After winning 5 games in a row, the Bolts have a lot of fans, including myself, wondering if there’s a chance of seeing post-season hockey in 2012. Not only was tonight’s win important, it was also a confidence booster. Often times, the first game back from the all-star break is pivotal for a team. Hopefully that’s the case for the 2011-12 version of these Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’s been a few months since I’ve been this excited about the team. The Bolts are playing confident hockey, getting healthy, getting goaltending when needed and putting up really solid performances. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of last night’s game, but what I will say is that after a refreshing all-star break, I’m ready to go into overdrive supporting this team through blogging, cheering and being the best fan I can be down the stretch. This is game time for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s make this season something worth cheering about.
For those of you wondering, my medical problem has cleared up so I will be back to blogging full-time here at MYHB. You guys have all been very supportive during my time here and I look forward to continuing that relationship. Before I sign off for the night, here are some quick notes on the team.
- It was nice to see Victor Hedman back in action tonight after what can only be described as too long. Finishing -1 on the night with no points and just over 18 minutes of ice time, one would be hard pressed to say that he was “eased into the line-up”. Regardless of his stat line, he makes this team so much better when he’s in the line-up.
- The Lightning now sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers sit directly on top of us. What does that mean to me? Well, that’s probably the best situation the Lightning could ask for. Division games are always huge, but the Southeast division games down the stretch will be even bigger. Two points for the Lightning in those contests will give the Bolts a great chance at the playoffs.
- Anyone else look at St. Louis’ time on ice tonight? It was over 25 minutes. That’s absolutely ridiculous for a forward. But, it’s hard to really complain. He scored, he played hard and he showed the heart necessary to win down the stretch. Congratulations to Marty on a great performance.
- Both TSN and The Fourth Period are reporting that there is serious interest in Dominic Moore from around the league. There’s good reason for that; the guy is a proven playoff performer. Steve Yzerman is going to have to tread very carefully here as, if the Lightning really enter the playoff race, trading away Moore could be a big mistake. Currently, the way the Lightning are playing, it doesn’t look as though Steve is going to be picking 1st overall. There’s no point in destroying the roster to be a “seller” if he doesn’t have to. Personally, I look for Yzerman to try and sign Moore to a contract extension.
- Speaking of Steve Yzerman and moves, if the Lightning have a shot at the playoffs, you can bet that Yzerman will be very busy at the deadline. Defense and goaltending are still issues that, while not hurting us now, could be very detrimental down the stretch. Could Yzerman and Burke work something out to send a D-man to Tampa? With Gleason and Beauchemin off the market, Yzerman is going to have to act fast if he wants to make any changes.
- Another rumor I’m following here is regarding the Los Angeles Kings. There have been rumblings that Yzerman has had some semi-serious talks with Dean Lombardi about Ryan Malone, Jonathan Bernier and other pieces. If a deal can be made to bring in the young goalie, by all means, do it. Guys like this don’t just pop up on the market every day.
That’s all for now folks. Once again, thanks for your patience over the last few weeks. I’ll be back with my Jets preview tomorrow for what will be a HUGE game. Two points could go a long way in making this season something truly special. Hope all you folks will join me for the ride; it should be a good one.
Follow me on Twitter: @TBLHockeyBuzz
(Credit to @mberlo for the new name; thanks for all the suggestions)