Brett Connolly scored his first goal of his NHL career to give the Lightning a fighting chance and made the score 3-2, but they were unable to get that game-tying goal in the end. Still, we all knew that it was just a matter of time until Connolly was going to score. And may that be the first of many for him this season.
It was an uneven effort at best for the Lightning - and not a very good one defensively at worst. The first period wasn't the best for them as they were out performed at just about every level statistically. The second period was moderately better at times. And the third period was good, but not outstanding.
The best player on the ice was unquestionably the captain, Vincent Lecavalier. He finished the game with seven shots on goal (plus two attempted but blocked, and three missed shots as well), two hits, one assist on Connolly's goal, and he won 76% of all of his faceoffs winning 13 of 17. He was out there doing what good leaders do, but not enough of the team followed his example for it to make a difference in the end.
Teddy Purcell also had a good game, and he got the only other Lightning goal on the night. Martin St. Louis was focusing more on setting up plays than trying to capitalize on scoring chances. Steven Stamkos was pretty much in the same boat as St. Louis in this case, and was focusing more on setting up plays than scoring.
The best defenseman of the night was probably Matt Gilroy. He, Brett Clark, and Marc-Andre Bergeron were the only defensemen to end the night +1. But Clark was on the ice for the Carolina power play goal, so you might want to take that with a grain of salt. (Power plays and penalty kill situations do not figure into +/- statistics.)
Gilroy was jumping into plays, handling the puck well, and doing a decent job defensively. He's definitely finding his comfort zone with the team. Eric Brewer, despite taking four shots on goal, ended up a -2 on the night.
Dwayne Roloson faced far too many shots far too early in the game. Shots for the first period were 19-7 Carolina. If that doesn't tire a guy out, I don't know what will. He looked sharp for most of the game, but the overall team defense didn't do him any favors.
Overall, it was just not a good night. It wasn't awful by any means, but it was a fairly mediocre performance. To be fair, Cam Ward did have an outstanding game, so more shots may not have equaled more goals. However, when you're statistically beaten in just about every category except faceoffs for the majority of the game, that's really not a good sign.
The next game is Friday, 4 November, at home against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game time is 7:30 pm Eastern. Time to break out the rally drums and get this team going. If you're not attending the game, then hang out with us on the game thread, which will open at 7 o'clock.
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