Game 38: Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3.
This was the fourth time this season - and the second time by the Maple Leafs - that the Lightning have allowed seven goals in a game. They have also allowed the Florida Panthers and the San Jose Sharks each seven goals. This isn't solely a goaltending problem, but an overall defense problem.
Despite allowing so many goals, only the last two for the Leafs came on the power play. The first five goals that the Leafs scored were all even strength. So no one can even blame a poor night for special teams on the score.
Well, they can partly blame it. Even though the penalty kill may not have been as bad as it could've been, the power play for the Lightning was simply dismal. They were O-fer on the night, and they had five power play opportunities - even 45 seconds of 5-on-3. The problem wasn't converting shots into goals; it was just getting shots on the net.
The Lightning had 24 shots on goal for the game. But, as mentioned before, they had had over nine minutes of power play time on five power plays. Typically, the more power plays a team has, the higher number of shots they have by the end of the game, since most teams shoot more while they have the man advantage. The Lightning...not so much.
But, the good news is that, while they did have so much time of the power play, they didn't allow any shorthanded goals. Not much of a silver lining, I know, but it's something. Especially considering how they like to allow odd-man rushes now and then.
Mathieu Garon didn't have the best night, as he was pulled during the second period. He let in four goals on 21 shots, and had little help from his defensemen. Dwayne Roloson finished the game, but he let in three goals on 21 shots as well. So the defensemen weren't helping Roloson out much, either.
Despite Vincent Lecavalier scoring less than a minute into the game, and despite Steven Stamkos scoring his league-leading 27th goal of the season, this was not a good game. What started out so promising ended up being more of the same. Lack of defensive support for the goalies, lack of shots on goal (can't score if you don't shoot), lack of puck possession, and a lack of discipline all contributed to this loss.
The next game is 5 January at the Ottawa Senators. Game time is 7:30 pm ET. The Raw Charge game thread opens up at 7 o'clock, so come join us for some group therapy.
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