Game 39: Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Ottawa Senators 4-1.
Despite the score, this was actually a pretty good game for the Lightning. They put out a full 60-minute effort, and they played well. The score was more a reflection of how Craig Anderson played in net for the Senators than how the Lightning played. And also not a bad showing, considering they were playing with two fewer forwards than usual for the last two periods of the game.
They were much improved from the previous game on most fronts. There were only two major stats that the Lightning didn't lead in all night. The big one was the score, of course. The not-as-big one was faceoffs.
Most of the Lightning centers struggled to win faceoffs in the defensive zone. The lone exception was Dominic Moore, who won three of four (75%). The neutral zone wasn't much better for them, either. Yes, there is some strategy involved in faceoffs; there are situations where you ‘lose' a faceoff in order to accomplish what you want. But that sort of thing typically doesn't apply to the defensive zone.
The bottom line is that it's sort of difficult to have control of the puck in the defensive zone if the offense has it immediately from the faceoff. If the opposing team has control of the puck, then it allows them to shoot on your goalie. Funny how that works, isn't it.
Dwayne Roloson had a fairly good game, for the most part. The first goal he allowed wasn't very pretty, and probably should've been dealt with differently. However, outside of that one significant problem, he was pretty solid in net. Definitely a confidence booster for him, regardless of the score.
Steven Stamkos scored his league-leading 28th goal of the season halfway through the third and made it 2-1. He currently has a five game goal scoring streak, scoring eight goals in those five games. He was set up by a fantastic play made by Vincent Lecavalier.
The downside of the game (other than the score) was that the Lightning lost both Adam Hall and J.T. Wyman in the first. They both have upper body injuries - Wyman, reportedly, was slashed across the hand. They will likely be re-evaluated today in Montreal. The Lightning now have six players injured as of the end of this game: Hall (upper body), Wyman (upper body), Ryan Malone (lower body), Ryan Shannon (sprained knee), Victor Hedman (concussion), and Mattias Ohlund (knees).
A bright spot is that Brett Connolly will be rejoining the team in Montreal after helping Canada win the bronze medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Calgary. (Sweden won gold, Russia got silver.) He may be in the lineup, depending on how Hall and Wyman are doing.
They played a much more disciplined game than they did previously, and that was good to see. As well as get more shots. The odd stat of the night was that Matt Gilroy had seven shots on goal, which was one more than Stamkos. Gilroy is considered an offensive-defenseman, but even that's a little over the top. Also good to see, however.
The next game is Saturday, 7 January, at the Montreal Canadiens. Game time is 7 pm ET. The Raw Charge game thread will be available at 6:30 pm - please join us.
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