If there was one thing apparent watching Johan Holmqvist and the Lightning defense against the Florida Panthers on Friday, it was the fact that they drove home the idea things would be different this season early on. How many odd-man breaks Holmer thwarted and how many times the Defense swept in from behind to rescue Johan is beyond count for me. Indeed, something was different tonight.
Holmer stops 30 of 31, Chris Gratton scores twice and the Lightning hang on to win 2-1.
The most disturbing thing about this game was the M-V-P line being pass-happy while the Panthers were clouding passing lanes rather well. Add to the fact that the Lightning tended to shoot low on Craig Anderson -- resulting in Lightning shots eating goalie padding -- and the teams 23 shot performance doesn't particularly wow those who have seen the Bolts offensive surge the past two games.
This game was won on defense and between the pipes -- hats off to Johan and company for doing what the Bolts failed to do last season and (mostly) shutting down the Panther offense. Their lone goal being a flukey, bouncy, roll-around tip in that got through Holmqvist's pads. The team improves to 3-0 and heads on the road to Miami.