Even the wins are ugly right now.
Congratulations to Johan Holmqvist who stopped 30 of 32 shots faced for his first NHL win and who, along with Martin St. Louis, nearly single handedly willed the Lightning to two points tonight. St. Louis had 2 goals and an assist while Vincent Lecavalier chipped in 1 empty net goal and 2 assists. Eric Perrin scored his first NHL goal into an empty net goal and Tim Taylor had his 1st goal of the season. Individual helpers also were added by Dimitry Afanasenkov, Luke Richardson, Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko.
All that said, the team did everything it could to self destruct again in the third period tonight and their efforts were only surpassed by Peter Forsberg's individual self destruction as he took a selfish elbowing major and knocking out Nolan Pratt just as the Flyers were looking like they were about to get the game's tying goal.
There is no joy on the Lightning right now. None. You can see it in the way they conduct their interviews and the way they carry themselves on the ice. At some point hockey became about business to this team and ceased being a game, with the possible exceptions of Lecavalier and Perrin, and it shows. There are very few endeavors in life where people can excel when they have no enthusiasm for what they're doing, and hockey isn't one of the exceptions to this rule. I'd like to believe at some point on this road trip the Lightning will begin to gel more as a group and start to have some, dare I say, fun, but I sincerely doubt it. I hope I'm wrong, but I would not be surprised if only a tranfusion of new blood can remedy the robotic, passionless way this team has been going about its business lately.
Tampa Bay 10:39, Martin St. Louis 8 (Vincent Lecavalier, Dmitry Afanasenkov)
Tampa Bay 7:27, Martin St. Louis 9 (Luke Richardson, Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 18:10, Tim Taylor 1 (Brad Richards, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Philadelphia 11:20, R.J. Umberger 2 (Kyle Calder)
Philadelphia 11:41, Randy Jones 1 (Simon Gagne, Geoff Sanderson)
Tampa Bay 18:26, Vincent Lecavalier 8 (empty net) (Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 19:03, Eric Perrin 1 (empty net) (unassisted)
Doug Janik was -1 in 4:17 as his ice time continues to plummet and Craig Ramsey's confidence in veterans Nolan Pratt and Luke Richardson continues to grow. Eric Perrin was +1 in 15:07 with 2 shots and 1 hit and he was 40% on draws. Nick Tarnasky was even in 4:01.
Game sheet from NHL.com.