Enemy Blog: Thrashing the Blues
Record: Lightning (27-15-5) Thrashers (23-18-7)
Game time: 7:00pm EST on SUN (HD) and on the radio at 620 WDAE
This is the fifth time we'll play the Thrashers this season, with the Lightning winning all four of the games we've played against them this season. Curiously, the NHL schedule-makers decided the Lightning and Thrashers should play their final divisional game against each other on Sunday at home in Tampa Bay. So quick little back-to-back roadtrip for the Lightning as after Thursday's game they'll be off to Sunrise to take on the Panthers.
The Thrashers sit in 8th spot in the Eastern Conference with 53 points and tonight is important because the two points are worth more than your average two points when they are against divisional rivals. After dropping a few games, the Thrashers won on Monday against the Florida Panthers in a 3-2 games. Which pretty much sound exactley what the Lightning just did against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Steven Stamkos brought back his scoring with two goals against the Blue Jackets, and the Lightning finally won a game in the shootout. All very positive things. With Sidney Crosby still out, Stamkos has the lead in goals right now with 35 goals and is getting closer to Crosby's lead in points, just three points back from Sid's 66.
Expect the Thrashers to come out hard against the Lightning tonight and on Sunday night as well. Seriously which team wants to drop all of its games against its divisional opponent?
One thing the Lightning won't have to face when they take on the Thrashers: Ben Eager, as he's been traded away from the Thrashers to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Update on the Thrasher's line-up:
- Evander Kane is out due to a mid-body injury and Zach Bogosian is a healthy scratch for the second straight game in favour of a player named Freddy Meyer according to ajc.com
- Also from the AJC, Nigel Dawes and Tim Stapleton has been recalled from the minors
This and that:
- Mike Smith is expected to be taken off of injured reserve soon. What's going to happen with that? When Roloson played in Edmonton he was in a similar situation competing against Mathieu Garon and Jeff Deslauriers for the starting job until Garon was traded to Pittsburgh.
- ANNNND Marc-Andre Bergeron is already injured! The team calls it a "contusion to his right knee" according to Lightning Strikes. This is the same knee he had surgery on during the summer. Awesome
- It looks like the Lightning have 14 more days to decide what is going on with their goaltending situation, or until one of them injure themselves as Mike Smith has been sent to Norfolk for a conditioning assignment
Your pre-game reading links:no comments
Lightning win in shootout 3-2. Stamkos scores two goals. Woo no comments
The only team on this list with a negative goal differential is the Lighting with their minus 11.
This hasn't been something that has popped up recently as the Lightning have been pretty consistent all year with their negative goal differential. Obviously their position in #6 in the league ranking and #2 in the Eastern Conference says to how well they are playing on a game to game basis, but then why the negative goal differential?
Well that's because when they lose a game, sometimes they do so in a spectacular fashion. So far this year, the Lightning have lost 8 games with a goal differential of 3 or more. Two of which they lost 8-1 (one against Pittsburgh and the other against Boston) and one they lost 6-0 against the Panthers. Most of these monumental losses can be attributed to the goalie tandem that started off the year, Dan Ellis and Mike Smith, who some nights couldn't stop pucks to save their job.
But I can't lay all the blame on just Ellis and Smith since the Lightning's defence has some glaring problems as well. And I guess it really doesn't matter that much if you lose a game by a little or a lot, because in the end you still lost the game, right? Perhaps. But then again, how does these huge blowout losses hurt the confidence of the team? And will having a dependable goaltender in net like Roloson help change the goal differential disparity? Or will this continue to last through the rest of the season?
This was no way to erase the loss to the Devils last night.
The Hurricanes had 4 powerplay goals on the Lightning tonight. And to top it all off, they also let in 1 short handed goal on Eric Staal.
The Lightning head back to Tampa Bay to take on Columbus on Tuesday night. The only thing positive to come out of tonight was Stamkos taking the NHL scoring lead with 33 goals, but right now, even that doesn't feel too positive
Enemy Blog: SBN's Canes Country
Record: Lightning (26-14-5) Hurricanes (21-16-6)
Game time: 7:00pm EST on CW44 and on the radio at 620 WDAE
The next time Stamkos and St. Louis will be back here in Raleigh it will be for the all-star game at the end of the month. But before we can get to that, we face the Hurricanes tonight after the loss last night to the Devils. Roloson is back in net again after letting in four goals on nine shots. According to Lightning Strikes, Nate Thompson and Mike Lundin are both game time decisions.
The Hurricanes sit in 9th in the conference just 9 points back from the Lightning. We've only played them once this year back in December in Tampa where the Bolts won 5-1. The Lightning look to bounce back from their loss against the last-places Devils last night before returning back home to face Columbus on Tuesday night.
The Hurricanes are also trying to bounce back from a loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Cam Ward is in net for the Canes and Eric Staal is looking to extend his 7 game point streak.
- Dwayne Roloson will start in net
Your pre-game reading links:
So before tonight's loss, the Lightning had the best home record out of the entire league. And as of today they are tied with Phoenix, Carolina, Nashville and the Islanders for having played the fewest home games this season at 19 games each. This is in contrast to the Lightning being at the top of the league in number of away games played so far at 26.
So although the Lightning's schedule has been brutal this year so far with all the travel, the Lightning have a ton of home games coming up, especially in the month of February to even out the schedule.
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Let's start off with something more important than hockey -
Vinny Lecavalier and some of his teammates attended All Children's first year anniversary since it's opened on January 9th 2010 in its new location. This is the same hospital that Lecavalier donated $3 million to. They have some awesome photos on their Flicker stream which can be found here. Especially this one of Thunderbug and this one of this adorable girl holding a thank you sign.
Now some hockey stuff -
The ongoing inner ear problems of Ritola that seems to get aggravated by flying in planes seems to have been helped by earplugs. The pressure changes that occurs during flying seems to exacerbate the issues he has with Meniere's disease and the wearing ear plugs seems to help with it. My question about this is, why hasn't this been tried earlier?
Lightning 3, Cap 0
While the Caps were without Semin and had just played a game the night before, the Lightning was the better team last night. The Lightning outshot the Caps 38 to 23 and Roloson got his second shutout with the team. Mattias Ohlund did a fantastic job shutting down Ovechkin last night and ended the night a +3. The Lightning play the Devils tomorrow night at home with Roloson starting in net followed by an away game in Carolina on Saturday night
James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail put together a list of the top defensive fowards at the midseason and Dana Tyrell made his list at #13.
Great quote from Boucher in Lightning Strikes:
"Every game is a tough game," he said. "I wonder what the playoffs are going to be. Every game is important. 'Oh, this is a low-end team, you can't lose. This is a division team, you've got ti win that one. this is a game for first place.' Okay, so when do we get a normal game?"