Konopka, Zenon

NHL Game Night: 12-2-09 Lightning at Bruins

Boston remains the Lightning's chamber of horrors.

TB-1
BOS-4

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 38 shots for the loss. I thought Smitty's play was subpar tonight. I think Boston's first and third goals were suspect, and I think they really changed the complexion of the game. You can't spot Tim Thomas two extra goals of support in his own barn. He'll beat you.

First Period
BOS 8:05, Savard 5 (Morris, Chara)(PP)
BOS 14:03, Bergeron 8 (Chara, Recchi)

Second Period
BOS 13:36, Sturm 7 (Recchi, Bergeron)
BOS 16:09, Sturm 8 (Bergeron, Recchi)

Third Period
TB 1:27, Halpern 4 (Downie, Malone)

The team didn't play as poorly as the score indicated, outside of the goaltending. The forecheck and the dirty work in front of the opposition's cage is coming along. They'd have gotten more were it not for Thomas being Thomas tonight.

It was good to see Matt Smaby back in action, although he only got one shift in the third period after seeing about 10-11 minutes in the first two periods. He was feeling his way out in this game. I think he needs a couple of games to get comfortable again and then the hits will start coming. I hope the Lightning recognize what they have in Smaby. Big, physical defensemen are rare and worth their weight in gold. It seems like every year teams draft 2-3 dozen of these types of guys out of junior and only a handful pan out. So, when you get one that does, you need to keep him and continue to develop him.

Steven Stamkos has gotten into more of a pass-first mode the past couple of games. Shoot the puck, young man. Shoot it from the team hotel. Shoot it from the nacho stand. Shoot it from the restaurant after the game. Shoot the puck. He had 5 shots tonight, but he gave up at least three shots from prime scoring areas. Shoot.

Zenon Konopka had 2 shots and 4 hits in 8:17.

Paul Szczechura had 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:16 but was 43% on draws. He's been one of the Lightning's better forwards over the past couple of games.

James Wright had 2 blocked shots in 8:53.

Victor Hedman was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:41.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-30-09

The Lightning were dominated for about 45 minutes, and by then it was too late to come back.

COL-3
TB-0

Antero Niittymaki allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the loss. His first goal allowed was painfully soft, but your team needs to give you goal support.

First Period
COL 8:16, Duchene 5 (Stewart)

Second Period
COL 13:38, Duchene 6 (Stewart, Stastny)(PP)

Third Period
COL 19:46, Wolski 10 (Galiardi)(EN)

The Lightning absolutely poured it on in the final 15 minutes of the game. If they came out with that intensity, they'd have had a chance.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 15 penalty minutes with 1 hit in 5:24.

Paul Szczechura had 2 shots but was 36% on draws in 11:35. His line played well on the forecheck.

James Wright was -1 in 10:37.

Victor Hedman had 1 shot in 17:01.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-28 Lightning at Stars

Grabbed a point in a very tough spot.

TB-3
DAL-4 OT

Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 38 shots for the overtime loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB 6:18, Szczechura 2 (unassisted)
DAL 15:44, Robidas 7 (Modano, Richards)(PP)
DAL 16:55, Lehtinen 1 (Richards, Robidas)(PP)

Third Period
DAL 3:34, Morrow 10 (Benn, Ribeiro)(PP)
TB 15:06, Stamkos 17 (Meszaros)(PP)
TB 15:53, Halpern 3 (Tanguay, Hedman)

Overtime
DAL 2:12, Wandell 4 (Eriksson)

It's tough to hop on the plane after playing last night and fall behind by a couple of goals, so lots of credit to the Lightning for coming back and clawing away a point.

Zenon Konopka had 3 hits in 5:49.

Paul Szczechura had a goal and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 13:15. He's really coming on.

James Wright was +1 with 5 hits in 11:30.

Victor Hedman had a helper, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 21:21.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 11-27: Rangers at Lightning

Quite simply the best game the Lightning have played this season.

NYR-1
TB-5

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory.

First Period
TB 6:54, Stamkos 16 (St Louis, Hedman)
TB 19:24, Foster 2 (St Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)

Second Period
TB 8:05, Downie 3 (St Louis, Stamkos)(PP)
TB 12:25, Szczechura 1 (Wright, Walker)

Third Period
TB 8:24, Foster 3 (Konopka)
NYR 17:53, Callahan 4 (Anisimov, Staal)

The Lightning have struggled to get shots on goal, and they finally got to 30 tonight (31) even with the Rangers blocking quite a few shots (14). If the Lightning can get up over 30 shots a game consistently, I believe they're going to start scoring 3-4 goals a night and they've got enough goaltending to make it stand up.

More than just the shots and the goals, though, I thought the Lightning also physically handled the Rangers. Walker and Konopka both treated Brian Boyle like a speed bag with eyes and the Lightning outhit the Rangers 15-13.

One other thing: Recent BoltProspects graduate Steve Downie and Kurtis Foster are really coming on lately. Downie, in particular, has an unbelievable knack for breaking up passes and clearing attempts along the wall. He's a lot like fellow little guy Martin St. Louis in that respect.

Zenon Konopka had an assist and was +1 with 17 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 8:16. He was also 75% on draws, including the clean win that got him the helper on Foster's second goal. More than that, though, he landed a couple of nice bombs on Brian Boyle after Boyle made a dangerous hit on young Mr. Wright.

Paul Szczechura got his nose bloodied and then responded with a 1 goal, +1 performance with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and he was 69% on draws in 14:34. It was his best game of the season, and given the circumstances Coach Tocchet may want to take a stick and pop Chewey square in the nose before every game.

James Wright had a helper and was +1 in 13:55.

Victor Hedman had 1 assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 21:33. He's looked a little lost without Ohlund, but he played a strong, workmanlike game tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-25 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Apologies for the lateness of this post, and apologies for the Lightning stubbing their toe for their first regulation loss at home of the year.

TOR-4
TB-3

Antero Niittymaki allowed 4 goals on 30 shots for the loss. It was an uncharacteristic performance for Niitty.

First Period
TOR 6:45, Kulemin 4 (Gunnarsson, Primeau)
TOR 11:54, Hagman 10 (Beauchemin, Gunnarsson)
TB 14:14, Meszaros 3 (Downie, Stamkos)(PP)
TB 14:44, Lecavalier 5 (Halpern, Tanguay)

Second Period
TOR 1:20, Hagman 11 (Grabovski, Exelby)
TB 7:51, Malone 15 (Stamkos, St Louis)
TOR 18:13, Stajan 6 (Gunnarsson)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Zenon Konopka had 2 hits in 9:44.

Paul Szczechura was -1 with 1 shot in 10:14.

James Wright was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 12:07.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in 17:01.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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