NHL Game Night: 2/17/11 Red Wings at Lightning

Outclassed.

DET-6
TB-2

Dwayne Roloson allowed 6 goals on 31 shots in the loss.

First Period
06:40 DET Cleary (18), Lidstrom (34), Zetterberg (45)(PP)
14:57 DET Datsyuk (15), Cleary (14), Kronwall (18)

Second Period
11:51 TB Hedman (3), Gagne (10)
14:38 TB Downie (8), Stamkos (35), St Louis (48)
16:34 DET Kronwall (10), Zetterberg (46), Lidstrom (35)(PP)
18:00 DET Abdelkader (4), Holmstrom (13), Kindl (1)

Third Period
11:39 DET Datsyuk (16), Hudler (19), Cleary (15)
18:09 DET Helm (7), unassisted

That was tough to take. The Lightning seemed preoccupied with the mystique of this game from the start and weren't minding the details of their system. So, they looked tactically impotent for most of the first half of the hockey game. They were generating no zone time and few chances, and Detroit hopped out to a 2-0 lead by playing meat and potatoes hockey by getting pucks on net and get traffic and rebounds. Hedman made a good individual play to get it to 2-1 and the Lightning started to generate more pressure and chances and got it to 2-2 pretty quickly. At that point, hope abounded that the Lightning could at least get a point out of the night. But a questionable goaltender interference call on Lecavalier was converted by the Wings and then the bottom fell out. That's the Achilles heel of this Lightning club, in my mind. They can't seem to apply their system and maintain focus for 60 minutes. They're good enough to be a very good regular season team even though they only play their best 30-40 minutes at a time, but it seems unlikely you can survive very long in the playoffs with that lack of mental discipline to do the little things at top speed for a full 60 minutes, and sometimes more, every game.

The good news is that it's February, and not April, and this is 1 game of 82 and not 1 game in a 7 game series. Yes, it's disappointing that the team wasn't as competitive against the Wings as they might've liked (I believe they tied 1-1 in Detroit in 2004 in the Cup season), but there's a lot of hockey left to play, and I suspect Steve Yzerman may well be on the lookout for a little more veteran leadership for this group now after what he witnessed tonight.

Michael Vernace was -1 in 7:50 of ice time.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.