Who needs success when resiliency that leads to failure is a perfectly good option? Once again, the Lightning started out slower than a turtle in a pivotal game. You would have thought that the team would be better prepared to take on the high flying Capitals. In my pre-game report, I mentioned that Ovechkin was a sleeping giant; I also mentioned that I’m terrible at predictions. Wouldn’t you know it, he opened the scoring. It’s tough to fault Roloson on this one; he was screened beyond belief. That said, the second that goal went in, this game looked like it was going to be a very long one for anyone cheering for the blue and white.
Do you know what’s worse than a team that takes penalties on a regular basis? A team that can’t kill said penalties off. Before the first period ended, the Capitals already had two PPG up on the board. For most teams, two PPG in one night is considered a grand success. That’s not the case when you take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not getting three was somewhat of an embarrassment for the Capitals; they should have walked out of the game with their heads hung in shame (sarcasm). Ignoring the screen from Brouwer (who was a force all night) and Gilroy for a second; let me ask something. Why on earth did Clark rush over to the half-boards when there was already stable coverage? The Caps aren’t going to score from there. There was absolutely no point in double coverage. Anybody watching the game, whether or not they had ever watched hockey before, could have told me that the Ovechkin pass was coming. Good job Clark, keep up the good work! I look forward to visiting you in Norfolk.
The next question I want to ask is: why be down one goal, when you can be down two goals? More is always better right? That’s some sort of economic principle. I’m happy to see that the Lightning are following the basics of economics. Two is always better than one. Troy Brouwer was left all alone at the side of the net and he just banged one right past Roloson. While he wasn’t being covered, the onus for this one lies squarely on Rollie. He’s got to hold that post tight and make that save with confidence. He looked small on the play and as a result, Brouwer put the pack past him.
I was actually a little upset that the Lightning didn’t allow a third goal in that first period. Luckily, my sorrows were washed away when the Caps put up their third of the game early in the second period. Troy Brouwer made Roloson pay for a juicy rebound that he put out into the slot. At this point, I’m not at liberty to place blame on anyone for this goal. I’d have to take a look at the aerial replay. All the angles I saw made it look like Rollie may have been interfered with a little bit. If he wasn’t, his mobility was at an all-time low on that play. Down 3-0, I honestly thought this game was over. But, like we’ve seen so many times, this team does have some fight in it; just not enough.
Tom Pyatt opened the scoring for the Lightning when he deposited a beautiful Marty St. Louis feed past Vokoun. The guy (Pyatt) may not be the best finisher, skater or checker, but he does play with heart and intensity on a regular basis. That alone makes him good at a lot of little things. That’s something that a lot of the guys on this roster can’t say for themselves.
Down 3-1 heading into the third, I’m not really sure what I expected. On the one hand, we saw the Bolts come back against the Canadiens in the third just over a week ago. On the other hand, this is the 2011-12 version of the Bolts (need I say more?). To my surprise, the Lightning came out and played a great period. They outshot, outplayed and just outworked the Capitals in nearly every facet of the game. The problem with this group is that it can’t continue to leave things to the last minute. Here’s an idea for them; go out and play like that in the first period! I know that’s a complicated concept, but maybe with a few night classes the Bolts can get it.
I know that Stamkos made the score 3-2 with his 30th of the season, but even then victory was a longshot. Time was the Bolts’ worst enemy and it ended up biting them in the rear end. With the goalie pulled, Brouwer completed his hattrick all but sealing the W for the Caps. Just when you thought the heartbreaker couldn’t get any worse, Lecavalier tied the game with seconds remaining. What could have been? We’ll never know. All I know is that the Capitals walked away with two points while the Bolts walked away with zero. That’s becoming an ever too frequent occurrence with this group.
The Lightning will now play 4 of their 6 games to end the month at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Forum has been friendly to the Bolts this season and if Yzerman is serious about making push for the playoffs, he’d better hope that luck continues. Though, at this point, I’m not getting my hopes up. This constant sense of failure is the enduring reality for this group right now. Until the time comes when this team starts to win, fans are stuck watching (and complaining about) this terrible display of hockey.
I’ll be back with my game preview for the Penguins tilt some time before puck drop. Until then, thanks for reading fans. Let’s keep our heads held high.
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