Dollars to donuts, Stamkos' penalty shot was in.
Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. Tampa Bay outshot the Thrashers 41-24, but a soft goal by McKenna ended up being the margin.
01:24 TB Roberts (4), (Downie, Stamkos)
09:52 ATL Stuart (1), (Perrin)(SH)
02:02 ATL Kozlov (18), (Peverley, Havelid)
19:50 ATL Kovalchuk (23), (unassisted)(EN)
Steve Downie had an assist, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 9:59.
Matt Smaby had 1 shot, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:58.
David Koci was +1 with 1 hit in 6:48.
Roberts goes from goat to hero in the span of a couple of nights.
Mike McKenna had a 28 save shutout for his first career NHL win.
13:34 TB Roberts (3), (Eminger, Stamkos)
Roberts, who got played like a fiddle by Matt Cooke to help cost his team a point in the standings against the Pens, tipped in an Eminger point shot for the game winning goal tonight. I sense mayhem on the message boards.
Steve Downie was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:37. He limped off after getting hit with a puck, so we'll have to see if he's ready to go next time out.
Matt Smaby got himself a 5 for fighting early in the game and also had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:22. Tonight was a really good night for Smaby. He got an opportunity to show the coaching staff what he can do with more ice time, and he was solid. He was even surprisingly good at pinching in and keeping plays alive at the blueline in the offensive zone. I've been extremely impressed since he came back from his injury. It looks to me like he may very well stick this time.
David Koci played 1:31 in the game.
Amazing. Truly a game that Pittsburgh had no business winning.
Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the overtime loss in his first NHL start. He can thank a lazy referee for one of those goals.
15:25 TB Malone (16), (Recchi, Ranger)
05:00 TB St. Louis (19), (Lecavalier, Eminger)
16:52 TB Lecavalier (24), (Prospal, St. Louis)
02:25 PIT Malkin (23), (Dupuis)
14:06 PIT Eaton (2), (Sykora)
16:31 PIT Sykora (20), (Malkin, Crosby)(PP)
04:44 PIT Malkin (24), (Staal, Orpik)
It's the kind of stuff that makes you want to vomit. The Lightning completely controlled this game, and the drip, drip, drip. Paul Ranger with a turnover led to Pittsburgh's first goal. Then Gord Dwyer refuses to try to move on a harmless play around the boards that ends up eventually in the back of the net on a shot by Mark Eaton that bounces off Eminger's shin pad and in. Then Gary Roberts takes an absolutely idiotic penalty flexing his pimp hand on Matt Cooke. Tying goal goes in. Pittsburgh wins it late on a goalmouth scramble. Vomit. So much good effort in this game wasted by bad luck and stupidity by veteran players. Seriously, Gary Roberts got played by Cooke like a violin. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Steve Downie was -1 in 9:15 with 1 shot and 4 hits.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot.
06:27 NYI Hunter (13), (Nielsen, Okposo)(PP)
08:29 NYI Streit (9), (Weight, Comrie)
09:52 NYI Martinek (1), (Park, Witt)
03:05 TB Lecavalier (23), (Recchi, Murphy)(PP)
I think you now readjust your goals for the season to trying to finish with a winning record, but playoffs is likely out of the question. There will be a lot of folks trying to lay tonight's loss at the feet of Karri Ramo, and he did allow two soft goals, but the Lightning only scored 1 goal on an AHL caliber club with Yann Danis in net. That's absolutely unacceptable.
Steve Downie had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 7:44. He doesn't play enough, in my opinion.
Matt Smaby had 4 shots and 2 blocked shots in 10:38. He, also, probably doesn't play enough minutes. He absolutely destroyed Blake Comeau and drew a penalty in the process behind the net in the first period tonight.
The NHL league office is a mockery.
07:03 PHI Richards (17), (Knuble, Gagne)
17:55 TB Prospal (13), (Ranger)(PP)
08:05 PHI Jones (2), (Richards, Carle)(PP)
14:41 PHI Richards (18), (Lupul, Jones)
07:59 PHI Carter (31), (Hartnell, Timonen)
10:47 PHI Hartnell (18), (Vaananen, Niittymaki)
13:08 PHI Carter (32), (unassisted)
What do you do when the league won't even allow you to compete? What do you do when you know that any borderline call and Toronto will go get on the phone and rule against you? I am amazed the NHL still hasn't gotten egg all over their face yet for the obvious bias and conflict of interest their decision a few seasons ago to move video replay to a "war room" in Toronto, and the subsequent effect it's had on the objectivity of the video officiating. It's been, what, four seasons now? And, the next borderline call that goes the Lightning's way will be the first. Two nights. Three video goal reviews. Every single damned one of them went against the Lightning.
In the first period, Mark Recchi may have kicked a puck in front of him which he whacked at and touched before it crossed the goal line. It wasn't obvious on video but the audio very clearly registered the sound of Recchi's stick hitting the puck. The goal was called good on the ice by the referee, but the decision was overturned by Toronto, despite a lack of conclusive evidence. In the third period Steven Stamkos batted a puck in on a rebound off Philly's goaltender Antero Nittymaki. The goal was immediately disallowed on the ice as batted in by a stick above the crossbar. This time? Toronto hides behind a lack of conclusive evidence and upholds what the referee's original call was. Same game. Same refs. Same video goal "war room." And the exact opposite calls. The other constant? Both were goals that would've been huge for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Waved off. And, every single person who has followed the Lightning in the past four seasons knew what the outcome of the review would be long before the ref hung up the phone. I mean, hell, 6'9" Zdeno Chara could whack a puck in with a high stick at his eye level three seasons ago and it counted in Toronto's eyes because it was against the Lightning, but 6'1" Steven Stamkos, standing legs apart lower to the ice for balance, bats a puck in at around shoulder height and it's "inconclusive." It's become a joke. They might as well name Vince McMahon the NHL's comissioner at this point.
Steve Downie had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 3 hits in 11:25. He would've had a helper had Stamkos' goal counted, but that was before Toronto got involved.
Matt Smaby had 2 shots and 2 hits in 13:45. It's striking how comfortable he has looked in these past two games. Have I mentioned I think this league is a joke?
David Koci got in a fight and had 1 blocked shot in 4:08. I wish he'd go to Toronto and slug every biased nitwit manning the "war room."
Now, don't get me wrong. There's no telling how the game might've turned out had either of the goals counted. Antero Nittymaki played a great game, stopping breakaways by Jeff Halpern and Marty St. Louis and a subsequent penalty shot by Marty St. Louis. There's no guarantee a 2-1 Lightning lead would've led to a Lightning victory or that the Lightning cutting a third period deficit to 3-2 would've led to a Lightning comeback. The point is, the league did not even allow the Lightning to compete in this game. They didn't allow the Lightning to have a chance. There was only one outcome possible to this game thanks to Toronto, and that was a victory by Philadelphia. And, that's a farce.
It really hurts when you outplay a team but you don't get the bounces.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the loss.
16:55 TB Recchi (11), (unassisted)
05:34 CAR Larose (11), (Cullen)(SH)
18:36 CAR Cullen (11), (Pitkanen)
05:10 TB Malone (15), (Recchi, Downie)
18:24 CAR Staal (21), (Samsonov, Gleason)
The really bad news is that Florida is in the process of smoking Montreal tonight, so the Lightning will wake up tomorrow 10 points out of 8th place.
Steve Downie had 1 assist, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 9:59.
Matt Smaby was +1 with 2 hits in 9:59, and played really well for a guy who was a late decision to play tonight.
It was an organization-wide choke fest tonight.
Mike Smith allowed 4 goals on 21 shots in the loss.
04:37 TB Lecavalier (19), (Smaby, Prospal)
13:36 TB Prospal (10), (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)
17:55 FLA Campbell (9), (Peltonen, Dvorak)
18:46 TB Malone (13), (St. Louis, Meszaros)
06:39 FLA Stillman (10), (Horton, Bouwmeester)(PP)
10:56 FLA Zednik (6), (Booth, Horton)
19:59 FLA Bouwmeester (10), (Stillman, Horton)(PP)
In the NHL, you can never take your foot off the gas and expect a team to lay down when you only have a two goal lead. Lukas Krajicek allowed himself to be outhustled by Nathan Horton to set up Florida's second goal and it was all downhill from there. By the time the Lightning got back to playing at full speed, Florida had gone into full blown trap mode. This is something they've done a couple of times before this season, and hopefully they'll finally get the message. No two goal lead is really safe.
Matt Smaby had 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes in 14:53.
David Koci was +1 in 4:08.
Kevin Quick was +1 with 3 shots in 17:52. He was also out on the ice when the Lightning pulled Smith at the end of the game. That speaks volumes about how the coaching staff feels about Quick.
Now, that said, I am really looking forward to the team getting Paul Ranger back in the lineup and healthy. Playing Lukas Krajicek and Steve Eminger 25+ minutes a night just isn't a sustainable way to win hockey games.
A good win for the Lightning and their young netminder.
Karri Ramo stopped 29 of 32 shots for the win in his first NHL start of the season.
03:28 TBL St. Louis (16), (Lecavalier)(SH)
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)
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.
What a sad, ugly third period.
Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 27 shots in the loss.
08:36 TB Meszaros (1), (Halpern)
12:17 PHX Jokinen (14), (Doan, Michalek)
00:46 PHX Mueller (9), (Reinprecht, Doan)(PP)
14:43 TB Halpern (2), (Prospal, Recchi)(PP)
08:09 PHX Turris (6), (Hale, Reinprecht)
The team just looked like it was skating in quicksand in the final frame.
Matt Smaby had 3 hits in 11:31.
Steven Stamkos had 2 shots and was 50% on draws in 10:49.
That's more like it.
Mike Smith stopped 27 of 28 shots for the win.
02:48 TB Eminger (3), (Jokinen, Hall)(PP)
16:20 TB St. Louis (14), (Lecavalier, Prospal)
01:00 TB St. Louis (15), (Prospal, Eminger)
18:16 TB Malone (10), (Halpern, Mihalik)
19:38 ATL Christensen (2), (Slater, Boulton)
I'll have to investigate who broke code by uttering the "s" word before the game was over to cost Smith the goose egg.
You get a new appreciation for the difference between an NHL defenseman and a minor league defenseman watching what getting Krajicek back in the lineup does for the team. You also have to admire the toughness of Andrej Meszaros and you see that when Eminger's offensive game shows up, along with the MVP line, the Lightning are very potent offensively.
Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 14:58. I believe when Ranger and Heward come back, that Heward should be sent back to Norfolk of the AHL and Smaby should be the new #7 defenseman. It's time for him to learn his craft at the NHL level.
Vladimir Mihalik got his first NHL assist in 6:52 of ice time. Hopefully this emergency recall will energize Vladimir to reapply himself when he goes back to Norfolk. He pouted a bit when he was sent down at the start of the season. The psychology will be different on an emergency recall, I hope.
Steven Stamkos had 1 shot and was 20% on draws in 11:35. He's now 2 games away from his Bolt Prospects graduation from prospect status.