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" • Canada • 26 Years Old • Male
Dare I say it; what a game! This tilt had a little bit of everything in it. There was a great deal of animosity, some great goals, solid goaltending from Garon and a whole bunch more. Like my game preview stated, this shaped up to be one of the best games of the year (despite the lack of chances). Of course, from the Lightning perspective, it helps that we kicked off this six game stretch that is ever so important with a huge win. I did not expect that the team would be able to beat the powerful Flyers but low and behold, they did. Even more surprising, they did it without one of their top defensive guys. Let’s get to the Good, Bad, Ugly analysis.

The Good
Everything that could possibly go the Lightning’s way tonight, did. Other than the Hedman injury, everything seemed to go according to plan. Let’s start off with that hit for a second. With the state of the NHL right now, there seems to be a great deal of commotion every time a player gets hit like that. Personally, I thought it was a clean hit that should remain a part of hockey. While I wish Hedman a fully and speedy recovery from whatever ailments he is suffering with, there shouldn’t be any further discipline for the hit. Hedman wasn’t in a vulnerable position and he wasn’t taken advantage of. It was just a really solid body check that ended with unfortunate consequences. Get better soon, Vic!

When I played up this game in my preview, I noted that it was the top end talent that would really make this game what it was. Despite the Flyers losing big time, Hartnell’s goal really showcased some talent. The show didn’t stop there. Tonight’s game was the Steven Stamkos show and he really did will this team to victory. We all said it’s time to stop all the talk and walk the walk. Stamkos did more than that with his two goals that now put him tied for the league lead in the category. What I really love about Stamkos, even more so this season, is his ability to score in so many different ways. He can beat you off the rush, in tight or on the cycle. Tonight’s game really cemented him into the minds of Flyers players and their faithful fans. Bryzgalov is going to be having nightmares about #91 for awhile.

To start the game tonight, it looked like the Flyers were going to run away with things. Had it not been for a STELLAR first period from Garon, the Lightning could have very well found themselves down and out early. That’s now two really great games in a row for Garon, something the Lightning haven’t been able to say about a goaltender at all this season. If he’s getting hot, it’s just in time.

Lost in all the Stamkos hype is the fact that Martin St. Louis now has 4 points in the 3 games he’s played since returning from his facial injury. Props to Marty for continuing to go into the tough areas and create chances even after a scary injury like that. Lots of times you will see a player back off and stay away from situations that could be dangerous; not Marty. He’s a battler if ever there was one.

The last good note I want to mention is the fan support for the team this season. In a “non-traditional market”, it’s always nice to see sell-out crowds. The Lightning have now sold out the SPTF 8 times in the 14 home games they’ve played. It’s that kind of fan support that makes writing for this team so much fun. We have a great fan base that’s so underrated league wide. Bolts fans are some of the most knowledgeable and entertaining fans around.

The Bad
As mentioned in the intro to this blog, the lack of chances was a little bit of concern. When you consider that the Bolts had a grand total of 16 shots and the Flyers had 32, it’s pretty obvious to see that Ilya Bryzgalov was not on his game. In my opinion, the Bryzgalov contract is going to come back to haunt the Flyers in years to come. He’s one of those goalies that relies a lot on system. That’s why he was so successful under Dave Tippet in Phoenix.

Had the Flyers gotten any sort of decent goaltending tonight, this could have been a VERY different game. I actually found it very interesting watching Peter Laviolette tonight. Why wasn’t Bryz pulled? The Lightning scored 4 goals on their first 12 shots of the game after being viciously outshot in the first period. I would have pulled Bryz instantly after the 4th and quite possibly after the 3rd. It doesn’t matter that a lot of them were Grade-A chances; the team needed a new look in net.

This is more of a funny thing than a bad thing, but I’ll file it here anyways. Kubina with over 27 minutes of ice time tonight? Yikes! If that’s the strategy moving forwards, this team may have a few problems on the back end. If Hedman is down for any serious length of time, it will be up to Guy Boucher to manage the ice time of his D better than he has this season. As my frequent readers know, I haven’t been impressed as of yet. Wouldn’t it be great if the Bolts were forced to call someone up from Norfolk and he came in and played GREAT hockey. We could finally displace Clark! It would be like a second Christmas.

The Ugly
Jagr’s mullet is pretty much gone, so there isn’t any ugly tonight.

Tonight’s game was exactly what the Lightning needed to kick off this important stretch of six games. It may seem like I’m blowing these games way out of proportion, but I really feel like this is the make-or-break moment of the season. With an unexpected win against the top seeded Flyers, the Lightning are well on their way to turning this stretch into a make-it moment.

Up next, the Montreal Canadiens come to town. After winning tonight, the Habs will come in with confidence that they haven’t had in a few weeks. That said, if the Lightning get the offensive output they got tonight, it should be a game for the Lightning’s W column. Because the Habs won tonight, the Bolts will go to bed remaining in 13th place in the East. If we can beat the Canadiens on Thursday, we’d be one spot closer to that elusive top 8. I’ll be back with my game preview for that one tomorrow.

