Saturday, October 11, 2008

Game 3: Carolina at Tampa Bay

You know, it's a good thing that the Tampa Bay Lightning have good goaltenders. Because if those guys are going to have to stop 40+ shots a game, they're going to have to be good. And it's starting to look like they'll be taking 40+ shots a game most games this season.

The Lightning lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime. The obvious is that penalties killed them. The not so obvious is that they're not sure how to deal when the team they're playing comes back and makes it a game. It's almost like they're not mentally prepared to play against a team that fights back.

They played great for the first two periods, and then went back to how they played in Prague for the third period. In the third, they kept passing the puck off to anyone they could, and tried to rush through plays to try to force something. Before that, they were holding on to the puck more and taking the time to set things up - and actually taking shots. It was like they were trying to play catch up in the third in a literal sense.

And 2 shots on goal for the entire third period? While letting Carolina take 20? That's not right. They had as many shots in the just over four and a half minutes of overtime as they did for the entire 20 minutes of the third.

Malone really needs to do something differently. I don't want to say he plays dirty, because he doesn't. And I don't want to say that he needs to be disciplined, but that's not quite it either - although, a little more discipline probably wouldn't hurt. He might just be playing sloppy. Whatever the problem, he's taking far too many penalties. He's had three penalties tonight, and two in each of the previous two games. That's just not going to work.

Lecavalier had a nice pair of goals. Too bad one was deflecting a Staal shot into his own net. If I were in Lecavalier's shoes, especially after seeing how Smith reacted to that goal, I'd be keeping a way low profile for the next couple of days around him. But, other than that, I think that this was Lecavalier's best game yet so far this season. Of course, they've only just played their third regular season game, but considering he's coming off of shoulder surgery, any and all improvement is a good thing. Baby steps, right?

Recchi is just amazing, especially considering he's 40. He's playing like he's at least 5 younger than that - more like 10 years younger. He had a great game, and the Lightning are lucky to have him. But then, he's a Kamloops (BC) guy, so of course he's doing well.

Oh, and I really liked the line combinations. I think that Prospal will help both Vrbata and Stamkos a lot. (Too bad Stamkos didn't see a lot of playing time because of penalties.) And Malone with Lecavalier and St. Louis seemed like it really clicked. Hopefully, that'll all work out as they keep playing together.

At least there was an improvement from those games in Europe. So that's definitely a good thing. And, I'd read somewhere that the Lightning had opened up last season with six wins, and remember how that turned out? (Hey, a lot's happened to me in the last year, so I don't exactly remember myself, okay?) So, really, it's early yet and you just never know.

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RJ said...

Wow what a Jeckyl and Hyde performance. The 1st 2 periods I had a hard time believing this was the same team that played in Prague. The third period brought it all back to earth. 42 saves for many forwards did we sign? We actually traded away Boyle?...really...Do we have any defensemen on the roster?