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Written by Dani Toth | 08 December 2010

Don't ask me how I came across this video, but just be glad I shared with you dear reader

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Written by Dani Toth | 08 December 2010

This recap also posted on Raw Charge

The Lightning started their Western Canadian roadtrip with a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

You could describe the first period as a rough period for Dan Ellis in net. It wasn't all Ellis' fault in the first as the Lightning offense had trouble getting offensive zone possession and did little offensively. They also had some pretty weak line changes that ended up costing them a goal. So how did we end up losing to the last place team in the Western Conference?

 

First Period

For the first goal scored on Ellis, the Flames gained possession in the offensive zone by some good forechecking along the boards by Morrison. The puck then gets up the boards to Adam Pardy who passes it to Cory Sarich, who then fires a slap shot through a screen at 7:21 to open up the scoring.

Later in the period after the Lightning get caught in a line change, the Rene Bourque out muscles Randy Jones for the puck, Mark Giordano shoots the puck from the point which ends up bounces off of the boards behind Ellis. Bourque quickly tips it to Tom Kostopoulos who swats in the loose puck to make it 2-0.

Second Period

The second period sees some line juggling with Sean Bergenheim moving up with St. Louis and Stamkos with Simon Gagne being moved to play with Dominic Moore and Ryan Malone. The Lightning begin playing this period far better than they played in the first. But Dominic Moore overturns the puck to Backlund who brings the puck up ice with Glencross. Rene Borque is left open as the trailer and as he's passed the puck, he quickly let's a snap shot in to put the Flames up 3-0.

But all is not lost in the second period, as the Lightning finally start to get bounces going their way. Johan Harju gets his first NHL goal ever with an innocent looking wrist shot that slides under Kiprusoff to make it 3-1. Ryan Malone is a beast out there all period and finally get rewarded by wristing the puck top shelf bringing the Lightning to within one late in the period.

Third Period


The third period starts off with a quick pace from both teams. Robyn Regehr takes an interference penalty early only 49 seconds into the game. The Lightning get shots on net but aren't able to capitalize. The Lightning have a great chance on a wraparound attempt by Nate Thompson and then on the rebound Martin St. Louis but Kipper is solid in net.

The Lightning almost get through killing off a Nate Thompson penalty until Adam Hall takes a high sticking penalty against Ollie Jokinen and puts the Calgary Flames on a 5 on 3 powerplay. Iginla scores on the 5 on 3 making his best Stamkos impression with a quick shot past Ellis. It's 4-2.

Later in the period Hedman skates with St. Louis on a two man rush and gets great chance at a getting the game back to within one until Kipper completely robs him. The Lightning continues to put pressure but aren't able to make the goals happen even with the goalie pulled and six forwards out on the ice. The Lightning end up losing 4-2.

-Dan Ellis made 15 saves on 19 shots and had a save % of .789

-Miika Kiprusoff made 22 saves on 24 shots and had a save % of .917

Tonight's three stars: Rene Borque, Cory Sarich, Ryan Malone

My alternative star: Martin St. Louis for protecting the puck late in the third period even though he knew he was going to be hammered by Robyn Regehr into the boards.

Lightning vs Flames recap

Lightning vs Flames boxscore

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Written by Dani Toth | 07 December 2010

Saddledome in Calgary, Albertaphoto © 2009 Brian A. Ridder | more info (via: Wylio)
Enemy Blog: The 4th Line Blog or Matchsticks and Gasoline

Record: Lightning (15-9-3) Flames (11-14-2)

The Lightning begin their Western Canadian roadtrip with a game in Calgary tonight against a team that is currently in last place in the Western Conference with 24 points. The Flames just lost 4-2 to the Blackhawks on Sunday night as the Hawks took advantage of their PP.

The problems for the Flames has been their inability to have their forwards actually score. The other night when the Flames played the Canucks, coach Sutter was so peeved at his forwards that he actually put our five defencemen on the powerplay. Over the last couple of games they seem to alternate between winning one and losing the next, and in a conference as tight as the West is, that puts you in last place.

On the bright side for Calgary, last year's disaster in Tampa, Alex Tanguay is finding success being back with his old team with 8 goals and 15 assists in 27 games played.

Stamkos is on a five game goal drought, does this worry me? heck no. The goals will come for him, though tonight and Friday's game against the Oilers present great opportunities for him to break this goal-less streak.

Line-up Notes:

  • Dan Ellis will get the start in goal
  • Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie are out for the Lightning with injury, and Matt Smaby is a scratch

Your pre-game reading links:

Game time: 9:30pm EST on the radio or the Calgary video feed is Sportsnet West

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Written by Dani Toth | 05 December 2010

Big Western Canadian roadtrip coming up this week as the Lightning take on Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Both Calgary and Edmonton have been struggling in the Western Conference sitting in 14th (Oilers) and 15th (Flames) with 24 points each while the Canucks sit in 3rd place 31 points. In Alberta, Calgary has been alternating games winning and losing while Edmonton has been on a recent four game win streak as of Sunday night. Vancouver on the other hand has been trucking along winning games in a Conference where if you want to stay with the playoff pack you can't lose a single game.

