NHL Game Night 3/27: Capitals at Lightning

Oh brother! What a way to give up that second point.

TB-3 (OT)

Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the overtime loss. Key play of the game: Dan Boyle gets clipped in the face (UPDATE: Erik Erlendsson blogs Boyle took a skate in the lower throat that left a flesh wound on the play) and stops playing with the play behind his net. While Boyle is not paying attention a centering feed squirts off his skate to Ramo's left. Ramo aggresively dives out to try and cover the puck (probably shouldn't have), misses, and while down and out the Caps score the winner.

You know, the fact these two young netminders are athletic and can handle the puck is a good thing, but they don't necessarily have the maturity in their decision making yet. I am all for investing in a post and a chain to keep Ramo and Smith tethered to their cage until they develop that maturity, because it seems like these two must've given up a half dozen bad goals between them straying from their cages. Mind you, I thought Ramo played well again with the exception of that play, so it's not an indictment of Karri's overall play. But jeez. These kind of goals take years off a coach's life.

Matt Smaby was even in 12:48 with 2 blocked shots. He would've been +1, but was on the ice for the Semin goal which was a clean faceoff win by Fedorov and a bang-bang shot. I like the minutes. I think Matt needs to get the coaches comfortable enough to be up around 14-15 minutes by the end of the season to have a realistic shot of making the team next season. Earning that trust is the biggest hurdle.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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I thought overall Ramo

I thought overall Ramo looked alright. I do concede that he is young and is going to make mistakes and he's payed for a few. Overall is has been pretty good and he can only improve. Halpern continues to shine for this team. His hustle and hardwork is a breath of frest air for this organization. I was happiest about getting him in the Richards deal than Smith or Jokinen. Even when he was with the Capitals he was a guy you had to respect. You hated seeing your team play against him, but you wish you had him. He has brought life to the 2nd line and has gotten Ouellet going finally. I have also been very impressed with Alex Picard. I thought he'd played extremely well and has fit in great since coming over from Philly. Hopefully Feaster sees the importance Picard and Halpern have to this team for the coming seasons and signs them to extentions over the summer. I still think Jokinen isn't ready to be a 1st line player. He looks lost to me at times playing with Vinny and Marty. Hopefully for his sake with time he gets it together. Also, with time hopefully, Smith and Ramo in net will mature a bit more and steer clear of the risky plays in net. If they do so, this team should have two very good goaltenders for years to come. Well, until they both become very good goaltenders and are both top #1 netminders and one will have to be moved to make room for the other. We've got time before we're in that situation though. Let's hope we have that problem. The good thing I do see though is that there are some talented players on the roster, so if a guy here and there can be brought in over the summer...things could turn around. We'll just have to wait see and hope I guess.

Jokinen is a Second Liner

I think right now Jokinen is playing out of position. I see him next year being on a new and improved second line. But he does hustle.

Halpern has really played well. His line with Darche and Ouelette is probably the best line combination in Tampa right now. Keep that group together next year and you'll have something there.

Picard has been a most pleasant surprise. They need to keep him around.

Good for Smaby. Hopefully he will continue to improve in these last few games and get a serious look at training camp to stay with Tampa next year. I thought that holding call he got on Ovechkin was bogus. Ovechkin was off balance and Smaby pushed him down without grabbing anything.

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