One last note of interest. Brett Connolly played a GREAT game for Canada at the WJC. He scored, he was physical and he played like a true leader. With Devante Smith-Pelley’s injury, Connolly will get a bigger role for Team Canada moving forward. Hopefully he can come back with a Gold medal and a bucket load of confidence. This young man is going to turn into a great hockey player for this franchise.

Thanks for reading and have a good night.

Follow me on Twitter: @michaelstuart93
Filed Under:   tampa   bay   lightning   philadelphia   flyers   win  
December 28, 2011 12:19 AM ET | Delete
A win is a win is a win.
December 28, 2011 12:31 AM ET | Delete
I said i had a feeling about this one and rather then the fight i wanted they more out willed the Cryers. I personally didn't care for how they seemed to be going after our D by thinning out our bench. Simmonds is an absolute COWARD! YOU FIGHT BREWER? Then go after Kubina? Makes the win even sweeter. If anyone was at the game how many times did you see someone from the Cryers whining to the refs at TV TO's.
December 28, 2011 1:13 AM ET | Delete
Fun game to be at for sure. Garon was huge. Here's to hoping that he won't crap the bed next game.
December 28, 2011 1:14 AM ET | Delete
Very true, Artyukhin. It's two points in the standings that will go a long way in helping this team if it is in the hunt down the stretch. Oomroy, you did indeed have a feeling. As a Los Angeles Kings fan, I could never understand the whole love for Simmonds. I was never his biggest fan.
December 28, 2011 1:14 AM ET | Delete
Norbs, let's hope he can make it three really good performances in a row. Your good luck streak continues.
December 28, 2011 1:16 AM ET | Delete
That and the fact that the bolts are 5-1 when i'm at their games says something :P (4-0 at the forum)
December 28, 2011 6:30 AM ET | Delete
I wonder if the short bench on D will force Boucher into 7 D. They've had alot of success with that in the past and not quite sure why he hasn't used it this year. Kubina playing big minutes scares the daylights out of me as well. I just hope we either get a nice look at some prospects or Steevie Y works his magic.
December 28, 2011 6:38 AM ET | Delete
7 D is a very interesting option. As you said, it has worked in the past and could very well work out nicely right now to balance out the ice-time.
December 28, 2011 12:39 PM ET | Delete
The only thing about the 7 D is I doubt it will happen now because of all the injuries. It's almost contradictory in a sense; you have a few dmen out injured, so you'll play with more of them? As for them not rolling the 7 D in general, I have no idea why they haven't done, it definitely worked for the most part last year.
December 28, 2011 4:40 PM ET | Delete
I believe they had 8 D on the roster last year when healthy so i guess it made sense. Still would like to see a few prospects brought up and try it. Gives them less time on the ice but you still get a decent look at them. If one of them turns out to be a stud great if not send them back when we get healthy again. It brought us back to life in the Pens series, i think its worth a shot.
December 28, 2011 5:19 PM ET | Delete
Yeah bring up Barberio and Gudas or something. They can't be any worse than our good pal Clark.
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Blog Archive

01 Lightning News and Notes to Start December
02 Why Bolts Must Get Into Bobby Ryan Trade Discussions
02 Breaking News: Lightning Make Minor Trade with Panthers
03 10 Bold Predictions for Rangers vs. Lightning Game
04 Lightning Lose to Rangers: My Prediction Round Up
06 Simply Embarassing: Lightning Drop 5th Straight to Islanders
08 Lightning Beat Rangers to End Losing Streak - Mixed Bag
10 The 1-3-1 Returns: Flyers Take on Bolts at Wells Fargo
11 Lightning Fall to Flyers: The Slot Looks Like a Drive-Thru
12 From Bad to Worse + Lightning Sign Miettinen
14 Lightning Talk: Defensemen to Target in Free Agent Frenzy
14 Scenario
15 Bolts Squeeze By Flames Thanks to Dominant Second Period
17 Lightning Should Make a Push for Shea Weber
18 Bolts Down Blue Jackets + Rumor Round-Up
20 Why the Lightning WILL make the Playoffs This Season
22 Lightning Embarrassed by Sharks in San Jose: U-G-L-Y
22 Tampa Bay Lightning: I Want Your Opinions
23 Bolts vs. Avalanche: A Long-Winded Game Preview
24 Bolts Lose to Avalanche in Goalie Battle + Rumor Round-Up
25 Risky Business: Victor Hedman and Other Top-5 D-Men
26 Flyers vs. Bolts Shaping Up to be a Great Game -- Preview
27 Next 6 Games Vital for Lightning + My Predictions
27 Bryzgalov Shaky as Lightning Beat Up on Flyers
29 A Tale of Two Underperforming Teams: Bolts vs. Canadiens
29 A V for Vinny, a V for Victory: Bolts Down Habs 4-3
30 Bolts/Canes Preview + HB Hotstove Response + Rumor Update
31 Lightning Defeat 'Canes 5-2 on Phil Esposito Night