The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.
This game was a marked improvement over the previous two games with the Florida Panthers. Even still, they seemed to drag a bit as if they couldn’t quite shake off the effects of those two games. But they managed to score first this time, which they’d been unable to do the past couple of games, and that helped them win.
Antero Niittymaki had a very strong game. He had definitely shrugged off his previous bad start to come back and play a great game. They won, in large part, because of his focus and ability.
Mike Smith was sent back to Tampa to be treated for his sore neck, but has been on the ice skating there. So Dustin Tokarski remains the backup for Niittymaki for at least the rest of this road trip. With the team playing back-to-back games, one might think that Tokarski will get the start in the second matchup. But considering that the Lightning are playing in Madison Square Garden on national TV (Versus), it’s probably more likely that Niittymaki will start again and play back-to-back games.
Another player who was fantastic was Vincent Lecavalier. He scored the game-tying goal on a series of shots and rebounds that Carolina’s goaltender kept giving up. He was insanely good in the faceoff circle as well, having won 9 of 12 total faceoffs (75%). He also had five shots on goal and three missed shots for a total of eight tries.
The highlight of the evening didn’t happen on the ice, but online. During the second period of the game, the Lightning let funny guy Todd Fedoruk post his in-game thoughts on their Twitter. He was a scratch for the game, but was a highly entertaining addition online.
The Lightning out-hit, out-shot, and out-scored the Hurricanes. You can’t ask for more than that of a team. Let’s hope that they can come out with a good effort against the New York Rangers tonight. Game time is 7 pm Eastern, on Versus – with Sun Sports play-by-play guy Rick Peckham working the game.
Lightning vs Hurricanes coverage [SB Nation]
Canes Country [SB Nation Carolina Hurricanes site]