NHL Game Night 11-27: Rangers at Lightning

Quite simply the best game the Lightning have played this season.

NYR-1
TB-5

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory.

First Period
TB 6:54, Stamkos 16 (St Louis, Hedman)
TB 19:24, Foster 2 (St Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)

Second Period
TB 8:05, Downie 3 (St Louis, Stamkos)(PP)
TB 12:25, Szczechura 1 (Wright, Walker)

Third Period
TB 8:24, Foster 3 (Konopka)
NYR 17:53, Callahan 4 (Anisimov, Staal)

The Lightning have struggled to get shots on goal, and they finally got to 30 tonight (31) even with the Rangers blocking quite a few shots (14). If the Lightning can get up over 30 shots a game consistently, I believe they're going to start scoring 3-4 goals a night and they've got enough goaltending to make it stand up.

More than just the shots and the goals, though, I thought the Lightning also physically handled the Rangers. Walker and Konopka both treated Brian Boyle like a speed bag with eyes and the Lightning outhit the Rangers 15-13.

One other thing: Recent BoltProspects graduate Steve Downie and Kurtis Foster are really coming on lately. Downie, in particular, has an unbelievable knack for breaking up passes and clearing attempts along the wall. He's a lot like fellow little guy Martin St. Louis in that respect.

Zenon Konopka had an assist and was +1 with 17 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:16. He was also 75% on draws, including the clean win that got him the helper on Foster's second goal. More than that, though, he landed a couple of nice bombs on Brian Boyle after Boyle made a dangerous hit on young Mr. Wright.

Paul Szczechura got his nose bloodied and then responded with a 1 goal, +1 performance with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and he was 69% on draws in 14:34. It was his best game of the season, and given the circumstances Coach Tocchet may want to take a stick and pop Chewey square in the nose before every game.

James Wright had a helper and was +1 in 13:55.

Victor Hedman had 1 assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 21:33. He's looked a little lost without Ohlund, but he played a strong, workmanlike game tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.