Darche, Mathieu

NHL Game Night 12/22: Hurricanes at Lightning

Just a terrible third period as the Lightning waste a quality start by the kid.

CAR-4
TB-1

Karri Ramo stopped 33 of 35 shots faced in the loss.

First Period
Tampa Bay 0:23, Martin St. Louis 13 (Brad Richards, Shane O'Brien)
Carolina 18:04, Andrew Ladd 3 (Matt Cullen, Brandon Nolan)

Secnd Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
Carolina 9:31, Ray Whitney 17 (Cory Stillman, Frantisek Kaberle)
Carolina 19:00, Ray Whitney 18 (empty net) (Scott Walker)
Carolina 19:57, Eric Staal 17 (empty net) (Ray Whitney, Bret Hedican)

NHL Game Night 12/21: Maple Leafs at Lightning

A star is born?

TOR-1
TB-2

In his first NHL start, Karri Ramo stopped 31 of 32 shots faced for the win.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
Toronto 16:36, Matt Stajan 9 (Alexander Steen)
Tampa Bay 18:41, Jason Ward 5 (Vincent Lecavalier, Mike Lundin)

Third Period
Tampa Bay 19:18, Vincent Lecavalier 23 (Martin St. Louis, Shane O'Brien)

Fate played the cruel trick of scheduling my girlfriend's company's holiday party on this night, of all nights. Three years I've been covering this kid since all the way back when the only people keeping an eye on him were Karri Kettunen and the couple dozen people showing up to Lahti Pelicans Junior A games, and I have to Tivo his first NHL start? What the heck?

By Ramo standards, believe it or not, I thought he played a pretty mediocre game. He struggled with his rebound control and as far as his positioning goes I thought he played a little deep in the net and overplayed to one side on occassion. Those areas will need to improve, and my expectation is that they will.

Bottom line though, he stopped pucks. Just stop pucks. The Lightning don't need the second coming of Patrick Roy (yet). They just need someone steady who isn't going to spot the opposition cheap goals and isn't going to panic and allow one goal to snowball into giving up three or four goals in a period. He did that tonight and as long as he continues to do that, I'm willing to bet Torts will keep starting him.

Kudos to the Lightning for playing a pretty good game defensively in front of Ramo too, defensemen and forwards alike. They knew they had a rookie in net and they knew they needed to step up and hustle for the new guy. They didn't play a perfect game defensively, but when they made mistakes they generally busted their humps to rectify the situation. I don't recall any clear cut odd man rushes tonight and there weren't any breakaways, and that's how you break a rookie in. They played hard for Karri, and Karri rewarded them by making 2 goals stand up for a win.

Of course, then again, there were those final 7 minutes when suddenly it seemed like several Lightning players were suddenly brain dead (Shane O'Brien I'm looking at you) and where easy clears became unforced turnovers and harrowing moments in the Lightning zone. Scary stuff, which I suppose made Lecavalier putting the finishing touch on the 2-on-1 to win it that much more cathartic.

Mathieu Darche played 15:04 with 3 shots and 3 hits.

Mike Lundin played 15:01 and was +1 with 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 blocked shots and, as rare as a Loch Nest Monster sighting, 1 hit. Of course he also got his world absolutely rocked on a hit in the first period.

Jay Leach played 6:26 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in his third career NHL game. Atta boy Jay.

Blair Jones got a whopping 3 shifts and 50 seconds of ice time. In what little he's played so far, I think he's looked good on the forecheck but he's getting absolutely owned in the faceoff circles.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 12/15: Capitals at Lightning

Losing sucks.

WAS-3
TB-2

Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
Tampa Bay 4:28, Paul Ranger 6 (Vincent Lecavalier)
Washington 14:26, Tomas Fleischmann 5 (Michael Nylander, Alexander Semin)

Second Period
Washington 0:08, Dave Steckel 2 (Brian Pothier)
Tampa Bay 5:50, Vincent Lecavalier 22 (Vaclav Prospal)

Third Period
Washington 5:06, Brian Pothier 3 (Matt Pettinger, Tomas Fleischmann)

Mathieu Darche was -1 in 16:28 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits.

Mike Lundin continues to get minimal ice time, playing 11:39 tonight with a -1 rating a 1 blocked shot.

Blair Jones played 1 shift. 9 seconds. Someone do the math how much money he made on a per second basis tonight. Talk about easy money.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 12/4: Senators at Lightning

They made that way harder than it had to be.

OTT-3
TB-4 (SO)

Johan Holmqvist stopped 26 of 29 shots faced before stopping 3 of 4 shooters in penalty shots for the shootout win.

First Period
Tampa Bay 3:43, Mathieu Darche 4 (Jan Hlavac)
Tampa Bay 11:34, Chris Gratton 4 (Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
Ottawa 7:05, Daniel Alfredsson 18 (Joe Corvo, Jason Spezza)
Tampa Bay 9:08, Filip Kuba 3 (Martin St. Louis, Vaclav Prospal)
Ottawa 18:03, Daniel Alfredsson 19 (Dany Heatley, Christoph Schubert)
Ottawa 18:39, Wade Redden 4 (Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
OTT-Heatley
TB-Richards, Prospal

NHL Game Night 12/1: Bruins at Lightning

A funny thing happens when you put forth an effort.

BOS-1
TB-4

Johan Holmqvist stopped 28 of 29 shots faced for the victory.

You might've noticed there was no game thread for the Detroit game. That was not an accident. After sleepwalking for six period straight my attitude was that if the team didn't care, honestly, why should I?

Tonight, however, the effort level and the will to compete was back, and they put together a sold, convincing win against a club they traditionally struggle against. Funny that. The harder you work the better you get.

Mike Lundin blocked 1 shot in 17:56 of ice time as he remains on track for an early January graduation from prospect status. Tonight was his 26th NHL game, leaving him 15 short of the finish line by site criteria.

Mathieu Darche had 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and a +1 rating in 18:12 of ice time. Now 19 games played into his season, Darche needs 22 more to graduate from prospect status, which could happen as early as mid January.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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