The Tampa Bay Lightning have been accused of playing with “poor effort” in recent games, wasting minutes on the ice and not playing to the fullest of their abilities. Coach Guy Boucher has tried combating this fact by making the Lightning work extra hard in practices, but it doesn’t appear that it’s making much of a difference. In tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Lightning looked as sloppy as ever, falling behind early and losing 4-2.
The Lightning started off the game slow, getting outscored 10-3 in the first period. They managed to hold the Devils scoreless, but they weren’t so lucky in the second period. The Bolts allowed three quick goals in the second, letting up one shorthanded(-ish) goal and two power play goals. They played a large portion of the period down in men, as they had a total of four penalties, but they did manage to kill a long 5-on-3 at one point to salvage some self respect.
In the third period, the Bolts decided to show up and make things interesting. Eight minutes into the period, Martin St. Louis got Tampa Bay on the board with a goal, and Ryan Shannon made it a one-goal game two minutes later. They put pressure on the Devils, outscoring them 10-4 in the final period, but it was simply too little too late. As they rushed to tie the game late in the period, the puck took a bad bounce on Dwayne Roloson behind the net, and he was forced under pressure to knock it in front of the goal with his glove. Ryan Carter was waiting right there, and he put the Devils ahead for good with an empty net goal.
It was another sloppy, disappointing game from the Lightning. They had eight penalties in total, and it wasn’t just their defense that was lacking; they couldn’t get their offense going either, and they spent a lot of time in their own zone. Something needs to give, and it needs to happen soon.
The Bolts are now 9-8-2, and 9 out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are ahead of them in the standings. Their next game will be Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leaves (10-7-2).
The first period between the Lightning and Devils may have been boring, but Tampa Bay fans are likely wishing the second period could have been just as boring. Instead, the Devils gave Lighting fans some unwelcome excitement; they scored three times and now lead the Bolts 3-0.
In what’s becoming an all too common occurrence, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defense is letting them down. They are missing Mattias Ohlund badly, as he is their best defensive player and he’s missed the entire season with a knee injury. Coming into tonight, the Bolts had allowed in total four more goals than they had scored…and that ratio hasn’t gotten any better so far.
The Devils’ first goal was nearly a short handed goal, but missed by a matter of seconds; it was short handed in all but name. After that, the Bolts shot themselves in the foot by committing four penalties and allowing two power play goals.
It’s still possible for the Lightning to come back, and they did manage to go shot-for-shot with the Devils in the second period despite all their penalties. They’ll need to tighten up their game, though, and hope their defense has a better period.
Through on period of play at the St. Pete Times Forum, the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils are scoreless.
I wish we could call this game the Battle of the Graying Goalies — both Martin Brodeur and Dwayne Roloson are quite aged — but so far only Roloson has been challenged. The Devils are beating the Lightning in terms of shots on goal 10 to 3, and Roloson has had to make a couple impressive saves to keep the game tied.
The Lightning also haven’t put themselves in optimal positions to score, as they had two penalties in the first period (Dominic Moore, Adam Hall) that gave the Devils one and a half power plays. Since the Devils committed one penalty of their own in the final minute of the period (Patrik Elias), the Bolts and Devils played the final minute of the period in a four on four and the Bolts will start the second period with a one minute power play.