NHL Game Night: 10/9/10 Thrashers at Lightning

I'll reiterate what I said in the first preseason game: so far so good.

ATL-3
TB-5

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the win. He'll never win style points for the way he tends goal, but as long as he keeps the pucks he should stop out of the net, this Lightning team should have enough offense to win hockey games for him.

First Period
TB 5:23, Downie 1 (PP) (Malone, Clark)
TB 8:21, Moore 1 (Purcell, Bergenheim)

Second Period
TB 2:20, Lecavalier 1 (PP) (St. Louis, Stamkos)
TB 5:21, Stamkos 1 (Hedman, Downie)
ATL 16:31, Enstrom 1 (PP) (Bergfors, Ladd)
ATL 18:12, Eager 1 (unassisted)

Third Period
ATL 7:41, Thorburn 1 (Sopel, Eager)
TB 10:59, Stamkos 2 (Jones)

Steven Stamkos, Steve Downie, and Vincent Lecavalier were the game's three stars. The NHL should be absolutely terrified of the concept of Stamkos and Lecavalier getting on track early this season. Also, reports of Steve Downie's demise in the post-Tocchet era appear to have been greatly, greatly exaggerated.

Going into the season, I think we all had a sense that the pride and professionalism were returning to Tampa Bay with the circus leaving town and Mr. Vinik coming in as owner. Tonight was the first time that sense translated into something tangible on the ice. The team is offensively explosive and looks deeper than at any time since, well, ever. How far they will go will ultimately be a function of the goaltending they will get, but if these netminders can make the stops they should make, this club should be in good shape.

The great thing about tonight's game, similar the the Admirals' game down on the farm, is that they can take a lot of offensive confidence away from the game but they made enough mistakes that Coach Boucher is going to be able to continue to keep on his club and keep them from complacency going into Wednesday's game against Montreal. And, you know, Coach Boucher has this Montreal game circled on the calendar and is not going to allow his team to go into his first game against his hometown team and in front of the Canadian media flat and overly impressed with themselves.

Dana Tyrell was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:44 in his NHL debut.

Michael Vernace had 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:04 in his Lightning debut.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.