Was that offense I saw? Wow, how nice it is to see the Lightning score goals and get solid performances from a lot of key sources. It’s like my entire Christmas wish list was answered in one night. Thanks Santa! Alright, so the goals may not have been the prettiest what with all the deflections and all, but a win is a win is a win and this team will take whatever it can get right now. The old adage is that you have to be lucky to be good but good to be lucky and I don’t think there’s been a game in a long time that exemplifies that better than this one.
Without going into a second by second summary, I will say that I was impressed with the way the Lightning played in the second period. It was as close as you can come to total domination without forcing an opponent into submission. All that said, it wouldn’t be this season without its fair share of disappointment. The Lightning looked to have the game in control when it was 4-2 but of course, the lead was gone. Give the Flames a lot of credit; they fought back and forced this game into overtime. If there’s one thing that you learn when you follow hockey, it’s that every point matters. The Flames fought and got that point tonight. Kudos to them.
However, the Lightning should have been able to close this game out. Garon didn’t have the strongest of games on the stats sheet but I will say that I thought he kept the Lightning in the game early (especially right at the start of the game). When the time comes that this team gets a solid goaltender, we could be in for a treat. The team came out fierce tonight. Do you think they are a little tired of losing? There were big hits, some nifty plays and bit of back and forth action. Ryan Malone’s hit on Jokinen was something I’d love to see a lot more of. It was like…BAM and he was on the ground. Toughness is something you can’t have enough of in this league; especially when your “tough guys” can pot a few. Malone’s goal from the slot off a great play by Stamkos was a beauty. To me, the pass was more impressive than the goal itself. How Stammer was able to feed that through two Calgary sticks is beyond me.
Now, I’d like to highlight the Rene Bourque goal tonight. Imagine taking a stroll in the park and just waltzing around without a care in the world. That was pretty much Bourque on that play. Skating through the neutral zone, Bourque smoothly passed Malone (making him look lazy). That’s okay fans, not to worry. We have Clark and Kubina on the back end ready to serve and protect against all threats foreign and domestic. Oh, Bourque goes by Clark without any effort and just pushes the puck past Garon. Was Kubina on vacation on that play? I didn’t see him. Oh, I know! Actually I don’t. There is no possible explanation for that play. Mr. Boucher, can you possibly explain it to us? I suppose in retrospect it doesn’t matter as we walked out with the win, but still, come on.
They say that bounces and things of that sort balance out over the course of the season. Well, we can pretty much count that up as true. The Lightning had their “ha ha” moment in overtime when Stamkos finished off a really pretty passing play from Brewer and Downie. Now that’s the Brewer we acquired from the Blues. We want to see the Brewer that can jump up in the play and be effective shift in and shift out. Brewer is now +5 in his last five games. Anyone else think this is due to the slight decrease in ice time? I like this move from Boucher and I hope it continues on a long-term basis.
The Lightning are done with this home stand that saw them go 1-1. Now, the team heads out on the road for three games starting with Columbus on Saturday. Despite heating up recently, the Blue Jackets are still a very fragile group. Bruce Boudreau and Randy Carlyle were fired from their respective teams before any changes were made in Columbus. The seats are still warm over there and this means it’s the perfect time for the Bolts to go on a little run. This trip sees games in Columbus, San Jose and Colorado.
Now, I’ve learned not to expect a lot from this team this season but a 2-1 record is very obtainable. The Blue Jackets are fragile and the Avalanche are in shambles. Let’s show this league that the Bolts mean business. Try out some new things on this Western swing and find that groove that made us so successful last season. Now, the game in San Jose does pose some challenges but I wouldn’t even be surprised if we walked out from the tank with a win. But, I’ve got to keep expectations lower than normal; 2-1 record it is.
Up tomorrow, I’ll have a blog posted regarding my opinions on the Lightning pushing hard for a big name defenseman in free agency (I’m talking the Weber/Suter variety). Hope you look forward to that and thanks for reading!
Have a great night.
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