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"Covering Bolts Hockey "
" • Canada • 26 Years Old • Male
People often say that history tends to repeat itself. After watching this game, another offensive classic, between the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s hard to disagree. For the second time in two meetings, the Bolts and Canucks played a back and forth match that ended with a 5-4 decision in extra time for the visiting team. Here are my rough game notes with some opinion bits thrown in.

It didn’t take long for the Lightning to fall behind in this one. There was so much tension in the first few minutes. It was like the Lightning didn’t want to make a mistake due to fear of the Canucks’ offense. Only a couple minutes in, Alex Edler rifled one past Dwayne Roloson. When scoring first, the Canucks had 22 wins on the season coming into this one. That was not a stat any Bolts fan wanted to hear. On the TV broadcast, Chief kept going on about how the shot was tipped in tight. I’ve watched the replay from every angle possible and I honestly don’t believe that’s the case. Roloson has got to have that one; especially that early in the game.

Those problems were compounded when the Lightning took a penalty, putting one of the best road PPs to work. Marty St. Louis took a goaltender interference penalty that could be described as marginal at best. He was pushed in by Alex Sulzer; apparently the referees didn’t see that. Effectively, the Edler goal and the St. Louis penalty didn’t allow the Lightning to create any momentum early in this game. Thankfully, the Bolts were able to kill of the penalty without giving up any really solid chances.

After killing off the penalty, more than five minutes into the game, the Bolts got their first shot on net. Let’s ignore the fact that the Bolts didn’t manage to get a shot on net against a team playing its third game in four nights. The shot was the result of a beautiful pass from Vinny to Stamkos. Stammer was right in the slot and he let a great shot go. Unfortunately, Cory Schneider got over to make the stop. It’s that kind of save that makes me think that he is the goalie we need down here. Couldn’t Steve Yzerman have gone over to Mike Gillis at the intermission so we could have had Schneider in the second period? A fan can dream. Despite letting in a number of goals on the night, I really liked Schneider.

Down 1-0, it didn’t really feel like the game was over. The Lightning were creating chances, pressuring a little bit and playing decently. Then, fans’ prayers were answered. The Canucks took a penalty. Of course, as you would expect, the Lightning failed to convert on the PP. Not only that, they got scored on! Jannik Hansen, the gritty third liner for the Canucks, battled harder than any Lightning player on that shift and put the puck past Roloson. That sequence really concerned me; I haven’t seen St. Louis look that bad in a long, long time.

Prior to this paragraph I mentioned how much I would love to have Cory Schneider in a Bolts jersey. Those sentiments were equaled when the Canucks were forced to kill off another penalty. The Lightning had 4 or 5 grade-A chances that were just shut down by Cory Schneider. He was calm, cool and poised in the net. Man, how good is this guy?

Credit the comeback to Steven Stamkos. His 29th of the season, midway through the second period, was really the catalyst for everything that was to come on the night. With 29 goals through 41 games, 60 goals isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Consider that the Lightning could have easily come out of the first intermission down and defeated. They didn’t. Fans have got to be happy with the resilience that was shown throughout the game after the first twenty minutes.

Unfortunately, the Canucks’ quick strike offense was able to hurt the Lightning just minute later when Manny Malhotra got one past Roloson. For a guy coming off a severe eye injury, it’s nice to see him playing (even if it’s for the opposition). Once again, I’m not one of those guys who wishes pain upon the Vancouver franchise. Having Manny, a class act, in this league is great for the game. After what he went through, I was thrilled to see him score.

Again, I was stupid to count the Lightning out. Vinny ended up beating Schneider right at the end of the second period. For a guy that we all harp on so often, it’s hard to argue with his production this season. With 16 goals through 41 games of Lightning play, 30 goals is a very easy target for the guy to hit. Is it worth the money we are paying him? No it’s not. That said, he’s helping, not hurting the team. It’s always nice to see our captain produce offensively and chip in defensively.

The funny thing about that goal was that I went to get a snack thinking that the period was going to end. How many fans left before the Canucks struck back? With two seconds left in the period, Kesler beat Roloson with assists from Raymond and Hodgson. This Hodgson kid is going to be a really special player one day. I’d argue that out of all rookies in the NHL this year, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Hodgson has the best hockey sense. His ability to see the ice is uncanny. I feel bad for the kid playing behind two of the best centers in the league, but his time will come.

