Living in New York as a Lightning fan is a very interesting experience. Unless you fly down to Tampa, you're never in the majority (not even at Islander games), and you're met with such questions as "Are you from Tampa?" and "Couldn't you like one of the local teams?" I guess that type of question is to be expected.
So last night, my dad and I made the trek into Jersey (via public transportation - mind you), and the night started out awfully - even well before puck drop.
I, unlike most Lightning fans, did not ever believe in the tandem of Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist. When I heard about the Modin trade, I knew that could only mean trouble. What kind of idiot trades their second best goal scorer for a goaltender who is below .500, has never stepped foot on a sheet of NHL playoff ice, and who pretty much hasn't proven anything? Then again, I objected even more to the giving the backup's job (on a silver platter) to Holmqvist. I was a firm believer in the magic of Sean Burke (hell, I still am). So by the time playoffs rolled around, I knew I would have felt a heck of a lot more confident in my chosen team if we still had Sean Burke and John Grahame.
As pointed out by everyone looking at this series, the Devils win the goaltending matchup by a longshot. We're playing with three unknowns - three goalies who have now combined for one playoff game - and a loss at that.
At least with Burkie and Johnny, we had a couple of wins under our belt. Both have playoff experience, and know how to manage nerves etc.
Well anyway, enough about my beliefs. So when we got to the game, I looked around for anyone else in my chosen colors, and I saw all of four others (including my father). That seemed normal enough. I got fewer dirty looks than I get at MSG, which was odd.
So, sitting behind my goalie is where I often sit. Needless to say, I saw more than enough of the puck past the redline than I would have cared to.
The question is, what do we do now? Torts said Holmqvist played OK, and that he'll play better next game. How many games are we going to give him before trying something else?
Then again, what else do we have? We have Marc Denis, who, while he has beaten the Devils before, has been more than shaky, and has failed to hold onto the job that was handed to him over the summer. We also have Karri Ramo, a twenty year old Finn, in his first season in North America.
Needless to say, this is not going to be the most fun series to watch. Such a shame it isn't offense that wins playoff games.