Game 71: Washington at Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Washington Capital 5-2.

Again, the first two period of this game were great for the Lightning. The last one, not so much. From how the players did, it was better then the last game they collapsed in the third. From the score, it was probably worse.

Three things that killed them in the third. One, shots, as usual. Although, six shots isn't bad for them, relatively speaking. Two, faceoffs. They were doing great the first two periods and then it just fell apart in the third. Not sure what the story was there since the Lightning have been pretty strong in the faceoff circle all season. It's one of the few statistical highlights for them.

And three, they started bunching up again on the ice. It reminded me of how small animals congregate when they feel threatened. You know, how chicks (as in, baby chickens) all run for the same corner when you reach into their box to try to pick one up? Okay, maybe you don't know that. But they do. (Yes, my family had farm animals - satisfied?)

Anyways, my point is that they weren't playing on the ice where they were supposed to, and as they had for the first and second periods. Positioning was awful. On the Caps third goal, all of the Tampa Bay players were within a stick length of McKenna. All of them - including the forwards. That's not where most of them should've been.

They got lucky with the reviewed goal, though. That should've been a Washington goal. On tv, that puck clearly crossed the line by like six inches (15 cm).

At the end of the second, the Lightning were out shooting the Capitals 22-19. They were also ahead in the faceoffs, they had a power play goal and Washington didn't, and they were tied 2-2. They were playing just as well as the Caps, keeping up with them or surpassing them in most statistical categories, and doing all that with a young and untried defense that's in flux. It's not that the Lightning are a bad team, it's just that they can't play well consistently for all 60 minutes.

Congratulations to Ovechkin on his 50th goal, by the way. I hope him and his stick are very happy. The should be proud.

On a non-hockey related side-note, I'd just like to complain. Illinois ruined my perfect NCAA bracket today by losing. The weasels. Oh well - at least I'm still 15 of 16 so far. Not bad considering that I've paid almost no attention to college men's basketball this year and did zero research before filling out my bracket (office pool). Yep, totally impulsive picks all the way. Took me all of 10 minutes to fill the bracket out. And no, I didn't pick schools by the nicest names, prettiest colors, or cutest mascots. Sorry.

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