In the words of one Charlie Sheen: “Winning!”
Could the Lightning be onto something right now? With two wins in a row, the team is finally starting to show that hunger and tenacity that we all came to know and love last season. Yes, it was only the Columbus Blue Jackets but a win is a win is a win. Every two points in this league count and these ones may go a long way in putting this team on the right track. Here’s by game re-cap as well as my weekly Lightning rumor round-up.
What Went Right?
A lot. Simply put, a lot of things were clicking tonight. I don’t think I’ve seen a like this one in a long time. Stamkos was as hungry as I’ve seen him this season and that is sure to be a good sign. His play was a real spark plug for the entire team tonight. He was absolutely flying. When he’s on, there isn’t a more exciting player in the game. Great game, Stammer.
It was nice to see Eric Brewer get his first of the season. The Bolts are going to need him to get going if they want any chance at getting on a little longer run right now. Now, I’m not going to go as far to say that Guy Boucher reads this blog, but hey, ice time was down tonight and the level of play went up! Brewer played just over 21 minutes of time tonight. That’s how you win hockey games. This team doesn’t have the Chris Pronger/Nick Lidstrom guy that can eat up 28 minutes a night each and every single game; so stop forcing Brewer to be one.
This may shock some of my frequent readers, but I’m about to say something positive about the Lightning goaltending situation. Garon played a really solid game tonight. He did exactly what this team needs him to do; keep them in games. He doesn’t have to stop every shot fired his way; he just has to be good enough to give this team a chance to win. Tonight, he did that. When the only complaint is that he really should learn how to handle wrap-arounds, it was a pretty good night. He made key saves at key times and that seemed to inspire the line-up. Also consider that this game was 3-2 very early, so he kept the team in this for a really long time.
Stamkos’ goal was a thing of beauty. It wasn’t even so much his finish but Vinny’s dispy-doodle in the slot. Man, that was some amazing stick handling. If Vinny could bring that each and every shift like he used to, we wouldn’t have anything to complain about. He now leads the league with 20 goals and has 7 points in his last three games. Pretty nice totals if you ask me.
What Went Wrong?
This is going to be a pretty short section. If the NHL is really serious about cracking down on head shots, the Boll should be suspended for his hit on Shannon. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not a fan of where the NHL is going with this whole thing, but consistency has to be there no matter what the rules are. Right now, that’s just not the case. I’ll be really disappointed in the league if Boll doesn’t get called by Shanahan.
Let’s just be happy that Shannon is okay. You’d hate to see a guy go down like that.
The Rumor Round-Up
- There’s been a little bit of talk (not just in the comment section here) that the Lightning might call up Radko Gudas or Mark Barberio from the Admirals. Both have shown that they are capable down in the AHL and it would make a lot of sense even just to get their feet wet. That being said, Steve Yzerman seems to be modelling his philosophy on young players after Detroit in that he just won’t shove them into NHL hockey. He wants these guys to develop playing top minutes in the AHL.
- As Matt Barry mentioned in his blog, the Kings are reportedly dangling Johnson. I, like him, am very skeptical that this is the case. Johnson has established himself as one of the Kings best and brightest blue-liners over the last couple seasons. His defensive game is rounding into shape and he should be a King for a really long time. That being said, would it hurt the Bolts to take a look at either him or Slava Voynov from the Kings? In Voynov, this team has its puck moving defenseman right away. That kid is good.
- ESPN.com is reporting that Steve Yzerman may be looking at Evgeni Nabokov out of the Islanders. I just don’t see why. The guy is what Roloson was last season. Why don’t we start building for the future right now? To me, that’s the best move. The Fourth Period goes on to say that the Kings’ Bernier, Wild’s Harding and Capitals’ Neuvirth all could be options for the Lightning to take a look at. Out of those three, I like Harding. He’s a very underrated guy who doesn’t get the press that the other two do. What does that mean? Well, I think it means we could get him cheaper.
- There’s some talk that the Flyers could be looking at Mark Streit from the New York Islanders. If he truly does become available, he’s the guy I want on the Lightning. How many calm, offensively gifted blue-liners are out there? Not too many. The guy manages to put up 50+ points on the Islanders roster. Just imagine him here. What would it take to get him? I have no idea. He would be costly, but in my opinion, well worth it.
The Lightning are off for a few days and then they’ll be in San Jose to take on the Sharks.
Thanks very much for reading and have a great day.
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