This was a classic goalies' duel. And I mean that in a good way. It was a hard-fought game with lots of action, despite the low goal total. And very few penalties as well, actually. You almost never see those kinds of games anymore.
The real story of the game, however, was the introduction of Dwayne Roloson to the lineup.
The only goal of the game was scored by Martin St. Louis almost three minutes into overtime. But that goal would not have been possible without captain Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier wisely shot the puck low and while he was trying to score a goal himself, the rebound that Simyon Varlamov gave made it look like Lecavalier had almost just used the goalie to bank a pass to St. Louis. Regardless of intent, the puck bounced directly out in front of Varlamov to St. Louis, who easily popped it into the net.
Lightning fans everywhere was stunned by the pickup. Cedrick Desjardins looked like a promising solution, and then GM Steve Yzerman traded Ty Wishart to the New York Islanders for 41-year-old veteran goaltender Roloson. I think most fans were pretty happy about the addition of Roloson, but still very surprised by the move.
And Roloson did not disappoint. He was very calm and very solid in net the entire time. Which is no mean feat when you're playing behind an entire team that you don't really know. There was no scrambling to get back into position, no awkward rebounds, and no mishandling pucks. Just a competent guy doing his job in the best way that he can with a new team.
Honestly, it seemed as if he'd been there all along.
That was hardly how the entire game played out, of course. Lecavalier, while not having a great night in the faceoff circle, also had six shots, three hits, and one blocked shot. Needless to say, Lecavalier was there leading the way.
But he wasn't the only one. Teddy Purcell had six shots, Steven Stamkos had four, and three other players has three shots each. It was a pretty balanced attack offensively. Defensively, Mattias Ohlund had five hits, Matt Smaby had three, and three different players had three blocked shots each. The team had a total of 17 blocked shots of the game.
The other big story of the game were the standings. The Tampa Bay Lightning currently sit atop the Southeast Division standings all alone. Keep in mind that it is only January...but it's very promising, all the same.
Welcome to Tampa Bay, Dwayne! And welcome to the newest addition, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron! (Reportedly, he'll be spending a couple of weeks in Norfolk for conditioning.) Hope you guys like it here.
The next game is tonight at the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game time is 7 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread opens up at 6:30 pm, so stop in and say hi.