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Game 70: Toronto at Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost in a shoot out to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3.

Where, oh where, to begin…? Let’s start with being up 3-0 towards the end of the second. And then losing in the shoot out.

I don’t know what was said during the second period intermission – or what not was said, frankly – but whatever it was (or wasn’t), it was entirely the wrong thing. The team that came out of the dressing room at the beginning of the third was not the same team that went into the dressing room at the end of the second. In the second period, they were confident. For most of the third, they were shaky and couldn’t get the puck out of their own zone.

The only things that saved during that awful third period were special teams and Kari Ramo. Again, their power play was good, and their penalty killing even better. The Lightning didn’t allow a Toronto power play goal in five tries. Converting two of their six power plays wasn’t too shabby, either.

And Ramo was fantastic. Sure, the score isn’t really indicative of that, but it rarely has been this season for the Lightning. I mean, they suited up their 20th defenseman this season. What does that tell you? (If you don’t know, then maybe you ought to ask someone.)

It tells me that they weren’t that great at limiting shots. Also a season-long problem. Almost 40 – again. I thought they’d gotten past all that. Although, to be fair, there was overtime involved.

One of the highlights for this game – for me, anyways – was a perfectly executed hip check by Anton Stralman on Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier didn’t like it much, and I’m sure I wouldn’t, either, had I been in his skates. But it was a legal and very nicely done hip check, and that was a thing of beauty. I’ve often wondered why that’s disappeared from the game.

So this one went into a shoot out, as previously mentioned. And it was a long one, too, going six rounds. It was more of a goaltending clinic then anything else. Martin St. Louis’ shot hitting the post, instead of going into a wide open net after spinning around to his backhand, was a bit of a heartbreaker, though.

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