NHL Game Night: 1-15-12 Penguins at Lightning

The Lightning squander a rare opportunity to begin to turn their season around.

PIT-6
TB-3

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.

First Period
PIT Neal (23), (Martin, Malkin)(PP), 2:43
PIT Park (3), (unassisted), 10:38

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
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.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.