That was quite possibly the most embarrassing game I’ve ever seen. In fact, embarrassing isn’t a strong enough word. The Lightning were absolutely brutal tonight in a game that I considered to be one of the very key games this season. Why, why, why? How can a team come out so flat and give up so many goals in one period. A goal every 4 minutes for the Sharks? That’s what it averaged out to; absolutely ridiculous. Here’s my Good, B….Ugly analysis. There was no bad in this game. There was only good, and ugly (the good section is VERY short).
The only good note I have tonight is Marty St. Louis back in the line-up. This was great to see, not just for the team moving forward but also for his health. When a player is injured, whether I like the player or not, I always wish a speedy recovery. Beyond the game, all these guys are human beings. Really glad to see Marty come back tonight and score a goal. This injury could have been a lot worse.
Simply put, you aren’t going to win many games when you give up more than 40 shots. For a coach that supposedly preaches defense, Guy Boucher seems to be giving up the slot quite readily. There was once this little word called “coverage”. I think that it must have been lost in translation tonight. The Sharks were getting chances from everyone, everywhere on the ice. This trend has got to stop.
There is a good chance that Moore will be suspended for his hit from behind tonight. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a little bit of a traditionalist when it comes to physical play, but this is the exact type of hit that the NHL wants to get rid of. Don’t be surprised if Brendan Shanahan sends a message with this one and suspends Moore for 2+ games. If Moore is suspended for any period of time, the depth problem is going to rear its ugly head even more so than it is now. If there’s anything that we’ve learned this season it’s that this team does NOT have the depth needed to make a huge run.
I’ve actually surprised myself here; there hasn’t been a mention of the 7 goals against in this blog. Garon started tonight, and you know, I felt okay about tonight. Over the past few games, he’s given the team a chance to win. That’s really all we can ask of this tandem right now. Tonight, not so much. Garon’s stats, when pulled, had a save percentage below 0.700%...UGLY. It’s not even that these were not savable. It was just an ugly display of goaltending with a guy who looked incredibly fragile. Fear not, fans, Roloson is here to save the day. Just kidding. Roloson couldn’t save the team tonight and things got from bad to worse. Before long, we had ourselves a 5-1 first period. By that point, I think the team had pretty much given up.
Unfortunately, this is just the sort of thing that’s been plaguing the team this season. We played two really solid games that put us in a position to go on a nice little run before the holiday break. Why is it that this team can’t win 3 in a row? It’s become a one step forward two step back system that isn’t going to take these guys anywhere.
Overall, this whole game was ugly from a Lightning perspective. Before the game, I told a few friends that the Lightning defense had to be ready for the big forwards that the Sharks boast; they clearly weren’t. Is this a coaching thing, a preparation thing or something else? I’d be interested to hear your perspective on that one.
I really don’t want to go into a lot of game details tonight because it was so bad. We don’t need to analyze every goal against just to come up with the same conclusion; the goaltending isn’t good enough. We don’t need to look at this forward group again and say that there isn’t enough depth. We don’t need to look at this defense and say that it’s time for a call-up or signing. We just need to see change. Steve Yzerman, this is one fan’s request to you, make this team a winner.
My Final Thought
I was watching both the Lightning game and the Canucks/Red Wings game tonight (what a game that was). During the intermission, TSN’s James Duthie asked the question: “how long is it before Guy Boucher starts feeling the heat?” or something along those lines. My thoughts on the issue are as followed. Guy Boucher has been a great coach for a long time. The Montreal system seems to develop coaches really well (see Boucher, Muller etc.). My concern with Boucher is his reluctance to change. Clearly this team isn’t responding to what he is saying, so preach something else! Why is it that we keep seeing the same systems and positioning every game? When Bruce Boudreau was fired from Washington, you could tell that he had tried absolutely everything; he said it himself. I just don’t see that same willingness to adapt in Boucher. Despite the issues with this club personnel wise, I’m not sure that I view Guy Boucher as the right coach for this group. What are your opinions on the matter? Is Guy Boucher the guy to coach this team moving forward? Who out there would you hire?
Up next the Lightning will travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. If there is ANY game that could be considered an “easier” victory in this league, this would be it. The Avalanche are just a mess and this is the perfect opportunity for the Lightning to rebound after such a brutal performance tonight. That being said, are the psychological effects from this loss going to stick around? Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading and have a good night.
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