NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-23-11 Panthers at Lightning

God even hates Panthers fans in preseason.

FLA-2
TB-5

Dwayne Roloson stopped 31 of 33 for the win. Hide the children and the silverware, old man Roli is back in town.

First Period
08:06 TB Ritola, (Kubina, Connolly)(PP)

Second Period
06:31 TB Shannon, (Kubina, Bergeron)(PP)
12:55 TB Shannon, (Stamkos, Clark)

Third Period
00:23 TB Ashton, (Brewer)
04:20 FLA Skille, (Robak)(PP)
16:20 FLA Repik, (Robak, Derlyuk)
18:46 TB Lecavalier, (Purcell, Hedman)

As the Lightning move a little closer to icing their opening night lineup, now reading the tea leaves gets more interesting.

Carter Ashton and Brett Connolly each got over 14 minutes of ice time, while Cory Conacher, Dana Tyrell, and Blair Jones got less, especially Jones. Connolly and Conacher remain decisive underdogs, but the battle between Ashton, Tyrell, and Jones for positioning is fascinating. Boucher knows what he has in Tyrell, and to a lesser extent Jones. For Ashton to get himself a goal and play 14+ quality minutes is a key step for him in trying to establish a comfort level with Boucher.

And, then there's the matter of Mattias Ritola, who is a different player now than when Boucher had him in the lineup the first half of last season. He got over 14 minutes and quite a bit of PK ice time. Like Ashton, for him to get a goal and play 14+ quality minutes helps establish a comfort level with the coaching staff. I'd say he was probably the big winner on the night.

Box score from NHL.com.