue.
Dan Ellis stopped all 24 shots he faced after replacing Mike Smith to get the win. He was excellent controlling his rebounds, which is a new. Smitty, bless his heart, allowed 3 goals on 7 shots. He looked so good in his last start. It was surprising to see him fall off so quickly. The NHL should be scared to death of a time that will eventually come when the Lightning get some consistent goaltending.
02:51 TB Tyrell (1), Thompson (2), Kubina (3)
03:28 PIT Adams (1), Cooke (4), Orpik (1)(SH)
04:29 PIT Cooke (2), Letang (7), Adams (2)(SH)
12:15 PIT Dupuis (2), Adams (3), Crosby (6)
16:40 TB Purcell (1), Kubina (4), Ritola (1)
08:43 TB Lecavalier (3), St Louis (7), Stamkos (8)(PP)
06:40 TB St Louis (4), Downie (5), Stamkos (9)
19:29 TB St Louis (5), Stamkos (10)(EN)
Martin St. Louis, Dan Ellis, and Nate Thompson were the game's three stars. A lot of teams would've packed it in after giving up three unanswered goals to the Pens in the first period. Credit to Teddy Purcell for getting the Lightning back to within one. They were like a pack of hungry, wild dogs after that, seriously outchancing Pittsburgh in the final two frames.
Mattias Ritola had his first point with the Lightning, an assist, in 8:18. My initial impressions of Ritola! is that he wins the D. Affy award for being an NHLer from the opposing blueline in.
Dana Tyrell had his first NHL goal, two shots, and one blocked shot in 15:18. Here's what I liked about Dana tonight: it's human nature to relax a little after you've had some success. Dana seemed to work even harder after he got that goal, if that's possible.
Michael Vernace was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 3:23. In case your wondering, my back-of-the-envelope estimate is that Vernace made $1,567.71 for every minute he was on the ice tonight. Nice work if you can get it.
As I've been saying on the BoltProspects Message Board, my hope for the team was to get 14 points out of their first 10 games. That was an aggressive number for a team with a lot of new players and a new system, but it's the kind of start they really needed to get out of the chute well on a playoff push. They have 13 points through their first 9 games heading into Phoenix on Saturday. That's not a gimme, but they're definitely off to the kind of start they needed.