Best performance of the year by the Lightning.
Mike Smith stopped 15 of 15 shots faced for the big shutout win. He was on tonight. No rebounds.
05:15 TB Pettinger (2), (Szczechura, Recchi)
11:14 TB Szczechura (2), (Jokinen, Recchi)(PP)
Paul Szczechura, Matt Pettinger, and Mark Recchi were your three stars, and let me tell you, Szczechura played an awesome game at both ends of the ice. #38 seems to live in the opposing team's passing lanes, and when the Lightning went into the trap in the third period he drove the Pens crazy by picking off pass after pass. He set up the first goal. He scored the insurance goal. And he was all up in the Pens business to protect what he helped build. Great game by Szczechura. He's a revelation. Quite possibly the smartest prospect in Lightning history.
Szczechura had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +1 with 4 shots, 1 hit, and he was 29% on draws in 13:28. He tortured Pittsburgh in those 13:28.
Steven Stamkos was a non-factor in 7:47 of ice time.
Man, it's humbling to lose to a terrible team like the Thrashers.
Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 30 shots for the loss.
00:18 ATL Kozlov (15), (unassisted)
03:54 TB St. Louis (11), (Malone, Recchi)(PP)
08:15 TB Hall (3), (Jokinen, Craig)
15:13 ATL Perrin (3), (Valabik, Williams)
18:23 ATLP White (10), (Little, Kovalchuk)(PP)
04:06 ATL Crabb (2), (Boulton, Slater)
17:28 TB St. Louis (12), (Lecavalier, Stamkos)(PP)
This was the first game where Szczechura was kind of a non-factor. He had a real opportunity to send Ryan Craig in on a breakaway when a Thrashers defenseman overplayed him on a 2-on-1. Other than that? Very little.
Paul Szczechura had 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:54.
Steven Stamkos had an assist and 1 hit and was 67% on draws in 13:22.
Tomorrow's headline tonight: Lightning Hosed by Idiot Referees.
Mike Smith stopped 32 of 33 shots and 2 of 2 shooters in the shootout session, only to have the referee make a bogus call to award the Avs a shootout goal they didn't deserve to saddle him with the shootout loss.
03:46 COL Stastny (9), (Smyth, Hejduk)
07:35 TB Halpern (1), (Malik, Meszaros)
COL- The Referees
Mike Smith made an absolutely amazing athletic play after missing on the poke check and then going Gumby to his blocker on Milan Hedjuk's shootout bid, and dropped his stick in the process. Now, that is the kind of athletic play the NHL wants to see from its netminders in the shootout after a great goaltender duel all game long between Smith and Raycroft. And then these referees decide that they're going to award Hedjuk a goal based on Smith "throwing his stick?" It's a joke. I thought Rick Tocchet was going to beat the ref to death. He should've. Of all the ways I've seen to lose a game, that's a new one. It surpasses the baloney Chara eye-level bat-in against Boston a couple of years back. It's the new gold standard for poor officiating costing the Lightning a game.
Oh, and Jussi Jokinen is useless. Please, for the love of all that's holy, let the fat trimming include #36.
Paul Szczechura was +1 in 13:12 with 2 shots and 2 hits. And he was dynamite as usual.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and was 33% on draws in 9:15, and he had one terrible shift in the third period with two turnovers and never saw the ice again in the game.
There's not a worse team in the NHL on the forecheck than the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 32 shots and still had to eat the loss.
05:04 OTT Picard (3), (Bell, Zubov)(PP)
19:15 OTT Alfredsson (8), (Kuba, Fisher)(EN)
Jussi Jokinen hasn't won a battle along the wall in a month.
Zenon Konopka had 1 hit and a real nice fight with Chris Neil in 3:22.
Paul Szczechura was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and he was 27% on draws. And, again, he was awesome. Good positionally. Great in terms of his effort and battle level. Szczechura is the exact same size as Jokinen and smaller than 75% of the forwards on this team and yet, consistently, he's been better along the wall and braver in the high traffic areas than most every other player on the Lightning team since his recall. That's high praise for Szczechura, and a condemnation of the rest of the Lightning team.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and 3 hits in 11:43. Tocchet has been, rightfully, ramping down Stamkos' ice time. His decision making was better in this game, but he's still tip toeing around too much.
Those Quebecois boys sure do enjoy that home cooking.
Olaf Kolzig allowed just 1 goal on 32 shots for the win.
05:34 MTL Brisebois (2), (Kovalev, Markov)(PP)
10:49 TB St. Louis (9), (Recchi, Lecavalier)
12:03 TB Lecavalier (12), (Meszaros, Krajicek)
08:31 TB St. Louis (10), (Krajicek)(SH)
Is it fixed? Not really. The Lightning were outshot 32-22 on the night. But, at least the streak is over, and it's nice to be a winner for a change.
Steve Downie had 1 shot in 7:21.
Zenon Konopka had a fight and 2 hits in 5:16.
Paul Szczechura had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, and was 38% on draws in 13:39.
Radek Smolenak had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 9:07.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:57.