I think that it's probably a good thing that the Lightning got their first visit to Philadelphia out of the way early. If I were in Simon Gagne's skates, I wouldn't want to have that hanging over my head for half of a season. The team won it for him, though he was good only in spurts. But that's to be expected.
The first period, the Lightning came out pretty flat. Sure, you can blame the travel - they reportedly got into Philly at 3 am - but it's still early enough in the season where that shouldn't necessarily be a factor. I felt that they were a bit more tired than they should've been.
The interesting stat of the game was that neither team scored a power play goal. I can't remember the last time I saw that. Usually, at least one team scores on power play goal during any given game.
The sort of crazy stat of the game was that Steven Stamkos scored his fourth goal of the season. And we're only three games in. While it's physically impossible for him to keep up that kind of a goal-scoring pace, that's still a pretty impressive start. He should be thanking his linemates Steve Downie and Martin St. Louis for some of that - as well as the guys he plays with on the power play unit.
And the impressive stat of the game was Vincent Lecavalier winning 11 of 18 faceoffs he took. That's a 61% winning percentage for the game. People may go off about his lack of goal production, but Vinny does so much more than just score goals.
He also made a few very good defensive plays during the game during the third period - stuff that isn't quantifiable on a scoresheet - while covering for the defensemen, too. Even if he does end up scoring 50 goals this season, I think that's just as important. While goals help win games, so do many other things like playing defense and faceoffs.
Overall, the first period wasn't the best, but they picked it up in the second and the third. The last five minutes of the game they played a great defensive style. It's just too bad that Gagne wasn't able to get a goal as well.
The next Lightning game is Saturday, 16 October, at the Florida Panthers. Game time is 7 pm. Come check out our game thread, if you're around!