Big game tonight as the Falcons try to move to 4 games over .500 at the expense of second place Portland. Bolt Prospects has activated the mobile unit (my laptop) and we will be liveblogging this game via the B2 Networks feed as a part of our continuing Midterm evaluation process. Justin Keller is still out of the lineup with a bum ankle and probably will be out another week according to the Springfield Republican. Sebastien Caron will be in net for the Pirates, so the birds have their work cut out for them tonight. Check the extended comments between periods for updates and observations throughout the game.
Falcons Starting Lineup:
Grand. Theft. Larceny.
1. POR- Bembridge, (unassisted)
2. SPR- Milley, (Healey, Corso)(PP)
3. SPR- Healey, (Milley)
This was a Lightning team that was not mentally prepared to play tonight.
Johan Holmqvist stopped just 22 of 26 shots he faced tonight for the loss. Dan Boyle had a pair of assists for the Lightning who got goals from Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba and Ruslan Fedotenko. Individual assists went to Eric Perrin, Brad Richards, Holmqvist and Vincent Lecavalier.
The Flyers came out in the first five minutes of the game and really ambushed the Lightning with a lot of speed and hustle, but that isn't what cost the Lightning the game. Mental mistakes destroyed the team in this game and three goals came directly from preventable Tampa miscues. Holmqvist allowed an awful short side goal to go through him on Zhitnik's opening goal, they allowed a 2-on-1 on a bad defensive change on the second goal and Paul Ranger fell down surrendering a breakaway on Kapanen's winning goal. This is a team that's just 1 point out of the basement in the Southeast Division now and they continue, time after time, to play down to inferior opponents and leave critical points on the table. This was the Lightning's 38th game so we're just shy of the midway point of their season and no one in that lineup seems to have gotten the memo that the drive to the playoffs has to start now. Better to get the points you need now than be sitting in March four or five points out of the hunt scoreboard watching desperate for help.
Philadelphia 4:01, Alexei Zhitnik 3 (power play) (Peter Forsberg, Joni Pitkanen)
Tampa Bay 10:06, Martin St. Louis 25 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Dan Boyle)
Philadelphia 16:41, Simon Gagne 18 (Mike Knuble, Peter Forsberg)
Philadelphia 9:30, Simon Gagne 19 (Joni Pitkanen, Peter Forsberg)
Philadelphia 19:42, Sami Kapanen 5 (Jeff Carter)
Tampa Bay 1:18, Filip Kuba 5 (power play) (Brad Richards, Johan Holmqvist)
Tampa Bay 14:02, Ruslan Fedotenko 10 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Slovakia allowed three unanswered third period goals today falling to Sweden 6-3. Lightning prospect Vladimir Mihalik had 1 goal in the game and was +1 with 1 shot on goal. Marek Bartanus was scoreless with no shots on goal in the loss. Now at 0-2, Slovakia's medal round chances are on life support heading into a matchup Saturday against Team USA. The Americans were mentioned among the pre-tournament favorites but have also fallen to 0-2 early in the tournament and will be just as desperate as the Slovaks to get a victory to try and salvage their medal round hopes.