3-0-0 is a great start. However, I was not impressed with the team's play tonight.
Make no mistake about it, Johan Holmqvist stole the win tonight with a 30 saves on 31 shots effort that included multiple odd man rushes and breakaways. He got the win despite the Lightning being outshot 31-23 by an inferior opponent.
Tomorrow's headline should read: "Paper Champions Get Folded Up".
Johan Holmqvist barely had to break a sweat stopping 13 of 15 shots he faced for the win.
Tampa Bay 5:22, Vincent Lecavalier 3 (unassisted)
Atlanta 8:58, Slava Kozlov 1 (Tobias Enstrom, Todd White)
Opening night wins are a good thing.
New Jersey 9:06, Brian Gionta 1 (power play) (Zach Parise, Travis Zajac)
Tampa Bay lays an egg in what was supposed to be their tune up for the regular season.
Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 14 shots for the loss before giving way to Johan Holmqvist who allowed 1 goal on 18 shots.
No matter how you slice this, tonight's result was disappointing considering this supposedly was the lineup John Tortorella wants in place on opening night. The poor result was further compounded by more injury issues as forward Nick Tarnasky had his nose broken in a fight and defenseman Paul Ranger left the game with a minor shoulder injury.
Right now the Lightning have nothing resembling continuity in their forward lines or their defensive pairings due to injuries resulting in precious few opportunities for units to work together at game speed to get their timing. As a consequence the Lightning were outshot 32-23 tonight and, frankly, there are no quick fixes. The Lightning will have to try to get healthy again and grind it out over the first few weeks of the season and try to keep their heads above water while the rust and the growing pains are shaken off.
The Lightning were fortunate to have dressed an extra defenseman tonight and Paul Ranger's minutes were partially absorbed by the three headed monster of Mike Lundin, Matt Smaby, and Doug Janik. Unfortunately, the three were a combined -5 in the game.
Lundin led the group in ice time with 20:27 but was -2 with no shots on goal and no hits for the contest. Smaby had the second most ice time at 14:36 and was -1 with 1 hit. Janik brought up the rear with 12:32 of ice time and a -2 rating. Both Smaby and Janik also took penalties for tripping and hooking, respectively.
According to Tampabaylightning.com, day one of camp scrimmages ended in a 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White. Team White's goal was scored by winger Kyle Wanvig off assists from Brad Richards and Doug Janik while Team Black's goal was scored by Vincent Lecavalier off assists from Vaclav Prospal and Paul Ranger.
Wanvig and Janik continue to make a strong impression after good showings in camp during physical testing on Thursday and Friday. Erik Erlendsson also notes in his blog that Wanvig was displaying a strong physical presence throughout the game to go with his goal. The Lightning's top-12 forwards appeared to be set going into training camp, but Wanvig appears to be playing his way into the discussion of who will be the first forward called up at the very least.
Erlendsson notes none of the defensemen vying for the team's #6 and #7 defenseman jobs separated from the pack, and that all three goaltenders played well with wunderkind Karri Ramo stopping 16 of 16 shots faced including a penalty shot by rookie pro Mike Lundin.