Written by Dani Toth | 10 December 2010


Enemy Blogs: Copper and Blue, Lowetide and Jean Shorts and Bagged Milk (NSFW)

Record: Lightning (15-10-3) Oilers (10-12-5)

With Calgary's win over the Lightning on Tuesday, the Oilers dropped down to last spot in the Western Conference. But they've been playing good hockey as of late going 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

The Oilers suffered a huge setback with Shawn Horcoff's right MCL knee injury that occured in Edmonton's game against Anaheim on Tuesday. The injury is projected to have Horcoff out for eight weeks which takes him out of the lineup for tonight's game. This comes just a day after Tom Renney confirmed that Alex Hemsky is out with a groin injury.

After Horcoff's injury, Sam Gagner moved up to center the line with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, which was amusing to see him go up against Ryan Getzlaf for the remainder of the game. He'll likely stay up on the line with Eberle and Hall and be given the task of Stamkos, St. Louis and Gagne. To compensate for the injuries, the Oilers called up Linus Omark (LW) and Ryan O'Marra (C).

The Lightning come off of a tough loss in Calgary where the Lightning defence did little to help out Dan Ellis. Though they did bring back the game to within one during the second period, the Lightning made the initial mistake of giving the Flames a 3 goal lead. Last game Boucher switched up Gagne for Bergenheim when the top line wasn't getting chances, but I think we'll see Stamkos, St. Louis and Gagne back together again tonight.

Stamkos has gone six games without a goal and three games without a point. Facing off against a promoted Gagner should give Stamkos chances to break this goal drought.

Line-up Notes:

  • Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Downie and Mattias Ritola are out for the Lightning
  • Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky are out for the Oilers

Your pre-game reading links:

Game time: 9:00pm EST on SUN (HD)

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Written by Dani Toth | 08 December 2010


Amid all the complaining about how bad our goalies are, or how weak our defence is, we sometimes overlook the positive things about a team. There have been some players that have been quietly been playing really well during this season for the Lightning, the rookie Dana Tyrell has been one of them.

First some background on him:
He was a second round draft pick in 2007, taken 47th overall by Tampa. Before the Lightning, he played for the Prince George Cougars (same team that Lightning prospect Brett Connolly plays for right now) in the WHL. He was named to the 2009 Team Canada World Junior team but didn't get to play because of a knee injury he sustained in an exhibition game against Sweden before the tournament. He ended up blowing out both his ACL and MCL and now plays on a rebuilt knee.

Last year he spent the season down in Norfolk for the Admirals where after struggling in the early part of the season, ended the with 74 games played, 9 goals and 27 assists.

This year, he made his NHL debut against the Atlanta Thrashers on October 9th and ended up scoring his first goal on October 27th against Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Tampa's comeback win. Over the twenty five games he's played so far this year he now has 3 goals and 3 assists. That's pretty good for a rookie who is only getting an average of 11:32 per game.

Continue reading after the jump...

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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