The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Edmonton Oilers 3-2.
On a night where the team lost its two top goal scorers, Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos (both with unknown injuries at the time of publishing), for who knows how long, the Tampa Bay Lightning found something perhaps even more important: their pride.
Tocchet finally put Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis back together – and not just for the power play. On their first shift, Vinny set up Marty with a beautiful pass, and Marty put it home to put the Lightning up 1-0. The only questions that remain are these – why didn’t they get put together far sooner than December, and how long will they play together for? Tocchet likes mixing up lines constantly and is not apparently a patient man. So I wouldn’t expect them to stay together if they go a couple of games without a goal between them.
It was one of the better nights for both players. They were both flying. I think that psychological boost they got from it boosted up the rest of the team as well. When your leaders are happy and playing well, then the rest of the team tends to play well.
Vinny had an outrageous faceoff winning percentage for the game, too. He won 20-9, which is a 69% winning percentage. Zenon Konopka’s winning percentage was better – he won 4-1 (80%) – but he didn’t take anywhere near the number of faceoffs that Vinny did. As a side note, Stamkos has not done very well in the faceoff circle for the past couple of weeks.
Victor Hedman scored his second goal in three games, which is fantastic for a defenseman. He’s been joining the rush more – while not putting the team in jeopardy defensively – and putting in shots. He’s still having some problems with turnovers in the neutral zone, but he’s playing pretty well otherwise. Last season with Modo in the SEL, he scored seven goals in 43 games, so he’s capable of becoming more of an offensive defenseman. I’m not sure he’ll ever become a Mike Green or a Dan Boyle, however. He did have five shots on goal for the game, however.
The second period was sloppy and not played very well. Had the Lightning played the second like they’d played the other two periods of this game, they probably would’ve won it. But they let Edmonton back in with a couple of goals in the second period.
So even if they did lose their top two goal scorers, they found their top players were playing well - together.
Next game is Friday, 11 December, at the Colorado Avalanche. Game time is 9 pm Eastern.
The Copper & Blue [SB Nation Edmonton Oilers site]
Oilers vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]