January 29, 2009

Tampa Bay Game 49: at Carolina

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

This was a close game that, I think, could've gone either way. They were pretty evenly matched, from what I could tell. Unfortunately, it just didn't go Tampa Bay's way.

I'd like to say that penalties were a problem, but they were really a non-issue for once. No one managed to convert any power plays. They did make things a little more interesting, tho.

The atmosphere was electric. Like the game against Montréal, this game also had a playoff atmosphere. You've got to wonder if that's going to impact players after a while if this keeps up. Sure, it helps keep you in the game, but it's also emotionally draining. Exhausted players aren't going to win many games.

Recchi was great. Can you even believe this guy? He must be getting some of whatever keeps Chelios going. He was skating circles around half of the guys on the ice. And that pass he made setting up Malone's goal was very, very pretty. And Malone had a pretty good game, too, despite taking two penalties.

Smith had a great game as well, and it's often easy to overlook the defense when Smith is on. But Meszaros was fantastic. He's really come a long way this season, and the scary thing is that he's only going to get better as his career goes on. He was definitely a force.

The Lightning looked a little jittery to me as the game wore on. It was almost like they couldn't quite believe that they were still in it or something. I don't know, but at least they managed to keep it together until that last Carolina goal. What I think would've helped is if they'd slowed down the pace a little bit so that they could set up thing a little better. They were all so frantic.

As a side note, a friend of mine was at the game sitting in the press box. We were emailing back and forth for the first half of the game. Here's her first message:

"I thought you, of all people, might think this was cool. The 'Canes are playing your Lightning tonight, and I'm covering it for the Indy. I was walking down the steps to press row and I almost ran into this cute, young guy in a suit that looked extremely familiar. He said excuse me and I went and sat down. That's when it hit me..."Holy sh*t, that's Steve Stamkos!!!" He's still sitting out? What a shame. It's not like he's making the team any worse, if you don't mind me saying. He's sitting about 8 seats down from me. I'll try and get a picture if I can do it without being too obvious."

I never got a picture, but that's alright. Kinda fun to get the view from the press box, anyways. Too bad she's a Carolina fan.

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