NHL Game Night 2/27: Stars at Lightning

Dallas is good.

DAL-2
TB-1 (OT)

Johan Holmqvist stopped 26 of 28 shots faced in the overtime loss. Brad Richards had the only Lightning goal, shorthanded, off assists from Eric Perrin and Paul Ranger. Dallas absolutely dominated the first 20 minutes of play before the final 40 turned into a heavyweight street fight with both teams creating huge surges of pressure.

First impressions of Shane O'Brien? Worth the price. His passing ability is outstanding and although he lacks scintilating acceleration, once he hits his stride he's amazingly fast for a man that size. If he gets indoctrinated into the Lightning system quickly and starts looking up for those long stretch passes and, at the same time, uses his speed to jump in and hold in pucks along the wall from the point in, he's going to start racking up assists.

The Lightning's hard earned overtime point moves them 2 points ahead of Atlanta in the division and 5 points ahead of Carolina which dropped their game with Ottawa tonight 4-2.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
Dallas 10:59, Jere Lehtinen 22 (power play) (Jussi Jokinen, Mike Modano)
Tampa Bay 19:41, Brad Richards 23 (shorthanded) (Eric Perrin, Paul Ranger)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
Dallas 1:35, Ladislav Nagy 10 (Mike Ribeiro, Philippe Boucher)

Game sheet from NHL.com.

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I'm not sure what was worse:

I'm not sure what was worse: getting dominated, or having to listen to that jackass they had with Rick in the booth.

O'Brien

He was earning an A+ until the last shift of the game when he and Kuba decided to go passive and let the guy behind the net dictate the play. Still, if he just plays at that level, he was worth a first. Tort's showed no trust in him and didn't play him until we were about 9 minutes in. By the mid 2nd, he and Kuba were the second pair. He hate to say that about a rookie, but he really is a 2nd pair guy for our team.

He shows his NHL pedigree, he's an old school kid, smart, communicated extremely well and appears to be a natural leader. He was hesitant on the offensive end, but took charge on the defensive end. He didn't allow anybody to stand alone in front of the net. He was constantly on the alert for anybody trying to sneak in the back door when the play was on the other side. Last guy off the ice when there's a scrum. Once on the offensive end he bided his time above the circles and waited until Klemm skated himself up above and tried to escort him all the way to the Dallas bench.

With about 2:30 left in the 3rd he took the puck from his left of the net skated behind and just flew up the right boards with the puck. You could see almost every man on Dallas surprised by his speed and have to adjust their angles. All-in-all the intangibles sets him apart from the rest of our top prospect D'men. He and Kevin Quick possess the highest hockey IQ's I see of any of our young D' corps.

We'll see how he does, but if he has the hockey smarts I think he has, we'll for the most part be glad to have him.

Onr thing really po'd me about the game though. Feaster keeps saying he's trying to build 3rd and 4th lines that hit the stew out of the other team and physically wear them down. I think he needs to check and see if Tort's is on the same page. At the end of the 2nd, Tarnasky - Jones - Manvig just smoked Dallas in our offensive end - nearly as effective as Dallas did to begin the game. They hit everything and kept the puck deep. Their reward was to never be seen together again.

I still don't know where the

I still don't know where the middle ground is going to be. Feaster kept talking about how he wanted tougher guys, grit, hitting, yet tonight (there was more hitting than normal Lightning games, no question) you can still tell that the stickcheck is being pushed.

I don't think it's wise to take guys like OB and push the stickcheck so much. The guy is a force, but if he's too busy trying to poke the puck away, it'll go to waste. I remember at one point he had a good chance to totally destroy someone along the boards, with the puck, and he got in close, then went for the puck with the stick.

It's hardly a challenge for teams to skate right up the middle and push the play in our end totally unopposed. If we allow these guys to take the body once in awhile, that will at least make teams think twice about blazing into our end with their heads down. I hope I'm just being over critical. It's frustrating to see hardly any physical play at all. Hopefully once OB, Tarnasky, Ward, and Stewart are all getting some shifts, the intensity will pick up.

I thought OB did just about as well as someone could coming from a system like the Ducks to a system like Tampa. He'll only get better for us.

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