How tough is the West? Only three points separate the Canucks in third place to the St. Louis Blues in twelfth (prior to their game last night).

So let's recap what happened this weekend:

Lightning 6, Avalanche 5
After being embarrassed in Boston, the Lightning put on a better effort in a win against Colorado. Each Lightning goal scored during the game came from a different skater, none of which were named Steven Stamkos. The goals were scored by Thompson, St. Louis, Ritola, Gagne, Malone and Bergenheim. Nice to see such even scoring from the forwards making up for the loss of Downie and Lecavalier. Ellis stopped 19 shots out of 24 which was enough for the win but the goaltending obviously is a bit of a problem.

Downie's Injury
So Downie has a high ankle sprain as is expected to be out 3-4 weeks. His physical presence on the line with St. Louis and Stamkos will sorely be missed. Simon Gagne who has had two goals and three assists since his return from injury will take Downie's spot on the top line.

Boucher's Scar
After making up imaginary reasons as to the origin of it, I tried to search the internet for the answer and unfortunately no luck on the reason behind the scar. From the St. Petersburg Times:
Boucher is coy about how he got the prominent scar on his right cheek, saying only it's not hockey-related. "I didn't tell anybody back home (what it's from), so it's like this little enigma," he said, laughing. "My kids don't even know."
Disappointing yes, but now I can go back to making up imaginary reasons for how he got it. Whatever the reason may be, MGM has given James Bond 23 the go ahead, and I think Boucher makes a perfect Bond villain. Let's make this happen people.

Bullet point stuff:
  • Boucher admits that it's hard to manage the increased ice time for St. Louis and Stamkos with so many injuries to the top six forwards so far and the over use of the players has made them tired.
  • In Cristodero's blog, Boucher said that Johan Harju and Mattias Ritola will get time on the second powerplay unit and will try to reserve Sean Bergeneim and Dominic Moore for the penalty kill as opposed to using Bergenheim and Moore for both the PP and PK
  • Boucher had a meeting with Mike Smith and Dan Ellis to try to get them to simplify their approach and focus. Coaches always say to simplify when a team/player isn't doing well but unless can get consistent talent to magically appear, this meeting will do little to improve the goaltending
  • Attendance at the Colorado/Tampa game came in at 18,212
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Written by Dani Toth | 03 December 2010

Is this karma laughing?

Cristodero reports that Steve Downie might have a broken ankle from tonight's game against the Boston Bruins. He will be evaluated on Friday, so expect to get more details tomorrow.

UPDATE from Friday:
According to Mike Corcoran's twitter, Downie did not break his ankle but did did sprain it. His tweet had a quote from Guy Boucher on Downie's status: " Downie will be out a long time."

So confirmation on the injury, but good for Downie that it's not broken. Another top six forward out of the lineup will hurt the Lightning who can't seem to catch a break with the injuries to our forwards. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 02 December 2010

lightning_dec2_bruins2.jpg

Marc Savard makes his return to the ice tonight...

lightning_dec2_bruins1.jpg

And the Bruins take the Lightning out back and were repeatedly punched in the face by the Boston Bruins.

Read more about being repeatedly being punched in the face...

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Written by Dani Toth | 02 December 2010

TD_Banknorth_Garden.jpg

Enemy Blog: Days of Y'Orr
or Something's Bruin

Record: Lightning (14-8-3) Bruins (12-8-2)

After that come from behind win in Toronto, the Lightning come into Boston to play a team that just beat Philly 3-0 last night. We've played them once before on November 21st for a 3-1 win in Tampa. The Bruins offence didn't show up that night, and the Lightning were blessed with Tuukka Rask in goal. Do the Lightning get Rask in net again since Thomas played last night?

Speaking of the game last night, the Bruins had 10 penalties called against them. With the Lightning's conversion rate 23.3% they can't take that many tonight against our powerplay.

Even though Dan Ellis had the win in Toronto, Mike Smith will be in net for the Lightning as he had the win against the Bruins the last time they played. Goalie mental games are so weird some days.

From the Lightning team website preview, they nice quote on Simon Gagne's surprise return to the lineup:

"We kind of kept (the return) secret this morning just in case," said Gagne, who missed 18 games. "I was nervous. I didn't sleep a lot last night -- even this afternoon I was looking for at least a good two hours for a nap, but I could not sleep. It's hard when you don't play for a month and you're coming back in Toronto. You know it's going to be a tough game"

"I'm glad this one's over and I'm glad we won the game."

As for other returns the lineup, tonight Marc Savard could return tonight for the Bruins according to NECN. Speaking of NECN, if you can get the away feed for tonights game, hearing the call by NECN is always superior to whatever SUN puts out.

Watch PAR-TAY

The Lightning are hosting a watch party and live radio show at Champions Sportsbar which is located at the Marriott Waterside Hotel. Full details can be found here.

Line-up Notes:

  • Mike Smith will get the start in goal
  • Vincent Lecavalier is out for the Lightning

Your pre-game reading links:

Game time: 7:00pm EST on SUN (HD) and NESN (HD)

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