John Grahame may have gone into Thursday night's action with a 1.87 GAA and a record to go along with it but between penalty antics and plain, flat out stupid play in the 2nd period, it becam clear why there are Lightning fans who believed Grahame not to be a #1 goaltender.
...So far that he took himself too far away from the goal, missed clearing the puck away from Heatly and it became a great scoring opportunity for Ottawa. Tampa's defense scrambled to cover the net but Daniel Alfredsson converted what was a gimmie goal with an all-but-empty net.
All of this, and Grahame sent the Senators onto the power play because he decided to throw his stick in a desperate attempt to get the puck away from Heatly.
Add this incident to another incident in front of the Lightning goal (where Grahame decided to take a smack at a player after a botched scoring opportunity by Ottawa) and Grahame loses any respect I held for him. Stupid decisions, stupid tactics, all of this while being on the opposite end of the ice from one of the greatest goaltenders the world has ever seen.
The game itself was solid -- at least through the first two periods. The fact the Lightning were playing for the second straight night against a well rested Ottawa team wasn't a factor. What was, was extremely poor defense that led to Ottawa's first goal and Grahame's blunder that gave Ottawa the lead. The Lightning seemed to lose faith in itself leading up to the third period and collapsed.
I'm trying to make heads and tails of the Lightning right now -- so many odd-man attacks and no patience to wait for teamates to enter the zone. What exactly was the basis of the Rob DiMaio acquisition when we needed defensive help? Wasn't the role fot he warm-body-on-ice already handed to Chris Dingman? Wouldn't prospects like Nick Taransky or Mark Fritz fill the roll amiably - and mroe cheaply for that matter? A good locker room presence doesn't always make up for signing talent where you need it.
Ottawa remains undefeated -- stomping Tampa Bay 4-1 -- and Tampa Bay remains listless in it's cup defense