NHL Game Night: 3-27-10 Lightning at Sabres

Season over.

TB-1
BUF-7

Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 6 shots for the loss before being lifted for Mike Smith, who allowed 4 goals on 20 shots the rest of the way.

The Lightning are 8 points out of 8th with 7 games remaining, so it's getting to the point where the playoffs are extremely improbable statistically. When your best defenseman is Mike Lundin, you've got problems. It's just bizarre the way that several of the young forwards have progressed this season. Steve Downie got his 21st of the season tonight and Steven Stamkos has obviously been unconscious all year. But, these young d-men have not really progressed. Hedman has slid backward. Meszaros continues to steal money. Matt Smaby appears to have been banished to Chateau au Bow Wow. The only guy who has progressed has been Lundin, and somewhere off with Ricky Williams and Dave Chappelle, Paul Ranger has to be glad he isn't stuck in the middle of this. The goaltending, I believe, is a personnel issue. The defense is, in my mind, both a personnel and a coaching issue (and, in fairness, the Lightning have been struck with injuries again late in the year).

I hope, at some point soon, the decision to move at least Mark Parrish and possibly also Paul Szczechura down to Norfolk with the Admirals just 2 points out of a playoff spot. The Lightning's chances are a lost cause. The Admirals are one good weekend away from being back in the dance.

Dear Vincent Lecavalier: if you're going to retaliate on someone, do it with your fists, not with your stick. Please. The latter gets you suspended.

Big Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 12:10 of ice time. I doubt that's the effort he needed to get himself penciled into next year's plans.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.