Despite losing having lost tonight’s game, the Lightning shouldn’t be feeling too down on themselves. For me, tonight’s contest had a really positive atmosphere starting with the video tribute to Steve Yzerman and the standing ovation given to him. You could practically feel the raw emotion coming from all parties at the Joe. This guy is a legend.
The Red Wings got a quick 2 goal lead and from there it almost felt like the game was over. The Wings are red hot right now with this being their 6th straight win. Not to say that Tampa couldn’t come back and take victory, I just wasn’t feeling it. Then, the Bolts made it interesting with goals from Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
At 2-2, I still didn’t feel like the Bolts had a chance in this one. Tomas Holmstrom scored on what can only be described as a tic-tac-tic-tac-tic-tac-tic-tac-toe play. It looked like the puck was on a string that the Lighting couldn’t cut. That goal will certainly be on the highlight reel tonight and probably for the week. To seal the deal, Darren Helm scored a goal that Dwayne Roloson would probably like back.
What Went Right?
For starters, the Bolts didn’t give up tonight. They continued to push and try and break the Red Wings but it just wasn’t going to happen. Give this group a lot of credit for fighting back from a two goal deficit against one of the hottest teams in the league. How many times have you seen a team just give up at that point?
Steven Stamkos scored his 16th of the season tying Phil Kessel for the league lead. No real surprise that Kessel is cooling down and the Stammer is heating up. He is on pace to score 55 goals this season and considering his slow start, that total could be even higher.
What Went Wrong?
The defense didn’t have the strongest of games as Detroit was able to break through the system with speed and puck movement. Count the number of times you saw Brewer look like a turn-style out there. Hint, the answer is too many. On the day of signing a big contract, Victor Hedman finished the game -2 with just over 22 minutes of ice time. This kid has too much talent for the offense to remain stone cold.
Guy Boucher was quoted after the game saying that the Red Wings’ power play worked and ours didn’t. That seems to be a recurring theme for the team this season. You’ve got to think that things will work themselves out with all the talent on the roster.
Despite making some key saves early, Dwayne Roloson had another ugly night on the stat line with a save percentage under .900 and 4 goals against. Not that he could have stopped the Holmstrom goal, but at times you need a goaltender to make a big, spectacular save. The Lightning haven’t gotten that from Rollie this year.
One last concern is Vinny Lecavalier’s faceoff totals. For the last few games he hasn’t had much success on the dot; tonight was no exception. Whether it’s just a question of spending more time working on draws in practice or watching video, something has to give. The team relies on him to be one of the go to guys on the dot. You can’t create offense without the puck. Just ask Detroit; arguably the best puck possession team in the league.
Well, there you have it. It’s pretty clear that tonight’s game had more wrongs than it did rights. That being said, it’s hard to watch the game and be unhappy when the atmosphere was as good as it was surrounding the whole Steve Yzerman story.
The Lightning kick of December with 4 games in six nights. It would be really nice to go on a run during this little stretch and get back into the playoff bar. December 1st is typically that magic mark where playoff teams remain playoff teams and outsiders remain outsiders down the stretch. Let’s hope that the Lightning can prove that wrong as we move into the New Year.
Thanks for reading and have a good night.
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