May 27th, 2011 may have been the end of the Tampa Bay Lightning season, at the hands of the Boston Bruins... yet tonight should not be an attempt to avenge that loss. (in image: Victor Hedman and Zdeno Chara shake post-game )
Carolina wanted payback for being bounced out of 2011 NHL playoff contention at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. That was the story coming from Raleigh leading up to the game last night. Revenge. Drama. Whatever will get a roster worked up to come out hard-charging.
For a while there, the Hurricanes were indeed the team with a bone to pick and a statement to make... Up until chips started to fall the other way and the Lightning put the game away.
What's my point? If the Hurricanes were bitter about being bounced from even getting a playoff berth, how are the Lightning supposed to feel tonight going into Boston and squaring off against their Eastern Conference Final opponent and the eventual Stanley Cup Champion? Bitter? Angry? Riled up? "Payback time", "revenge" and all that?
Try something a lot less hostile and a lot more disciplined. From Guy Boucher (via the St. Pete Times):
"Whatever has been in the past has to be in the past or you create the wrong kind of emotion," Boucher said. "I've always said when you're looking for revenge, you're not looking out for the task at hand."
You're not going to gain revenge in the second game of the NHL season. This isn't payback-time. A win now would not equal doing some damage down the line to crush playoff hopes, or eliminate someone from the playoffs.
I don't doubt fans, or players, will be motivated and feel some need to send a message tonight and make a statement with a win, but this is game two of an 82 game season.
The Bolts went 2 for 6 last night on the power play, including Vincent Lecavalier's batting-practice goal on a 5-on-3 opportunity:
They also prevented Carolina from scoring a power play goal, in five opportunities last night. It's a little early to make an declarations about how good the PK unit is, but after Monday (having faced Carolina, Boston and Washington (Monday's opponent], we may have something more of a definite idea about the PK.
The Bruins went 1-for-5 Thursday night on the power play during their season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers. They allowed 1 goal on 4 opportunities to the Flyers while ont eh penalty kill. You do the math.
Mattias Ohlund remains on IR, just how long isn't for sure. He has not skated since September 30th. Tom Pyatt makes his Tampa Bay Lightning debut tonight, as Blair Jones is rotated out. This is what has to be done with 14 forwards on the roster - rotation. While Mathieu Garon is not officially named starter for tonight yet, it's assumed he'll be in the pipes for his Lightning debut.
The Raw Charge game thread goes live at 6:30 PM.