Game 49: Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout 2-1.
The Lightning played in their third shootout game in a row, and Dominic Moore scored the game winner for the second game in a row. Though, Moore's goal was reviewed for this particular game. It looked like he might've scored on a rebound, which isn't allowed in shootouts, but it was determined by off-ice officials that that was not the case. So the goal stood and the Lightning won the game.
The first star of the game should have been goaltender Dan Ellis. Ellis was the reason why the Lightning even managed to stick around in the game long enough for them to get to the shootout. Yes, he looked a little shaky - especially after being scored on 50 seconds into the game. But his only fault on that goal was trusting his defense, and they didn't come through for him on that occasion. Ellis managed to pull it together and the team rallied around him to get the win.
The rest of the team didn't look that great, however. Overall, they looked like they were afraid to make mistakes. Which, of course, makes them make bigger mistakes than what they would've done had they been more relaxed.
Head coach Guy Boucher had some issues with the team playing down to the level of the poorer teams in the NHL - such as those two games with the New Jersey Devils - so that might've played a part in that. The Panthers, while not quite in the situation that the Devils are in, still are at the bottom of the Southeast Division and are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.
Vincent Lecavalier had a rare overtime penalty shot, but was unable to convert. I've noticed that in shootouts - and by extension, penalty shots - that Lecavalier always waits until the last possible moment to shoot. That seems to tie up his hands and he ends up running out of space to take a higher shot. He tends to score on those types of things a lot more if he shoots earlier, and out at the hash marks.
The overall team defense looked more like it should. At least, it reminded me a lot more of how they play it in Norfolk. The Lightning did not look at all comfortable playing that way, however, but it probably contributed to the win because they were in a better on-ice position. Especially since they weren't shooting all that much and Tomas Vokoun was his usual stellar self against Tampa Bay.
The next game is Sunday, 23 January, versus the Atlanta Thrashers. The game is at home, but it's an early start at 5 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will open at 4:30 pm, so if you're not attending the game, come join us.
Lightning vs Panthers recap [TSN]
Lightning vs Panthers boxscore [TSN]
Lightning vs Panthers coverage [SB Nation]
Litter Box Cats [SB Nation]