Wright, James

NHL Game Night: 11/7 Lightning at Canadiens

Niitty is so gangsta.


Antero Niittymaki has been a revelation. He stopped 36 of 37 tonight to give his Lightning team a chance to get the win. Ride him 'til the wheels come off.

First Period
TB 10:09, Malone 10 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
TB 19:13, Tanguay 3 (Malone, Lecavalier)

Second Period
MTL 9:44, Gionta 7 (Spacek, Gomez)(PP)
TB 18:01, Wright 2 (Tanguay, Halpern)

Third Period

This fell somewhere between the Toronto and Ottawa games in terms of how the Lightning played. The offensive flow and continuity is still absent (21 shots), and they were slightly tighter defensively than in Toronto but not quite as good as in Ottawa. Nitty has collected 4 of 6 points in these past 3 games and the team hasn't played to its potential.

Steve Downie had 1 hit in 12:36. This was his quietest game in a Lightning uniform in a long while.

Drew Miller played 9:16.

Zenon Konopka had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 8:58.

James Wright scored the big insurance marker in the game and was +1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:39.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/5 Lightning at Senators

I actually thought tonight was a huge improvement over the Toronto game.

OTT-3 (OT)

Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the overtime loss. I thought it was another quality start. I feel like he should clearly be the starter at this stage.

First Period
TB 3:03, Tanguay 2 (Halpern, Downie)(PP)
OTT 5:02, Alfredsson 6 (Spezza, Michalek)

Second Period
OTT 12:00, Fisher 6 (Kovalev, Spezza)(PP)
TB 13:40, Stamkos 12 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)

Third Period

OTT 4:17, Spezza 1 (Kuba, Fisher)(PP)

The offense is still lacking in continuity and not generating as many chances and as much forecheck as you might want, but the defensive effort was light years better than against Toronto.

Steve Downie had an assist, 17 penalty minutes, and 1 blocked shot in 8:45. Downie is now 7 games shy of graduating from prospect status here on Bolt Prospects.

Zenon Konopka had 1 hit, 2 blocked shots, and was 80% on draws in 8:51.

James Wright had 2 hits and was 50% on draws in 13:50.

Victor Hedman had 2 blocked shots in 15:17 before leaving the game after getting hit by Ottawa's Chris Neil. The way he grabbed his head, I'm a little worried it's a concussion.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11/3 Lightning at Leafs

Ugly, but I'll take it, I suppose.

TOR-1 (OT)

Antero Niittymaki allowed 1 goal on 41 shots for the victory. I honestly don't know why there isn't a goaltending controversy at this point.

First Period

Second Period
TB 18:34, Lecavalier 2 (Ohlund)

Third Period
TOR 5:04, White 3 (Hagman, Beauchemin)(PP)

TB 2:21, Malone 9 (Tanguay)

It's lucky that A.) Nittymaki stood on his head again, and B.) Toronto is just awful enough to lose games like this even when they deserve to win. Allowing 41 shots to a team like the Leafs is a joke. Maybe the momentum and mojo the team will get from winning an overtime game will help them in the confidence department, but this is still a terrible Lightning team on the road.

Steve Downie was +1 with 2 hits in 11:44.

Drew Miller only played 4:09 in the game.

Zenon Konopka had 1 hit and was 75% on draws in 4:52.

James Wright played 13:25.

Victor Hedman was +2 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 25:46. He also had 4 PIMs, though.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 10/31 Devils at Lightning

Niitty steals a point, and the Lightning shooters continue to make fools of themselves in the shootout.

TB-1 (SO)

Antero Niittymaki was lights out tonight, stopping 37 of 38 before going 3 for 4 in the shootout session for the shootout loss. He deserved a lot better from the guys in front of him.

First Period

Second Period
NJ 0:50, Zajac 6 (Fraser)

Third Period
TB 4:34, Stamkos 10 (St. Louis, Malone)


NJ- Clarkson

The Lightning absolutely sleepwalked through the first two periods of the game, with the exception perhaps of the final five minutes of the first period. It was terrible. Shots were 28-9 after 40 minutes, for New Jersey. Without Nittymaki, this game would have easily been a blowout. I don't get the inconsistency from this Lightning team from game to game, period to period, and situation to situation. And as far as the shootouts go, if I were Tocchet I'd ban dekes from the star players. Tell them to shoot. At least force the goaltenders to make a save.

Steve Downie had 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 hits in 11:08.

Drew Miller was -1 in 8:51.

Zenon Konopka had 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and was 50% on draws in 11:04.

