Szczechura, Paul

NHL Game Night 1/12: Lightning at Kings

Taking care of business.

TB-3
LA-1

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 30 shots in the win.

First Period
18:16 TB Artyukhin (4), (Stamkos, Mihalik)
18:57 TB Recchi (10), (Lecavalier, Prospal)

Second Period
05:48 TB Lecavalier (17), (St. Louis, Krajicek)
18:02 LA Harrold (3), (Kopitar)

Third Period
NO SCORING

They fell asleep in the second half of the second period, but other than that it was a very solid, workmanlike effort by the Lightning. It was actually pretty phenomenal considering the team only dressed five defenseman, and one of them played under a dozen minutes.

David Koci had 15 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 2:28.

Paul Szczechura had 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, and was 33% on draws in 11:54.

Vladimir Mihalik had 1 assist and 1 blocked shot in 11:19.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 1/9: Lightning at Ducks

A good win for the Lightning and their young netminder.

TB-4
ANA-3

Karri Ramo stopped 29 of 32 shots for the win in his first NHL start of the season.

First Period
03:28 TBL St. Louis (16), (Lecavalier)(SH)

Second Period
01:41 TB Prospal (9), (Lecavalier, Artyukhin)
08:42 ANA Ebbett (2), (Morrison, Hedican)(PP)
17:51 TB Malone (11), (St. Louis, Meszaros)(PP)
18:28 ANA Montador (3), (Morrison, Ebbett)
18:40 ANA Pronger (8), (Getzlaf, Miller)

Third Period
10:50 TB Malone (12), (Halpern, St. Louis)

This is the kind of win that helps build psychological toughness for the club. After not showing up for the third period in Phoenix and then giving up two quick goals at the end of the second, it would've been easy for the Lightning to implode in the third against Anaheim. But, they didn't. They can draw on the experience the next time they face some adversity.

Similarly, Ramo rebounded from seeing his soft goal late in the second chased by a quick tying goal 18 seconds later to shut the door stopping 8 of 8 shots in the final frame to take with win. You can't underestimate how important that is for a young netminder like Ramo who has struggled the first half in Norfolk. This is a critical juncture for Karri with a job in Tampa likely open when and if Olaf Kolzig is moved at the trade deadline. Ramo is in the final year of his entry-level deal, and he appeared a lock to move up in March at the start of the year, but confidence in the netminder has flagged slightly. Getting a big win in Anaheim will hopefully help him regain his swagger over the next month and a half once he gets sent back to Norfolk and give him the momentum he needs to seize the backup job in Tampa Bay.

Matt Smaby was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:45.

Paul Szczechura had 2 hits and was 47% on draws in 15:52.

Steven Stamkos was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career. Tonight would've been his graduation from prospect status at Bolt Prospects, but that will have to wait for the game against the Kings.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 1/3: Hurricanes at Lightning

Not as close as the score indicates.

CAR-2
TB-3

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 28 shots in the loss.

First Period
05:05 TB Craig (1), (Hall, Pettinger)
06:41 TB Prospal (8), (Lecavalier)
14:46 CAR Williams (2), (Brind'Amour, Seidenberg)(PP)
15:57 CAR Larose (9), (Seidenberg, Pitkanen)

Second Period
06:21 CAR Pitkanen (4), (Williams, Whitney)

Third Period
NO SCORING

The Lightning could only muster 19 shots in the game, and after a good first 10 minutes the team was completely dominated by Carolina.

Ty Wishart was -1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 7:53. He looked lost, tenatative, and slow. He's not ready for primetime.

Matt Smaby had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 18:50. His mistakes were a bit more pronounced in this game.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot in 10:47. He's sort of fallen off the face of the earth since his big game against Pittsburgh.

Vladimir Mihalik had 1 shot and 2 penalty minutes in 10:47, and 3 giveaways. Athletically he's capable of playing at the NHL level. Metally, he's not there yet.

Steven Stamkos was 50% on draws in 9:50. Non-factor.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 1/1: Lightning at Capitals

Thin Lightning defensive corps gets thinned out even more.

TB-4
WSH-7

Mike Smith allowed 7 goals on 35 shots in the loss.

First Period
03:58 WSH Collins (1), (Ovechkin, Morrisonn)
08:02 WSH Steckel (5), (Bradley, Jurcina)
18:29 WSH Green (9), (Ovechkin, Backstrom)

Second Period
00:58 TB Lecavalier (15), (Prospal, St. Louis)
02:37 TB Malone (9), (Halpern)
02:48 WSH Bradley (4), (Gordon)
19:44 TB Lecavalier (16), (Prospal, St. Louis)

Third Period
08:07 WSH Gordon (5), (unassisted)
12:22 TB Recchi (9), (St. Louis, Meszaros)
12:47 WSH Clark (1), (Nylander, Green)
18:14 WSH Ovechkin (26), (Backstrom)

Paul Ranger and Lukas Krajicek were already scratches when Jamie Heward got sent to the hospital in the third period with a concussion. It left the Lightning with an incredibly short bench at the end of the game, with the coaching staff not having much confidence in recall Vladimir Mihalik.

Matt Smaby was -2 with 1 shot, 6 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 21:22. He has 13 hits in his last two games. That's something, although he was also on the ice for five Capitals goals (albeit, he was saddled with Eminger as a pairing partner).

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 15:13.

Vladimir Mihalik had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 13:22. He saw precious little ice though after Heward went down, which is telling.

Steven Stamkos was -1 with 3 shots and 1 hit and he was 50% on draws in 12:20.

I think you ball this one up and forget about it, considering all the injuries and other odd circumstances. The good news is: Lecavalier and St. Louis woke up.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 12/30: Canadiens at Lightning

Ou est Lecavalier et St. Louis?

MTL-2
TB-1 (SO)

Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 30 shots, but then allowed both Montreal shooters to score in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss.

First Period
13:18 TB Prospal (7), (Malone, St. Louis)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
00:46 MTL Latendresse (5), (Lapierre, Kostopoulos)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
MTL- Kovalev, Lapierre
TB- Jokinen

The Lightning's best players tonight were, in no partocular order, Smith, Ryan Malone, Andrej Meszaros, and Evgeny Artyukhin. Absent from that list? Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. It's not rocket science: if those two don't score, the Lightning are going to struggle to defeat quality opponents like Montreal. They're getting excellent goaltending and some secondary scoring. Heck, they're even getting some inspired play from their defensemen at times. So now it's up to Lecavalier and St. Louis. They need to turn up the volume over the next two months to get this team over the hump.

It was nauseating to be outnumbered by Canadiens fans in our own barn. They were well behaved, at least. I mean, I wasn't stepping over drunks and weaving between fist fights like I would if we were invaded by Flyers fans. Still, I would've loved nothing better than to answer their annoying little "Go Habs Go" chant with a little "Go Home Habs."

Matt Smaby had a team high 7 hits in 15:47 filling some of the ice time vacated by a scratched Marek Malik. He did some good things. He's looked better in this recall; good enough for me to think that maybe he needs to replace Jamie Heward on the roster. He made some mistakes again, sure. But, like I said after the last game, as long as they are mistakes of aggression I'm more willing to live with them. And, it's not like his veteran bretheren on the Lightning blueline don't make mistakes in their own rights. Steve Eminger is working hard to make me go gray early in life by backing off shooters and routinely letting them walk the puck into the slot.

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 1 hit and was 57% on draws in 10:34. He's taken a bit of a step back since that amazing game against the Pens.

Steven Stamkos had 1 shot, 2 hits, and was 67% on draws in 11:45. He had one really awful power play shift in the third period. Other than that I thought he was ok.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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