The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Florida Panthers 3-2.
After an exciting game against the Washington Capitals, the game that immediately followed that could’ve gone one of two ways. Either the Lightning were going to run over who they played next, or they were going to play mediocre. I would say that this game leaned towards mediocre.
It’s not that the Lightning played poorly so much as everyone waited for someone to step up and lead them on the ice. There wasn’t a single guy out there that played like he really wanted the puck. No one had that "I want to win this game, and I’ll drag you all along with me if I have to" mentality. They weren’t hungry, they were satisfied.
The good news, however, is that they played as a team. Everyone equally contributed, even if no one went above and beyond. And when it comes to team sports, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you win. The bad news with that, however, is that not one single player stood out in either a good way or a bad way.
This game was tedious and safe. They played according to the playbook, and didn’t deviate from it at all. Not a spark or an ounce of creativity was to be seen. And as our friend Tina had said on the game thread last night, "… that's sad commentary on a team that won the Stanley Cup with the thought "Safe is Death"."
About the only thing of interest that happened was that Martin St. Louis was awarded a penalty shot. He wasn't able to convert. Because he didn't score or assist in this game, his 11-game point streak was broken.
Mike Smith didn’t dress due to a neck strain, so the Lightning brought up Dustin Tokarski to back up Antero Niittymaki. This made a few people that I know very happy. Tokarski brings with him a fan club from Washington State – so potentially more Lightning fans from Washington State and Idaho; hooray! He played junior hockey with the Spokane Chiefs and won a Memorial Cup with them. (That’s pronounced "spo-CAN" and not "spo-CANE", by the way.) The Memorial Cup in Canada is the equivalent of the college football national championship here in the States.
The next game is against the Florida Panthers – the second of a home-and-home series. It will be Saturday, 13 January. Game time is 7 pm Eastern.
Panthers vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Litter Box Cats [SB Nation Florida Panthers site]