Olaf Kolzig played well stopping 37 of 39 shots in the loss. He also deserved better.
03:47 NYR Wade Redden, (Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez)(PP)
12:12 NYR Scott Gomez, (Aaron Voros, Wade Redden)
Don't be fooled by the score. The Lightning were never really in this game until a late surge when they tried to get the equalizer to steal at least a point. The Lightning were outshot 39-19 in the game and, generally, outplayed in every facet. For all the weapons that the club has, they showed absolutely no structure this weekend. The team may be very fortunate that they play so few games in the opening month of the season, because right now they look light years away from being able to be a competitive team, let alone a winning team.
Janne Niskala had 4 hits in 14:14.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 in 12:15 with 2 hits. He was caught on Gomez's goal standing around and not tying up the man in front.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and 2 hits in 14:53 and he was 75% on draws. On the good side, he rang a post that almost tied the game up in the second period. On the bad side, he took a lazy hooking penalty late that killed the Lightning's rally. All that said, he got nearly 15 minutes tonight, and that's the kind of ice time he needs from Coach Melrose.
Roster moves will no doubt be coming tomorrow. At a minimum, the club will have to send Karri Ramo down to Norfolk now that the roster limit reduces to 23. There will also probably be at least one move made on defense when Paul Ranger returns to the lineup. The obvious move would be to send Mihalik down to Norfolk. However, I could imagine Jamie Heward being the odd man out as well. Also, expect some pressure to bring Matt Smaby back up sooner or later. Initial reports out of Norfolk camp are good for Smaby, and you can make a strong argument he never should have been sent down in the first place. Adding spice to the situation are rumors that the club may move Shane O'Brien, who was a healthy scratch in this afternoon's game.
Mike Smith played pretty well stopping 39 of 41 shots faced in the game. He deserved better.
18:08 NYR Markus Naslund, (Scott Gomez)
The Lightning appear to me to be a team that is still looking for its new identity. Whether you loved or hated John Tortorella and his system, you knew the Lightning were going to have structure moving out of their zone and you knew that they were going to be disciplined. Tonight the team had no structure moving out of their zone, and because they spent so much time in their own end they took a ton of penalties. The young Lightning defense clutched to chipping the puck up off the boards rather than looking for an outlet pass and getting some speed moving through the neutral zone. That's a problem. They need to show more poise and confidence quickly if the Lightning are going to be successful.
Janne Niskala had 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 16:13. I'd rate his performance as fair.
Vladimir Mihalik had 1 shot and 3 hits in 11:54 in his NHL debut. He beat my expectations. Good job Vladdy.
Steven Stamkos was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 8:25. He was also 50% on draws. He was stopped on a key breakaway in the Third Period that would've given the Lightning the lead. In my opinion, he needs to be up around at least 15 minutes a night and soon for the Lightning's offense to be as potent as it needs to be.
In case BoltProspects hasn't made this crystal clear over the past three years: Karri Ramo is real, real good.
Ramo stopped 45 of 47 shots in the victory tonight and was named the game's first star.
NY Rangers 7:56, Lauri Korpikoski 1 (Dan Fritsche, Daniel Girardi)
Tampa Bay 2:18, Ryan Malone 1 (Steven Stamkos, Andrew Hutchinson)
Tampa Bay 4:36, Martin St. Louis 1 (Matt Carle, Michel Ouellet)
Tampa Bay 19:41, Evgeny Artyukhin 1 (empty net) (Steven Stamkos, Matt Carle)
The positives tonight were Ramo and that several of the marquee newcomers found their way onto the scoresheet. Matt Carle getting assists in triplicate was an obvious positive, as was Ryan Malone finding the back of the net and Steven Stamkos chipping in a pair of assists.
The negative is that the Lightning were once again soundly outshot despite having most of their NHL regulars in the lineup. We're seeing the convergence of at least three factors here: 1.) the installation of a new system, 2.) lack of chemistry due to so many newcomers being in the lineup, and 3.) a ridiculously inexperienced blueline. Speculation in the broadcast tonight also centered around whether or not the Lightning are in the best of condition right now. Considering the compressed preseason schedule the Lightning are playing right now, and that they've been traveling quite a bit, it might be fatigue setting in more than the Lightning being out of shape.
The extended statistics from the NHL are delayed right now, so I'll update the lines of the prospects later. When I took a peek earlier tonight, Matt Carle also was working on a monster line of his own that was worth mentioning, so I'll add that later too.
Good start to the season for Mike Smith.
Mike Smith stopped 38 of 40 shots faced for the win.
Tampa Bay 7:01, Steven Stamkos 1 (power play) (Radim Vrbata, Ryan Malone)
Tampa Bay 10:00, Martin St. Louis 1 (power play) (Matt Carle, Jussi Jokinen)
NY Rangers 19:36, Daniel Girardi 1 (power play) (Scott Gomez, Wade Redden)
NY Rangers 17:07, Fredrik Sjostrom 1 (power play) (Pierre Parenteau, Lauri Korpikoski)
This was much closer to the opening night lineup, so there were fewer prospects in uniform:
Janne Niskala was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 19:23.
Vladimir Mihalik had 1 blocked shot in 16:04.
Steven Stamkos had 1 goal, 1 shot, 3 hits, and was 67% on draws to go with a +1 rating in 14:46.
It's nice to see the Lightning generating a lot of offensive pressure without their top guns in the lineup, despite the loss.
Olaf Kolzig allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the loss.
Pittsburgh 4:54, Tyler Kennedy 1 (power play) (Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski)