The kid is teflon.
Karri Ramo rebounded from that disasterous third period against Buffalo to stop 34 of 35 shots for the win tonight. That's why this young man is special. Most netminders his age would've had their psyche destroyed in that Buffalo game. Not Ramo. He's fearless, and he's got the shortest memory of any 21 year old netminder this organization has ever seen.
Matt Smaby had 8:48 of ice time tonight with 1 shot and a team high 5 hits. He kept his shifts nice and short tonight, especially in the third when it was a one goal game. It's a little thing, but the coaches will appreciate it.
If the Lightning can get Stamkos to anchor a new scoring line and keep this Ouellet/Halpern duo together as a third scoring line, watch out.
Another quality start by the kid wasted.
Karri Ramo stopped 31 of 33 shots in the overtime loss.
New Jersey 12:16, Zach Parise 28 (Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta)
New Jersey 4:02, Patrik Elias 18 (Sheldon Brookbank)
That's three straight quality starts by Ramo, even despite the fact he's had some long layoffs between starts. Ramo now has 15 decisions on the season, and looking through his starts this year there were only about three games where he didn't play well enough to give the Lightning a chance to win games. Ramo is part of the reason I'm optimistic about next season if the Lightning can get Steve Stamkos in the draft or another quality second line center. At just 21 years old Ramo is showing he can consistently give this team quality starts. Mike Smith, at 25 years old, also shows he can give this team quality starts. I feel like this tandem gives the Lightning the most stability they have had, by far, between the pipes since 2003-2004. I also still believe Ramo needs to get more starts. I have a pretty good idea what Mike Smith is and what he's going to do for this organization, but Ramo is just a pup and every start you get him now gives him more experience toward reaching his monster potential.
Alexandre Picard continues to get big minutes in his extended debut for the organization: 28:59 tonight.
Lightning live to fight another day.
Karri Ramo got the win stopping 23 of 26 shots faced.
Vancouver 2:41, Luc Bourdon 2 (Alex Burrows, Taylor Pyatt)
Tampa Bay 7:56, Vaclav Prospal 21 (power play) (Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards)
Vancouver 16:24, Taylor Pyatt 13 (Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows)
Tampa Bay 8:34, Brad Richards 16 (Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba)
Vancouver 19:35, Alexander Edler 3 (shorthanded) (Mason Raymond, Daniel Sedin)
The Lightning stayed within 9 points of division leading Carolina with 2 games in hand. Is it enough to keep the Lightning from being sellers at the deadline? Probably not. If they can string some wins together it might be enough to keep the Lightning from making big structural changes though.
Lightning enter All-Star break with a thud.
Ottawa 13:43, Daniel Alfredsson 30 (Antoine Vermette)
Ottawa 14:12, Jason Spezza 17 (Randy Robitaille, Daniel Alfredsson)
Ottawa 18:41, Daniel Alfredsson 31 (power play) (Jason Spezza, Andrej Meszaros)
Ottawa 4:38, Daniel Alfredsson 32 (shorthanded) (Mike Fisher)
Ottawa 9:36, Antoine Vermette 11 (Daniel Alfredsson, Wade Redden)
Tampa Bay 13:51, Dan Boyle 1 (unassisted)
Ottawa 1:39, Randy Robitaille 8 (Daniel Alfredsson)
Tampa Bay 1:59, Nick Tarnasky 4 (Brad Lukowich)
Ottawa 3:58, Dean McAmmond 6 (Chris Neil, Mike Fisher)
Tampa Bay 5:07, Craig MacDonald 2 (Andre Roy, Nick Tarnasky)
Tampa Bay 15:17, Dan Boyle 2 (Paul Ranger, Martin St. Louis)
Ottawa 16:33, Jason Spezza 18 (Andrej Meszaros, Wade Redden)
The good news is the Lightning got Dan Boyle back from injury and he promptly potted a pair of goals.
Plaudits for Nick Tarnasky's 1 goal and 1 assist.
Time to take the cap off the pen and start writing down some preliminary plans for next season.
Karri Ramo stopped 22 of 24 shots faced in the loss as the Lightning wasted another quality start by the kid giving him no goal support.
What's worse than getting shutout by a has been like Jose Theodore? I can't think of many things. The Lightning did well to put 22 shots on Theodore in a futile third period comeback bid, but they did so after sleepwalking through the first two periods in which the Avs outshot the Lightning 21-10.
The math simply does not favor a Lightning playoff berth at this point, and by the time Dan Boyle returns in another two weeks there likely won't be anything to play for but jobs next season.
Mathieu Darche was even in 10:03 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots.
The frustrating thing is the team did almost everything right tonight and still got nothing for it.
Another quality start by Karri Ramo wasted by lack of goal support. Ramo allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss, but really he did just about everything humanly possible to keep the Lightning in this game. The third Penguins goal which was a broken stick shot by Sykora of a skate to Ryan Malone at point blank range is one of the more unlucky goals I've seen in a while.
The Lightning were a Filip Kuba crossbar and/or a Vincent Lecavalier shooting the puck into Conklin's glove rather than a gaping 4x6 away from getting points out of this one. They played well with the exception of a short span in the second period when they were under siege a bit. Under ordinary circumstances over the past two seasons you could shrug this off and say "They'll get 'em next time." Problem is, there aren't many more next times if you do the math. The Lightning can't leave anymore points on the table and have hopes of making a run at the playoffs. I give it another two weeks before Jay Feaster really has to start thinking about pulling the plug on this thing and picking up assetts for a quick turnaround offseason rebuild.
Mathieu Darche had 1 assist and was +1 in 7:46 with 1 shot and 2 hits. Darche is set to graduate from overage prospect status in 4 games, putting his likely last individual stat line report at 1/19 against the Senators.
Lightning gut it out to get back in the win column.
Karri Ramo with a really gritty performance in net. He surrendered New York's first goal on a puckhandling gaffe and never looked 100% comfortable, but he stopped the pucks he had to stop and ended up making 31 saves on 34 shots for the win.
NY Rangers 4:22, Michal Rozsival 11 (power play) (Chris Drury, Paul Mara)
Tampa Bay 19:57, Martin St. Louis 17 (empty net) (Vincent Lecavalier)
The Lightning pulled this one out with a critical penalty kill down two men with a one goal lead in the third. Credit to the Lightning PK for getting in shooting lanes and Ramo for getting the one glove save he needed 2/3 through that PK to get a whistle. It doesn't hurt that the Rangers kept missing the net too.
Mathieu Darche was even in 9:28 with 1 shot on goal.
Finally, the Lightning manage 3 goals support for Ramo and they get a point out of the deal. It isn't rocket science.
Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 29 shots before getting roughed up in the extra session to take the penalty shot loss.
Tampa Bay 13:29, Andreas Karlsson 1 (Jan Hlavac, Shane O'Brien)
Toronto 3:23, Jason Blake 6 (Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle)
Toronto 9:39, Mats Sundin 18 (Jason Blake)
Tampa Bay 10:08, Martin St. Louis 14 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
Toronto 17:27, Hal Gill 2 (Jason Blake, Pavel Kubina)
Tampa Bay 19:19, Paul Ranger 7 (Vaclav Prospal, Vincent Lecavalier)
Just a terrible third period as the Lightning waste a quality start by the kid.
Karri Ramo stopped 33 of 35 shots faced in the loss.
Carolina 9:31, Ray Whitney 17 (Cory Stillman, Frantisek Kaberle)
Carolina 19:00, Ray Whitney 18 (empty net) (Scott Walker)
Carolina 19:57, Eric Staal 17 (empty net) (Ray Whitney, Bret Hedican)
A star is born?
In his first NHL start, Karri Ramo stopped 31 of 32 shots faced for the win.
Fate played the cruel trick of scheduling my girlfriend's company's holiday party on this night, of all nights. Three years I've been covering this kid since all the way back when the only people keeping an eye on him were Karri Kettunen and the couple dozen people showing up to Lahti Pelicans Junior A games, and I have to Tivo his first NHL start? What the heck?
By Ramo standards, believe it or not, I thought he played a pretty mediocre game. He struggled with his rebound control and as far as his positioning goes I thought he played a little deep in the net and overplayed to one side on occassion. Those areas will need to improve, and my expectation is that they will.
Bottom line though, he stopped pucks. Just stop pucks. The Lightning don't need the second coming of Patrick Roy (yet). They just need someone steady who isn't going to spot the opposition cheap goals and isn't going to panic and allow one goal to snowball into giving up three or four goals in a period. He did that tonight and as long as he continues to do that, I'm willing to bet Torts will keep starting him.
Kudos to the Lightning for playing a pretty good game defensively in front of Ramo too, defensemen and forwards alike. They knew they had a rookie in net and they knew they needed to step up and hustle for the new guy. They didn't play a perfect game defensively, but when they made mistakes they generally busted their humps to rectify the situation. I don't recall any clear cut odd man rushes tonight and there weren't any breakaways, and that's how you break a rookie in. They played hard for Karri, and Karri rewarded them by making 2 goals stand up for a win.
Of course, then again, there were those final 7 minutes when suddenly it seemed like several Lightning players were suddenly brain dead (Shane O'Brien I'm looking at you) and where easy clears became unforced turnovers and harrowing moments in the Lightning zone. Scary stuff, which I suppose made Lecavalier putting the finishing touch on the 2-on-1 to win it that much more cathartic.
Mathieu Darche played 15:04 with 3 shots and 3 hits.
Mike Lundin played 15:01 and was +1 with 1 assist, 1 shot, 2 blocked shots and, as rare as a Loch Nest Monster sighting, 1 hit. Of course he also got his world absolutely rocked on a hit in the first period.
Jay Leach played 6:26 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in his third career NHL game. Atta boy Jay.
Blair Jones got a whopping 3 shifts and 50 seconds of ice time. In what little he's played so far, I think he's looked good on the forecheck but he's getting absolutely owned in the faceoff circles.