April 3, 2009

Tampa Bay Game 78: at New Jersey

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost in overtime to the New Jersey Devils 5-4.

It's always interesting to see how a team does after they lose a key player. Sometimes they're broken, sometimes they're improved, and sometimes it has no discernible affect - or various stages in between. The Lightning, it seems, were all three.

What was broken were the faceoffs. They were awful. They only won a third of the total faceoffs. It's clear that Lecavalier was the guy propping up those stats. Maybe not all of the time - maybe - but often enough.

What was improved were their special teams. Sure, they only scored on one power play, but they only had two. That's 50% efficiency right there. And their penalty kills weren't bad, either.

What was unaffected were the shots. They started off strong in the first, and then they turned into a trickle in the second and third. They also gave up just almost 40 shots again this game, too.

Ramo was again brilliant. It may not seem so with him letting in five goals, but he was. The score could've been a lot higher. Artyukhin also had a very good effort on the night. He stepped his game, which is a good thing. And I noticed that the defense featured in three of the four Tampa Bay goals with assists. So good for them. By the way, congratulations to Stamkos for tying the team rookie goal scoring record.

I've been asked to participate in a online radio roundtable by the guys with the Hockey Night on Long Island blog. A Colorado Avalanche blogger, myself, and the Islander bloggers will be discussing the draft, and then the Islander bloggers and me will be discussing tomorrow night's Lightning game at the Island. It kicks off at 3:30 pm Eastern, so feel free to tune in. (See previous post)

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