NHL Game Day 2/25: Penguins at Lightning

The Lightning just answered the bell with remarkable punctuality.

PIT-1
TB-5

Johan Holmqvist stopped 17 of 18 shots faced in the game for the victory. Consider that for a moment. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and all the impressive firepower the Pittsburgh Penguins can array the Tampa Bay Lightning shut them down and held them to a paltry 18 shots on goal. And Shane O'Brien hasn't yet added his particular talents to this defensive corps.

Brad Richards ran wild on Pittsburgh with 1 goal and 3 assists. Martin St. Louis added 1 goal and 1 assist while Richards' linemates, Eric Perrin and Ruslan Fedotenko, each had 2 assists. Vincent Lecavalier scored his league leading 41st goal, a shorthanded marker, Filip Kuba his 10th and Paul Ranger had his 4th talley of the season. Dan Boyle had an individual assist.

And so, the Lightning fully capitalized on their game in hand on Atlanta and Carolina and have opened up a 3 point lead on the Smirkin' Chikins and a 4 points lead on the Hurricanes with just 18 games remaining in the regular season. The trade deadline is Tuesday. With the addition of one or two more forwards, this is a Stanley Cup contender. The ball is in your court, Jay Feaster.

First Period
Tampa Bay 2:17, Martin St. Louis 38 (power play) (Dan Boyle, Brad Richards)
Tampa Bay 3:56, Paul Ranger 4 (Eric Perrin, Brad Richards)

Second Period
Tampa Bay 4:58, Filip Kuba 10 (Brad Richards, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Pittsburgh 8:26, Sergei Gonchar 10 (power play) (Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 1:31, Brad Richards 22 (Eric Perrin, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Tampa Bay 14:16, Vincent Lecavalier 41 (shorthanded) (Martin St. Louis)

Game sheet from NHL.com.

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The Trade has already paid dividends

Guys were trying to show that they shouldn't be the ones to sit. With a tough guy coming in Sarich stepped up and threw a half-seasons worth of punches. With a guy with an offensive upside coming in Ranger & Kuba went decisively to the net. Pratt & Janik didn't throw the puck blindly around the boards tonight. Boyle played a different game since he had to keep an eye on Crosby alot tonight, but the rest really brought their A games tonight.

If Manvig and Prospal had a race it would look just like the tortoise and the bigger tortoise. They skate with the same form and the same gait. Ryan Craig would be the speedster of that group.

The one name that keeps popping into my mind of Feaster wanting a 3rd or 4th line grit guy is one I don't like much, but fits the description and would likely come cheap - Chris Gratton. I know Vinny, Brad and probably a couple of others don't like him but at his age and status as a lower liner, he wouldn't have a voice in the locker. He's strong on face offs, can play tough,in front and play multiple positions. I'm not advocating for him but every time I've heard Feaster or seen him quoted on the issue, Gratton's the picture that pops in my head. Plus, Chris has to realize he may not get another chance to chase a cup if he doesn't get out of there.

Not sure Chris' character

Not sure Chris' character fits the bill here. He was a wellspring of negativity his second time through here, allegedly.

I agree

I tried to point that out in my post. But last time he was a top line player and one of the appointed leaders as well as being a 25/26 year old kid. Now he's what? A 31 year old 4th liner. His attitude and outlook may be changed somewhat and there's no way he could come in and take over the room. That's the only reason I think we might be interested in him.

He did have some playoff experience with Philly and Colorado and that might be an asset for him. I like what Tarnasky's done and I like Roy, but Tarnasky's lack of experience and the lack of fighting in the playoffs work against those two. Gratton brings some game, some playoff experience, and probably enough willingness to stand-up for someone if needed to be an asset in the playoffs.

I'd like not to blow all of our draft picks, so we can continue to build the system. Gratton I think could move for a 5th or less.

There are still people

There are still people (Vinny) who remember Chris from last time through. I'd really rather not dredge up the pre 2002-2003 past.

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