NHL Game Night 12/18: Avalanche at Lightning

Tomorrow's headline tonight: Lightning Hosed by Idiot Referees.

COL-2
TB-1 (SO)

Mike Smith stopped 32 of 33 shots and 2 of 2 shooters in the shootout session, only to have the referee make a bogus call to award the Avs a shootout goal they didn't deserve to saddle him with the shootout loss.

First Period
03:46 COL Stastny (9), (Smyth, Hejduk)

Second Period
07:35 TB Halpern (1), (Malik, Meszaros)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
COL- The Referees
TB- NONE

Mike Smith made an absolutely amazing athletic play after missing on the poke check and then going Gumby to his blocker on Milan Hedjuk's shootout bid, and dropped his stick in the process. Now, that is the kind of athletic play the NHL wants to see from its netminders in the shootout after a great goaltender duel all game long between Smith and Raycroft. And then these referees decide that they're going to award Hedjuk a goal based on Smith "throwing his stick?" It's a joke. I thought Rick Tocchet was going to beat the ref to death. He should've. Of all the ways I've seen to lose a game, that's a new one. It surpasses the baloney Chara eye-level bat-in against Boston a couple of years back. It's the new gold standard for poor officiating costing the Lightning a game.

Oh, and Jussi Jokinen is useless. Please, for the love of all that's holy, let the fat trimming include #36.

Paul Szczechura was +1 in 13:12 with 2 shots and 2 hits. And he was dynamite as usual.

Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and was 33% on draws in 9:15, and he had one terrible shift in the third period with two turnovers and never saw the ice again in the game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.