February 3, 2009

Tampa Bay Game 51: at the New York Islanders

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the New York Islanders 3-1.

Sigh....

Okay, before anyone goes off on the officiating, I'd like to go off on the players. I'm sure the fans aren't the only ones thinking that the officials have something against the Lightning. Most likely, the players do, too. So why in the world, if you think the refs are going to call any little thing against you, would you play sloppy? Because they did, and it cost them. Obviously.

I think the officials did a good job calling this game. Better than usual, anyway. The number of power plays were the same for both teams - they had six each. In total, the Lightning actually had one fewer penalty called on them then the Islanders. So much for the officials favoring one team over the other.

I'm not counting Lecavalier's fight in that at all, though. Someone really needed to step in and let the Islanders know that it's not okay to run the Tampa Bay goaltender. It probably should've been a defenseman, but whatever. Lecavalier stepped up and did the job, even though you could tell that his heart wasn't really in the fight. Still, you've really got to respect him for doing that, regardless.

(By the way - good job, Malone, for not getting any penalties!)

Speaking of the defense...why were they playing like Smith was behind them? Ramo wasn't at all prepared for that, and it showed. Not to demean Ramo or anything, but Smith is a bit more independent and is ready to deal with whatever comes his way. He's had to with the way this season has gone. Ramo seems like he's been playing with the defense on his AHL team instead of on his own. I don't know, but there was some kind of mental block going on there with the defense.

I'll give it to McKenna, though. He didn't look the least bit nervous in his first NHL action. And it looked pretty steady in net, for the most part. Although, if I were in his shoes, I would've been figuring that I couldn't do any worse than Ramo did - not that much of that was Ramo's fault. But even still, there really wasn't much pressure for McKenna. That's not a bad deal, if you think about it.

Actually, the most of the team had this mental block going on for most of the second period. Well, except for Lecavalier, who was trying to redeem himself from the penalty called on him that gave the Islanders their first goal of the game, which was a power play goal score on the Lecavalier penalty. Halpern and Meszaros also had a pretty good second period as well.

However, three goals in 3:25? And they cruised thru the rest of the second like they were ahead instead of being down three goals! There was absolutely no sense of urgency about them at all.

As usual, the third period was better. They finally played like they should've been all game long. Lecavalier, Halpern, and Meszaros dragged the team along with them through the second, so I wonder if any of them let them all have it during the second period intermission. Whoever it was that finally got them going, it came too late since the Islanders had the momentum.

Hopefully, they'll pull it together for the game in Pittsburgh.

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