At that point, I REALLY felt like the game was over. How often does the powerhouse Canuck team lose a two goal lead in the third period? Not often enough if you’re talking from the opposition’s point of view. Once again, stupidity took over my brain and I counted us right out of this one. Cue the comeback. With two goals in the third period from Downie and Malone, we had a brand new hockey game. The nice thing about Downie’s game tonight was that he was really annoying the Canucks. If he can continue to play that kind of game, while remaining out of the penalty box (only two PIM tonight) then we should see the evolution of a real strong player. As I said in my pre-game report, if the Bolts managed to frustrate the Canucks, the chances would come.

Overtime had a few chances from either team but nothing worth noting. We were off to the shootout. When I saw Alain Vigneault’s shootout line-up, I was a little concerned. Two defensemen and Raymond? What an interesting tactic. To keep the story short: Raymond scored when nobody else could and the Canucks won the game. I’m not totally convinced that Raymond didn’t stop the puck on his spin-o-rama move, but I’m not going to complain about it.

Overall, we didn’t get the defensive chess match that I was hoping for. As I said in the opening, history tends to repeat itself and it certainly did between these two teams. With another 5-4 victory for the visiting team it will be interesting to see what happens next time these groups meet up.

Now, with their 3 game win streak on home ice ended, the Bolts will look to start a new one against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. I’ll be back with my game preview for that one prior to puck drop.

Thanks for reading, and have a great night!

