Konopka, Zenon

NHL Game Night: 12-11-09 Lightning at Avalanche

Keep your foot on the gas and you win.

TB-1
COL-2 (SO)

Antero Niittymaki allowed 1 goal on 35 shots but he also allowed 1 goal on 3 shootout attempts and that was all it took for him to get the penalty shot session loss. He deserved a lot better. He was absolutely brilliant in the third period.

First Period
TB 12:12, Downie 6 (Lecavalier, St. Louis)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
COL 12:11, Wolski 12 (Stastny, Wilson)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- NONE
COL- Wolski

The Lightning were actually leading in shots after two periods 17-14, primarily on the strength of a very good first 30 minutes. They started to let off the gas midway through the middle frame, and then suddenly the Avalanche hung a 20-5 shot disparity on them the rest of the way. It's unacceptable. The forecheck just evaporates way too easily for this team, especially when they're trying to protect a lead. Take a tip from Chris Dingman, the best way to protect a one goal lead is to get the puck behind their net and sit on it for 30 seconds. The Lightning are lucky to hold possession in the other team's zone for 3 seconds in scenarios like tonight. Someone's got to start paying the price to hold onto the puck.

And for the love of God, someone please score a (Ooh La La!) shootout goal.

Matt Smaby led the Lightning in hits with 4 in 15:30. Hello old friend. We missed you.

Zenon Konopka had 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, and was 63% on draws in 8:37.

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 18:18.

James Wright had 1 shot, 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, and was 67% on draws in 15:32.

Victor Hedman had 1 shot in 25:31.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-9-09 Oilers at Lightning

Lightning fall to .500. Season at a crossroads.

EDM-3
TB-2

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
TB 1:08, St. Louis 6 (Lecavalier, Malone)
EDM 11:21, Gilbert 2 (Nilsson, Stortini)

Second Period
EDM 6:31, Penner 17 (Gagner, Brule)
TB 7:34, Hedman 2 (St. Louis)
EDM 11:07, Stortini 3 (Stone)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Ryan Malone left in the first period with a lower body injury. Steven Stamkos didn't see the ice again after what turned out to be Edmonton's winning goal with an injury.

Messages are being sent. If they aren't received, changes are almost sure to be the next option.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 12 penalty minutes, and was 80% on draws in 7:48.

Paul Szczechura was -2 with 2 shots and 1 hit and was 56% on draws in 20:50.

James Wright was -2 in 13:57.

Victor Hedman had a goal, 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots as he rose back to the 26 minute mark with 26:04 of ice time.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-7-09 Capitals at Lightning

They can skate with the Caps, but they couldn't finish their chances.

WSH-3
TB-0

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
WSH 7:39, Ovechkin 19 (Semin)
WSH 12:32, Eric Fehr 8 (Fleischmann)
WSH 19:35, Ovechkin 20 (Fleischmann, Semin)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Steven Stamkos 0 shots on goal. I rest my case. The coaching staff needs to get on Steven hard to shoot the puck more. If I was Tocchet I'd tell Lecavalier, Stamkos, and St. Louis the first one to 5 shots in the next game gets $500.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:57 and was 50% on draws.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot, 1 hit, and was 80% on draws in 13:17.

James Wright had 2 shots and was 50% on draws in 13:38.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 2 hits in 19:11.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-5-09 Islanders at Lightning

Just what the doctor ordered.

NYI-0
TB-4

Mike Smith stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout. He's been fairly resilient this season. He had a terrible game against Ottawa earlier in the year and he had a good start his next time out afterwards. He was suspect a couple of times against Boston, in my opinion, but he shut the door tonight against the Isles.

First Period
TB 1:35, Malone 16 (Meszaros, St. Louis)
TB 19:08, Downie 5 (Meszaros, St. Louis)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
TB 2:58, Halpern 5 (Foster, Lecavalier)(PP)
TB 10:31, Hedman 1 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)

Steve Downie is quietly becoming a real weapon on the power play, and Jeff Halpern is obviously a new man after his conversion to the wing.

Zenon Konopka had 1 hit, 1 blocked shot, and was 71% on draws in 7:34.

James Wright had 1 shot, 1 hit, and was 50% on draws in 12:51.

Blair Jones had 1 shot, 1 blocked shot, and was 50% on draws in 12:00.

Victor Hedman scored his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 21:32. To use the basketball vernacular, the big man filled the lane and finished with authority on the "fast break" 3-on-1. Seriously, he looked like a shark attacking his prey the way he recognized the odd man rush situation and used his speed to blast right to the net and he made no mistakes with his shot. Beautiful, beautiful goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-4-09 Lightning at Devils

I'd almost rather lose a game 4-2 then cough up a winning goal in the last minute. Almost.

TB-2
NJ-3

Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 19 shots for the loss. It's been an alarming trend over the last week and a half where the Lightning haven't been getting quite the same level of goaltending they were getting, and the results have very quickly turned sour because of it. That's not to say Niitty was terrible, but 3 goals on 19 shots isn't a pretty number.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB 1:26, Lecavalier 6 (Halpern)

Third Period
NJ 1:15, Rolston 9 (Niedermayer)(PP)
NJ 5:14, Bergfors 8 (Zharkov)(PP)
TB 17:00, Downie 4 (Stamkos, Malone)(PP)
NJ 19:21, Langenbrunner 6 (Greene, Rolston)

Zenon Konopka had 5 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 7:18.

Paul Szczechura played just 4:12 in the game.

James Wright got in his first NHL fight and had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 9:23.

Blair Jones had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 13:27. Let me be one of the first to say how proud I am of Blair to work his way into this opportunity. He has always had a lot of promise since his days in junior, but he's fluctuated between the penthouse in his rookie season and the doghouse for the past couple of seasons because he's a bit of a laid back Western farm boy, as Steve Stirling once put it to me, so the physical and defensive intensity hasn't always been there night in and night out. He's really started to understand more about being prepared to go every night and he's earned this chance. Let that be a lesson to all the youngsters in Norfolk: even in your fourth season of pro you've got a chance if you work hard, prepare like a professional, and put it together at the rink.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 1 hit in 19:32.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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