It'll all be worth it when Steve Stamkos is a Bolt.
Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the loss.
Matt Smaby was even in 9:13 with 2 hits and 3 blocked shots. Again, I thought he had a good first period in which he made a made a really nice block on a point shot and a really strong hit along the boards. In the second period his group got hemmed in a lot and although he wasn't terrible there were times he was floating a bit down low defensively. At one point, his pairing partner Mike Lundin had to bail him out. The general reviews were fair. The speed at the NHL level doesn't seem to be scaring him as much this go round, and he seems to be moving the puck crisply and efficiently. And, yes, he's still occassionally laying the wood to people which is the special characteristic that really stands him out from the crowd, in my opinion. This is a big audition for Smaby right now. With Alex Picard playing so well, it could make someone like Brad Lukowich or even Filip Kuba expendable if Smaby can step up and show he's ready to be the #7 defenseman in Tampa next year. Those millions could potentially be better spent on some second line scoring help. The key is going to be if Smaby improves in the coming games and if he can get his ice time to increase. The opportunity is there with Paul Ranger banged up. He needs to step up and close the sale.
A monumental come from behind victory in the Steve Stamkos sweepstakes.
Karri Ramo allowed 6 goals on 31 shots for the loss. When you're staked a three goal lead coming into the third period, you have to get the W. I don't care how bad the team plays in front of you. Ramo had to make it stand up, and he failed miserably. That's probably only the fourth bad start he's had this year.
Matt Smaby was -1 in 12:11 with 4 hits, including one particularly vicious hit standing up and dropping Patrick Kaleta on the rush. Like the rest of the team, I thought he played a pretty good first 40 minutes. But he didn't see much ice in the third. He did tie Vincent Lecavalier for the team high in hits with 4 though in his limited ice time, so there's something to build on.
Just like last season, the Baby B's own the Lightning's farm team.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 7 goals on 33 shots in the loss. Marc Denis stopped 6 of 6 shots in relief.
PRO Bitz, (9) (Sigalet, Karsums), 3:03 (PP)
PRO Hoggan, (28) , 16:29 (PEN/SH)
PRO Thompson, (16) , 0:45 (SH)
PRO Collins, (18) (Hendricks), 12:45
PRO LoVecchio, (2) (Thompson, Curry), 18:34 (SH)
PRO Hendricks, (20) (Hoggan), 11:09
PRO Collins, (19) (Sigalet, Hendricks), 11:21
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Western Hockey League announced the 2007-08 WHL Eastern Conference First and Second All-Star Teams and Lightning draft pick and Lethbridge Hurricane Mitch Fadden was named a Second Team All-Star. Fadden was not a finalist for an award.
The center was named team co-MVP with Ben Wright this week.
Fadden, a 2007 fourth round pick of the Lightning, had 34 goals and 55 assists for 89 points in 72 games this season for the Hurricanes.