Game 4: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the New York Islanders by a score of 5-1.
There's really not a lot of nice things to say about this one. To be fair, there is a bug going around the team. Dominic Moore wasn't even a sure thing to play this game because he was sick.
But even still, that doesn't account for serious the lack of leadership that was shown. We can excuse Vincent Lecavalier, since his wife is due to give birth to their son any day now. And we all know how distracted expectant fathers can be. But, even still, Vinny managed to get four shots on the net.
What happened to Martin St. Louis, who didn't have a single shot on goal? I realize that everyone has their off nights, and yes, he was one of five guys that were plus or even on the night. Even still, there was zero leadership from him, which is very out of character. It makes me wonder if he wasn't feeling well himself.
Ryan Malone was invisible for most of the night - another guy whose leadership they could've used. Eric Brewer was too busy trying to figure out where he should be on the ice to deal with the leadership part of things. Steven Stamkos hasn't woken up and realized that the season has started yet. And Teddy Purcell sat the third period because he wasn't playing well.
It seems a bit ridiculous - and nothing against him at all, of course - that Mattias Ritola led the team with eight shots on goal when St. Louis, Malone, Stamkos, and Lecavalier had a combined total of seven shots.
Pushing illnesses aside, is this team really so dependent upon Vinny for leadership that when he's mentally checked out, that the rest of them check out, too? Because if that's the case, there's absolutely no reason for it. Sure, Vinny's the captain and he should be the go-to leadership guy. But there are plenty of other veterans to shoulder that burden Vinny's unable to - for whatever reason.
The defense was just dreadful. It was really a mixed bag for who was the worst, really. Brewer was a -3, but he had three hits on the night - which was the most of anyone on the team. Victor Hedman was also a -3, but he had four shots on goal and three steals. Brett Clark was a -1 and he blocked three shots, but a mistake by him led to one of the goals. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Pete from Bolt Prospects pretty much sums it all up so far four games into the season:
"You would think they would've shown more pride than to allow the team that they fought tooth and nail to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals to steamroll them in Boston. Nah. Their division nemesis who they battled in the playoffs and that has tormented them over the past 3-4 seasons? Nah. No pride displayed in either of those games. No forecheck. No focus. No attention to detail."
Still, no reason to start panicking yet. We're only at Game 4 of the season, after all. With 78 games left to go, there's still plenty of time to start panicking later. Just remember to pace yourself.
The next game is Saturday, 15 October, at the Florida Panthers. Game time is 7:30 pm ET. The Raw Charge game thread will open at 7 o'clock - see you then!
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