James Wright had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 14:20.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 26:24. I'm going to reiterate my request from the last game: I'd like to see him get more shots, particularly on the power play. They need to get him off this pass-first mentality. The scouting report from the Swedish Elitserien is that Victor possesses a world class one-timer. Nothing else is working on the PP (an ugly 0-for-3 tonight). Try a different weapon.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/29 Senators at Lightning

Payback. Revenge. Gettin' even.


Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the win.

First Period
TB 7:20, Stamkos 8 (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)

Second Period
TB 4:34, Fedoruk 2 (Hale, Downie)
TB 14:48, Malone 8 (Hale, Tanguay)

Third Period
TB 7:09, Stamkos 9 (Lecavalier, Malone)(PP)
TB 9:29, Tanguay 1 (Malone, Stamkos)
OTT 10:17, Ruutu 4 (Kelly, Donovan)
OTT 14:19, Kovalev 4 (Alfredsson, Lee)

For the Lightning to crush Ottawa a little over a week after the Senators absolutely embarassed the Lightning 7-1 is a tremendous psychological victory, and the fact they physically outcompeted Ottawa right to the final whistle makes the win that much powerful. A game like this gives the Lightning big mo'. And Alex Tanguay breaks the snide in his first night on the Stamkos line. Beautiful. And, if the early verdict is true and this line continues to be productive, that frees Marty St. Louis up to stay on Vincent Lecavalier's line, and you know eventually those two will click together.

Steve Downie had an assist and was +1 with 7 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 12:04. He was strong on the puck. He was agitating as could be. He even beat up a bigger man in Jarkko Ruutu. Simply put, it might have been Downie's best game in a Lightning uniform (I'll overlook that first period turnover ten feet inside the Ottawa blueline). I wonder if he might get another shot in Wright's spot on Lecavalier and St. Louis' line at some point.

Drew Miller was -1 in 11:47. It's bizarre how clean his stat lines are.

Zenon Konopka was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 8:55. His stat lines tend to be the antithesis of Miller's. He was also 63% on draws.

James Wright was -2 in 10:07. Congratulations on sticking with the team, kiddo.

Victor Hedman had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 23:53. My current wishes for Hedman: work on keeping the puck in at the point on the PP, and I would like to see the Lightning encourage Hedman to shoot more on the PP. The man possesses a howitzer, but he's been deferring to the vets. Opposing PK's are adjusting to that. Hedman needs to stop being strictly a pass-first player.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/24 Sabres at Lightning

That's another point the Lightning left out on the ice this year.

TB-2 (SO)

Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 32 shots, but one of those was a softie with time running out that cost the Lightning a point in the standings. After demolishing a water bottle, Smith stopped the 1 shot he faced in overtime and stopped 5 of 6 he faced in the shootout, but the damage was already done.

First Period
TB 19:59, Lecavalier 1 (Wright, St. Louis)

Second Period
BUF 19:14, Grier 3 (Kennedy)

Third Period
TB 4:26, Stamkos 7 (unassisted)
BUF 19:43, Stafford 3 (Roy, Rivet)


BUF- Myres

The Lightning are sitting at 3-3-3 for their record right now, but if they had actually finished off this game and the one against New Jersey they could easily be 5-3-1. The thing is, they dominated this game for much of the contest. It shouldn't have been a one goal game at the end of regulation anyway. And you can't blame Smitty for what happened in the shootout tonight. I can't fathom how Lecavalier, Stamkos, St. Louis, and Tanguay all failed in the shootout. That's uncanny, and frustrating.

Steve Downie had 1 hit in 10:43.

Drew Miller was -1 with 1 shot in 12:08.

Zenon Konopka had 2 hits and was 86% on draws in 7:34.

James Wright had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 3 blocked shots in 17:05. He's spent considerably less time on the deck the past two games than he did in the previous seven. Now it's decision time for the Lightning, but it seems obvious they'll keep Wright in Tampa rather than sending him back to junior. The key will be for the team to get him on the same in-season weight training program Stamkos was on last season so he doesn't burn out around the midway point of the year.

Victor Hedman had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 28:19. I thought he was off tonight. As good as he was against San Jose, he played a little too soft for my taste tonight and his giveaway obviously led to Buffalo's opening goal. Of course, had he hit the top corner on his chance in overtime, I might not be typing this at all.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/22 Sharks at Lightning

The Lightning get right... very right.


Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the win. Smitty has fully rebounded from his terrible outing against Ottawa.

