NHL Game Night 2/27: Wild at Lightning

The Lightning welcomed all their new acquisitions into Tampa tonight.

MIN-3
TB-2

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss in his Lightning debut.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
Minnesota 3:46, Todd Fedoruk 3 (power play) (Pierre-Marc Bouchard)
Minnesota 4:56, Pavol Demitra 13 (Mikko Koivu)
Tampa Bay 12:22, Michel Ouellet 9 (power play) (Paul Ranger, Jeff Halpern)

Third Period
Minnesota 1:53, Brian Rolston 24 (power play) (Kurtis Foster, Pierre-Marc Bouchard)
Tampa Bay 9:16, Jeff Halpern 11 (Mathieu Darche)

Jeff Halpern had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +1 in 17:44 with 4 shots and 3 hits. He was also named first star of the game.

Jussi Jokinen was -1 in 22:28 with 4 shots and 2 hits. Hope you like ice time, young man.

Alexandre Picard, who was recalled from Norfolk prior to the game, played 19:54 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots.

Box score and extended statistics from TheAHL.com.

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Seems to me..

Seemed to me from watching the game last night that other than the "new" big 3 of St. Louis, Lecavalier, and now Boyle, there isn't too much of a scoring threat on this team. Jokinen may chip in here and there and Halpern, who is a good two way player, ,may here and there as well. Other than the big 3 therr doesn't seem like there is a definite scoring threat on a nightly basis. Again, there are guys who may chip in here and there, but good scoring depth may become an issue. I think Smith will keep this team in games with his ability. I didn't blame him for any of the goals last night. He played pretty well. I also thought Picard looked pretty good. His play was pretty decent and he was out there banging which was nice to see. This team didn't have great goal scoring depth before, but when you take out Prospal (which I know they had to do) and Hlavac (who scored for Nashville last night) you see the team is lacking. Hopefully in the off season the team can bring is some depth scoring to helpout. At this point this season is a wash. Let Smith get used to playing with new guys in front of him, bring up some of the kids from the minors and see what they've got, and hopefully win the draft lottery for the top pick and bring in Steve Stamkos. This is supposed to be a deep draft year so hopefully the scouts can get it right and pick some decent prospects out of it. Change isn't a bad thing at all and is necessary at times, as it seems this change was. Let's just hope this was the first game of more change to come, hopefully for the better.

Re: Seems to me

You're right. For the remainder of this season, we will be a one-line team (which it often seemed like with Richards centering low-end talent). That actuality is here. Halpern looked solid last night, defensively responsible and brings an intangible (a right-handed face-off man) that hasn't been seen in Tampa since Andreychuk, outside of Blair Jones occasional and very limited cups of coffee.

Feaster has come out and said that he is expecting to be very busy in the summer, which of course reinforces the notion that this weekend's moves was meant for a significant retooling project, not a firesale per se.

The remaining games should be pretty difficult to watch, in terms of offensive production, but on the other hand, this team's youth SHOULD be getting evaluated. Lecavalier and St. Louis should see significant minutes only to see if they can turn Jokinen into a more dynamic player.

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