What do the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens have in common?
They can both score on the Lightning in less than 30 seconds, play terribly on offense and still make minced meat of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Canadiens came into Tampa on Saturday night and had Christopher Higgins score on the games opening shot, 12 seconds into regulation play. The Lightning allowed all of two shot sin the first period but that opening shot and goal hung over there heads during the first period.
The second saw the lead widen as Higgins would score again before Ruslan Fedotenko put the Lightning on the board late in the period. The Lightning peppered Cristobol Huet with 23 shots between the two periods but Les Habs were magnifique and intense in front of their own net. Savage is seldom used as a derogatory term, but I can think of no better way to describe the Habs defensive effort in front of their own net. It wasn't pretty, it was often overzealous but none-the-less effective.
And then there is the third period...
Vincent Lecavalier ties the game on an early power play and you figure the Lightning are back in this thing and have a shot to win. They've been all over Huet in the first two periods... It's just a matter of time, right?
How wrong? Try Zednik, Ribeiro, Kovalev and Bullis. Four unanswered goals on 10 shots in the 3rd period. The Lightning simply rolled over and played dead and I'm wondering where the passion went?
Does anyone really need to be reminded of what supposedly shook the Lightning into their January/February Run? It was Corey Sarich dropping them in Los Angeles versus Tom Kostopoulos... John Grahame started to play like a determined goaltender and the Lightning seemed to get their focus back what the point of the season was -- the defense of their Stanley Cup Championship.
It's been only a matter of days and it looks like the Lightning have totally forgotten once again the reason they are competing.
6-2 the final at Times Palace tonight. John Grahame gives up 6 on 20 shots... The trade deadline looms large and instead of trying to disprove the need to change the team chemistry around, the Lightning seem to be waiting for an ax to fall.