First Period
TB 0:30, Wright 1 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)
TB 15:01, Malone 7 (Hale, Downie)

Second Period
SJ 12:34, Vesce 3 (Huskins, Demers)
TB 16:39, Stamkos 5 (unassisted)

Third Period
TB 2:54, Meszaros 2 (Fedoruk, Veilleux)
SJ 13:41, Boyle 2 (Thornton, Marleau)(PP)
TB 19:41, Stamkos 6 (Tanguay)(EN)

The Lightning finally got the first goal of a game for the first time of the season and they defeated a San Jose team that absolutely dismantled the Rangers within the last week. Short of Lecavalier and/or Tanguay getting their first goals of the season, this game resolved many of the problems the Lightning were having after getting pasted twice against the Senators and Penguins.

Steve Downie had an assist and was +1 in 13:35 in his debut on the Stamkos line. This might be a better fit for Downie with Stammer being a pure, shoot-first player and Downie being allowed to play more the playmaking role he's comfortable with.

Drew Miller had 1 shot in 14:05.

Zenon Konopka was +1 with 2 hits on 9:45.

James Wright, the funoodle, had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 15:18.

Victor Hedman was +2 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 24:03. That was maybe his best defensive game thus far of the season.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/17 Lightning at Penguins

Lightning spend half a game on the PK.


Antero Niittymaki allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for his first loss.

First Period
PIT 4:57, Guerin 3 (Malkin, Goligoski)(PP)
PIT 17:10, Gonchar 2 (Orpik, Crosby)

Second Period
TB 6:18, Stamkos 4 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
PIT 8:15, Dupuis 1 (Gonchar, Fedotenko)

Third Period
PIT 11:21, Rupp 2 (Crosby)

Steve Downie was -1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 14:47.

Drew Miller had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 10:36.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 6:42.

James Wright had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:00.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 23:15.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/15 Lightning at Senators

One of the worst games I've ever seen the Lightning play.


Mike Smith allowed 7 goals on 35 shots including two very soft goals. Wonder if Rick Tocchet regrets not playing Nittymaki, not that it would've mattered all that much.

First Period
OTT 4:25, Kovalev 2 (Alfredsson)
OTT 10:22, Michalek 2 (Ruutu)(SH)

Second Period
OTT 5:41, Michalek 3 (Alfredsson, Volchenkov)(SH)
OTT 6:15, Picard 1 (Ruutu, Kelly)
OTT 10:59, Foligno 1 (Phillips, Volchenkov)
TB 14:26, Malone 6 (St. Louis, Stamkos)

Third Period
OTT 11:39, Michalek 4 (Spezza, Alfredsson)(PP)
OTT 17:01, Ruutu 2 (Kelly, Karlsson)

The Lightning were outshot 35-17 in the game. They dominated the first 4 minutes of the game, then one bad clear ended up in the back of their net, and they crumbled. It was a lot like the opener against Atlanta.

Steve Downie was -1 with 11 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 12:10. His line were the only three members of the Lightning that showed fight tonight.

Drew Miller had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 15:36.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 17 penalty minutes in 8:30.

James Wright had 1 hit in 14:58.

Victor Hedman was -2 with 1 shot in 20:52. He drew iron on the backhand on one rush, but that was the extent of the good news for Victor.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10/12 Panthers at Lightning

Niitty thieves two points from PantherNation.


Antero Niittymaki had a world beating 31 saves on 33 shots, including several breakaways and other outstanding post to post saves. He even had an assist. The book on Nitty is that he's a streaky goaltender, and when he's hot like this you ride him 'til the wheels fall off. I doubt we see Smitty next time out.

First Period
FLA 8:10, Dvorak 1 (Kreps)(SH)
TB 18:32, Stamkos 3 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)

Second Period
FLA 6:33, Horton 1 (Weiss, Kulikov)(PP)

Third Period
TB 7:17, St. Louis 3 (Lecavalier, Hedman)(PP)
TB 13:29, Malone 5 (Stamkos, Niittymaki)

The Lightning, frankly, played their worst hockey since the Atlanta game. The difference was that they got great goaltending and they were a little bit tighter in the neutral zone than they were against the Thrashers. Good teams find a way to win when they don't play their best hockey. That said, the Lightning ought not make a steady diet of giving up breakaways at key junctures of games.

Steve Downie had 3 shots and 3 hits in 12:37 and keeps drawing penalties from the opposition right and left.

Drew Miller had 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:38.

Zenon Konopka had 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:34 as the fourth line's ice time crept up by about four minutes in this game. They are fun to watch.

James Wright had 1 shot in 11:26.

Victor Hedman rebounded from an earlier shorthanded giveaway that ended up in the back of his net to have an assist, 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 24:30. The hilarious thing is that 24:30 seems like a light night for Hedman in the ice time department.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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