For 55+ minutes tonight, the following quote from a favorite movie of mine is the perfect description of this game:
"Dude, don't yank my cord, how desperate is the situation?"
"You seen Alien? Where the creature is in that guys stomach? Kinda feels like that."
That's the only way I can explain the majority of this game, it was painful, excruciating in fact. The Isles obliterated the Lightning in certain aspects of the game, such as face offs won, they had a more formidable power play and made the Bolts look like a joke during the Isles Penalty Kill attempts, they also outshot the Lightning - a rareity - by a tally of 28 - 24.
But holy freaking COW!
Lemme recap what this game came down to: Late third period, Lightning down by one they pull Burke. With the extra attacker on, Dan Boyle - who played his ass off on both ends of the ice tonight -- takes a shot from the lower point... It's deflected off Martin St. Louis' stick and gets by DiPietro. That's the Lightning's first offense since Freddie Modin's opening goal. Tie game, which eventually sends the game into OT...
Over time comes up and there's actually action on ice by the Lightning players, a passion and emotion that had been absent for the durration of the game... This was the only real time I thought the Bolts were challenging the Isles all night.
But the minutes ticked off and there were opportunities on both ends of the ice for both teams -- botched wrap around shot by Proposal on a mostly-empty net is the one that stands out in my mind -- but no gamestopper. The Isles turned it up another notch as the clock wound down to just under two minutes and there was a barrage in the Lightning end... I was sure this was it, as the Lightning seemed lax again... Hanging back, indifferent. I screamed "Get it out! Get it the hell out" with frustration.
Pavel Kubina fought the puck to the boards and then tipped it over to Martin St. Louis, who feeds to puck forward to a by-himself, back-from-a-day-off Vincent Lecavalier who goes in alone on Ricky DiPietro. It's the battle of the Olympians... Forces colliding. The Immovable force versus the impeneratable object.
Lecavalier slows and DiPietro cheats forward to deal with Vinny's favored backhand shot he's been using on one-on-one situations...
Then BOOM, with 55 seconds left on the clock, Lecavalier's wrist shot lifts the puck top shelf! 55+ minutes of indolence and emotionless play get wiped away. The Bolts absolutely steal one from the Isles (who were playing as a different team than they were when the Bolts squared off against them on January 2nd) and keep The Run rolling (8-1-1 in last 10, 17 points)... But this squad better not think they can rest on their laurels after this nights game, or else tomorrow nights game in Continental Airlines Arena will be quite a bit like Alien again, but without a happy ending.