March 14, 2009

Tampa Bay Game 69: at Florida

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout.

I'm sure the question that Tocchet would like answered is how to get the Lightning to play like they do when they're down by a couple of goals in the third period all game long.

It really has been the best that the Lightning has played. They go in spurts of good and mediocre, and then when they're down by two or more goals in the third, they kick things up a notch and start playing consistently and well to try to win the game. They've been doing that all season. If they played like that all game long for every game from November on, they'd be in playoffs right now.

Now, the question that I would like answered is, why is the coaching staff playing with a short bench? They're running their best players into the ground for absolutely no reason. And worse, they're not giving ice time to the young players to give them some experience for next season when the games are actually going to be on the line. I can understand wanting to win and wanting to make the team feel better about themselves, but this isn't just about this season. How are the young guys - other than Stamkos, that is - going to get any experience for next season if they're playing around 10 minutes a game?

Okay, I lied. I really have two questions. My other question is, why don't they play all game long like they do during the power play or penalty kills? They have pretty good special teams, considering. You'd think that they'd play just as well even strength, but they don't. Not consistently, anyways.

Despite winning the game, they were outshot pretty badly - particularly during the first period. And they were playing a lot in their own zone for the first half of the game. Then things started at the end of the second period after the Panthers went up 2-1. When Florida made it 3-1 at the beginning of the third, that's when the Lightning predictably started playing a lot better. And,
oddly, faceoffs weren't the best.

The St. Louis-Stamkos-Malone line were again the best on the ice for the Lightning. Although, I did really like Halpern playing with the Vinnys (Lecavalier & Prospal). I thought that was a good line as well. And Ramo was great - but I did notice that he held on to the puck more instead of letting out rebounds. I think that was a good move on his part.

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