January 14, 2009

Tampa Bay Game 43: at San Jose

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost in a rout to the NHL's first place San Jose Sharks 7-1.

I did watch this game. All of it. Although, part way through the third period I was starting to think about going back to bed. I actually managed to get in a nap yesterday evening before the game, which is highly unusual for me to be able to do.

Nothing really all that exciting happened for Tampa Bay in the first period. It was pretty quiet, actually. Well, except for the two goals that San Jose scored, of course. I kind of got the impression that the players were pretty much done with their road trip and were just going thru the motions - at least for the period. They picked it up later on, though.

In the second period the Lightning came back and scored soon after a disallowed San Jose goal, making them down only 2-1, but that's about as close as they got all night. Penalties really did them in. I was hoping that Ramo would be pulled as a wakeup call for the guys on the bench, but I suppose that giving Smith some rest was probably more important in the long run.

The next five goals were all San Jose. Penalties were probably the biggest issue, giving San Jose eight power plays total, three of which they converted on. Some of the penalties were questionable, but others were the result of sloppy thinking. Like the too many men on the ice penalty, where Artyukhin stepped out of the penalty box when there were already five Lightning players on the ice. Somebody on the bench should've caught that before it happened.

Of course, it didn't help the Lightning that Nabokov was outstanding. He really has been one of the most underrated goaltenders in the NHL. I think it's because most hockey people have a hard time taking San Jose seriously. The only reason hockey people take Tampa Bay seriously now is because they've won a Stanley Cup, so maybe that's what it'll take for San Jose.

That was one of the bigger collapses that I've seen in a while. You can blame the injuries on defense, you can blame it on being the last game of a long road trip, you can blame it on a lot of things. But the bottom line is that they had a weak start, they were undisciplined, there was no serious offensive push, and the collective defensive effort was seriously lacking.

Still, going 3-2 on the road trip was good. Overall, they did fairly well out West. It's just that the last game was pretty ugly.

Back to the regular East Coast grind tomorrow.

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