Never a dull moment.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 25 shots for the win.
Tampa Bay 4:25, Jason Ward 6 (Mathieu Darche, Filip Kuba)
Tampa Bay 7:13, Paul Ranger 10 (Craig MacDonald)
Tampa Bay 14:55, Nick Tarnasky 5 (Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier)
St. Louis 15:04, Jamal Mayers 8 (Jay McClement, Lee Stempniak)
St. Louis 19:37, David Perron 10 (Paul Kariya, Eric Brewer)
The only team I know that can build a three goal lead with 5:05 left in the game and it's still not completely safe. Have mercy.
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.
The Pussy Cats FEAR #74.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the win.
Tampa Bay 9:15, Brad Richards 12 (Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis)
Florida 14:59, David Booth 11 (Jassen Cullimore, Stephen Weiss)
Florida 18:31, Brett McLean 4 (Magnus Johansson, Jay Bouwmeester)
Tampa Bay 19:44, Brad Richards 13 (empty net) (Martin St. Louis)
#74 got out of the press box and popped in 2 goals. THAT is how you respond to being scratched. Very nice. I'm happy for 'nasty.
Mathieu Darche had an assist and was +2 in 11:08 with 1 shot and 2 hits. I think Torts is finally starting to zero in on where the sweet spots are in terms of ice time for the checking liners. It's a shame it took until January to get here.
Call up Ramo. It's time. Hell, it's past time.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 9 shots for the loss before giving way to Marc Denis who allowed 3 goals on 15 shots the rest of the way.
Look, I understand there was a business decision that had to be made at the start of this season that precluded Karri Ramo making this team over Marc Denis. However, this team is collapsing under the weight of putrid goaltending and the resulting lack in confidence and morale that comes from it. This team is playing joyless hockey. There is no swagger, and the reason is simple: this team has to work hard right now to generate scoring chances and score goals and nothing saps a team of its juice more quickly than pouring on the effort to generate 4 or 5 good scoring chances only to have the other team come down on a relatively harmless play and pop in a soft goal. That happened tonight, and it's been happening all season and now it's finally coming to a head.
12/10: Lightning-1 at Leafs-6
Holmqvist 4/22 (L)
12/13: Flames-9 at Lightning-6
Denis 4/25 (L)
12/18: Lightning-2 at Thrashers-6
Holmqvist 3/9 (L)
That isn't in the span of a season, or even in the span of a month. That's in the span of 8 days, and you can spread some blame around to the defense and to turnovers by the forwards, but ultimately common sense says you have to look at your goaltending when you allow 6 or more goals in 3 of the last 4 games. It wouldn't be so bad if teams were simply abusing Holmer high glove side like has been prone to happen over the last couple of seasons. It wouldn't be so bad if teams were simply abusing Denis and his slow feet by making plays moving the puck east to west for one time shots. Those are goals that the defense can at least do something to try to prevent. No, what you saw tonight on the Recchi and Thorburn goals where pucks going through Holmer and Denis, and those are the kind of goals that are inexcusable on this level of hockey.
Now, rather than trading anything that's not nailed down there is a simple move that ought to be made immediately to try and staunch the bleeding. You see, there are folks like me (and I suspect at least one or two people in the organization too) who honestly believe the best goaltender in the organization is playing in Norfolk. Call up Karri Ramo. Call him up because he won't allow pucks to go through him. Call him up because his unflappable swagger might just be contagious. Call him up and see what happens when the team realizes they aren't entering every game spotting the other side (at least) one goal. Call him up because at this stage of the game you just don't have a choice.
October was the time for business decisions. Fine. It's December, the team is 3 games under .500 and tied for second to last in the conference. Now is the time for a hockey decision. Business be damned.
Call. Up. Ramo.
Box score from NHL.com.
Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.
Washington 0:08, Dave Steckel 2 (Brian Pothier)
Tampa Bay 5:50, Vincent Lecavalier 22 (Vaclav Prospal)
Washington 5:06, Brian Pothier 3 (Matt Pettinger, Tomas Fleischmann)
Mathieu Darche was -1 in 16:28 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits.
Mike Lundin continues to get minimal ice time, playing 11:39 tonight with a -1 rating a 1 blocked shot.
Blair Jones played 1 shift. 9 seconds. Someone do the math how much money he made on a per second basis tonight. Talk about easy money.
They made that way harder than it had to be.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 26 of 29 shots faced before stopping 3 of 4 shooters in penalty shots for the shootout win.
Ottawa 7:05, Daniel Alfredsson 18 (Joe Corvo, Jason Spezza)
Tampa Bay 9:08, Filip Kuba 3 (Martin St. Louis, Vaclav Prospal)
Ottawa 18:03, Daniel Alfredsson 19 (Dany Heatley, Christoph Schubert)
Ottawa 18:39, Wade Redden 4 (Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley)
A funny thing happens when you put forth an effort.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 28 of 29 shots faced for the victory.
You might've noticed there was no game thread for the Detroit game. That was not an accident. After sleepwalking for six period straight my attitude was that if the team didn't care, honestly, why should I?
Tonight, however, the effort level and the will to compete was back, and they put together a sold, convincing win against a club they traditionally struggle against. Funny that. The harder you work the better you get.
Mike Lundin blocked 1 shot in 17:56 of ice time as he remains on track for an early January graduation from prospect status. Tonight was his 26th NHL game, leaving him 15 short of the finish line by site criteria.
Mathieu Darche had 1 goal, 3 shots, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and a +1 rating in 18:12 of ice time. Now 19 games played into his season, Darche needs 22 more to graduate from prospect status, which could happen as early as mid January.
One goal losses piling up.
Johan Holmqvist stopped just 18 of 21 shots faced in the loss.
Tampa Bay 0:35, Vincent Lecavalier 16 (Martin St. Louis, Shane O'Brien)
New Jersey 4:49, Brian Gionta 6 (power play) (Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner)
New Jersey 12:19, Brian Gionta 7 (Travis Zajac, Zach Parise)
New Jersey 13:01, David Clarkson 2 (John Madden, Jay Pandolfo)
Johan Holmqvist stopped only 18 of 22 shots faced in the loss as the Lightning choked away a 3-1 lead at the second intermission to squander an opportunity to get within 3 points in the race for the division.
Gee, who do you think Versus and the NHL wanted to see win tonight?
Johan Holmqvist allowed 4 goals on 24 shots for the overtime loss.
Ridiculous officiating. Ridiculous broadcasting by Versus. Ridiculous all around.