Follow me on Twitter: @michaelstuart93
Filed Under:   tampa   bay   lightning   vancouver   canucks   review  
January 10, 2012 11:00 PM ET | Delete
Enjoyed your write ups for both pre and post game. Schneider is a great tender, a lot of us are hoping we can move Luongo instead of him. I haven't seen a lot of Lightning games this year but they looked pretty good for most of this game. Seems like tending and momentary lapses in defensive zone coverage have killed them at the worst times. Good luck the rest of the way.
January 10, 2012 11:52 PM ET | Delete
Thanks very much! Whose contract is worse in your mind, Lui or Vinny? Really and truly goaltending and depth on both offense and defense have been killing us. After Stamkos, consistency becomes a real issue. Our defense is weak, and our goaltending is weaker. Hopefully moves come soon! Good luck to you guys as well, and please, beat the Bruins.
January 11, 2012 12:37 AM ET | Delete
Downie's only penalty was two minutes for being him.
January 11, 2012 12:54 AM ET | Delete
January 11, 2012 12:54 AM ET | Delete
January 11, 2012 12:54 AM ET | Delete
January 11, 2012 12:56 AM ET | Delete
It looks like we should have beat the Bruins last year. They look even better this year. Hopefully we can get back to the finals and finally get our first regardless of the opponent. In my mind Vinnies contract is the less desirable of the two, but only because of the higher cap hit. Honestly I wouldn't want either on my team if it were up to me.
January 11, 2012 12:56 AM ET | Delete
Do you want the Lightning to make aggressive moves to try and grab one of the bottom playoff spots or move out some expiring contracts and try to "Fail for Nail"? The east is certainly tougher than it's been in the last few years, I suppose the lack of depth is getting exposed more with the higher quality of opposition
January 11, 2012 12:57 AM ET | Delete
Apparently if the message gets past a certain length it posts as blank. Thanks EK!
January 11, 2012 1:32 AM ET | Delete
Being him helped in the comeback though, wouldn't you agree Artyukhin? I know I made a big deal of the comeback and everything. Sure, it's nice. But at the end of the day this league isn't about nice comebacks. It's about taking home two points.
January 11, 2012 1:33 AM ET | Delete
Up until our recent three game losing streak, I thought the playoffs were still a realistic goal. Management hasn't really come out and said anything concrete about their goals as of now. Personally, I'm on the Fail for Nail train. That said, I'd look at trading down if we got that number one pick. We need D more than anything. There's a lot of nice D at the top of this draft.
January 11, 2012 2:14 AM ET | Delete
I'd agree with Michael. Bolts look to need D and a solid G but this is apparently the draft of D men so might want to focus on getting your champ in the draft, perhaps sign up some depth D if you're close to a playoff spot, and go for a new G in the summer.
January 11, 2012 6:23 AM ET | Delete
The Only thing Yzerman has said about this year was don't expect anything big and the deal would have to make sense. Depth is our poblem and previouse GM's would either draft bad or trade picks for garbage. The only Lightning developed player I think in a Bolts uni is Tryrell. Thats the real problem. Very frustrating yes to see nothing but Steevie is patient, good things will happen.
January 11, 2012 6:32 AM ET | Delete
As far as Schneider goes, if there is a way to get him we need to do it even if it cost a little to much. His 4 goals he let in were not softies, and his poise int the 1st when the Bolts had plenty of chances, was absolutely amazing. Bolts could have been in the lead at the end of the 1st if it wasn't for him. That said the fight was great from the Bolts, I was thinking NO WAY we'll have a chance to score 4 to tie and 5 to win against the Nucks, Glad they prooved me wrong to get a point.
January 11, 2012 10:32 AM ET | Delete
When Downie is under control, he is one of the most effective players of there. However he seems to lose ccontrol more often lately. The only way I would say fail for nail is to trade it. We don't need another forward. Defense and goaltending is our issue. Clark and Bergeron still need to go, but listening to the game last night, Kubina may be changing my mind.
January 11, 2012 11:23 AM ET | Delete
I almost cried when I herd they were playing Roloson and now you see why!
January 11, 2012 12:23 PM ET | Delete
Rolie spots 4 almost everytime. Scarrier who starts Thursday with back to back in Washington.
January 11, 2012 12:34 PM ET | Delete
I know that we went through the Niittymaki experiment before, but at this point what the hell domed have to lose. We need something to happen between the pipes that isn't killing our chances at a post-season both.
January 11, 2012 12:36 PM ET | Delete
Domed is do we. I dispise auto-correct.
January 11, 2012 1:54 PM ET | Delete
Michael Leighton?
January 11, 2012 3:02 PM ET | Delete
Leighton's an interesting option, but once again I don't feel like another stop-gap goalie is the best option. We need to be looking forward. It's going to cost us a little bit, but it will be well worth it. This team needs a number one, not another number 2.
January 11, 2012 3:34 PM ET | Delete
Leighton was a number 1, but was replaced by a couple of over-hyped Russians.
January 11, 2012 4:38 PM ET | Delete
His career stats aren't overly desireable. .902 SV% and a 2.95 GAA. With our defense, he's no better than what we have right now IMO.
January 11, 2012 8:05 PM ET | Delete
Leighton is definitely not the answer. If (didn't think I'd ever say this) Gustavsson can keep playing around how he's been playing as of late, then he might be an option (even though I doubt the leafs trade him if he keeps it up).I'd still prefer a bonafide no1 though.
January 11, 2012 8:22 PM ET | Delete
Norbs, I agree. We don't need a guy who may develop into a number one, or might surprise us. We need a true number one guy.
January 11, 2012 9:09 PM ET | Delete
Ok, so what are you willing to give up? A first? Stamkos? What? True no. 1 aren't in a dime store window just waiting for us to come along. They come at a price, a HIGH price.
January 11, 2012 9:13 PM ET | Delete
That's why we need Schnieder. If they want to much then they can take Ohlund back and we'll take Louongo. Even Scnieder could be a gamble, i know sounds crazy, he really hasn't played a full bonified #1 role yet. Then again he needs a shot sometime. The "Monster" really is still a work in progress in my opinion, Like Michael said we need a TRUE #1.
January 11, 2012 9:18 PM ET | Delete
The only concern is Schnieder a systems goalie? You see what happen to Smith once he got out of Tampa. He's back to looking like a decent goalie again. We need someone who can bail us until we get a decent D core. It would be nice for our offense to be able to take some risk's and not have to worry about someone letting in a wrister from the Blue line.
January 11, 2012 9:26 PM ET | Delete
We can't pay for Luongo and Lecavalier.
January 11, 2012 9:38 PM ET | Delete
And Smith played well for us a while back before the concusssion.
January 11, 2012 10:12 PM ET | Delete
Luongo for Malone?
January 11, 2012 10:27 PM ET | Delete
Luongo for Lecavalier.
January 11, 2012 11:42 PM ET | Delete
Lui for Lecavalier! Done. Schneider is a great goaltender who can bail a team out when they play poorly. He's a clutch player. Look at the way he played in Boston and it's so apparent.
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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