Game 79: Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0.
This time I'll get it right. This was their fifth win in a row. I was just a game early with that last time, if you caught it before everything was corrected.
Vincent Lecavalier scored the game-winner 7:56 into the game, but he was done for the night by 4:42 of the second period. He was hit in the face by a Michael Frolik high stick, for which Frolik received a double-minor for high sticking. Reports suggest that Lecavalier took three stitches around his right eye, and may have a scratched cornea - pending further examination today in Buffalo.
Chances are good that he'll miss the game Tuesday night at the Buffalo Sabres, but he may be able to play again as soon as Friday at home against Florida Panthers. Again, this depends on what the training staff and doctors find today. A scratched cornea, while it sounds gruesome, isn't quite as debilitating as you might think. If that's really the issue, of course.
For the most part, the game was intense but not a lot was accomplished. The Lightning had a total of 15 shots for the night. They had only four shots in the first period - and Lecavalier had three of those. They also had four more shots in the second period. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, ended the night with 31 shots. Mike Smith was brilliant; which is good because he had to be. It's nice to see him getting his confidence back.
Because the Lightning had dressed 11 forwards and seven defenseman, as they often do, with Vinny out they were down to ten forwards. Marc-Andre Bergeron played some time at forward, to help balance out the lines when necessary. And he did a good job of it.
Oh, and it wasn't your imagination that the on-ice officiating was bad. There were a couple of Blackhawks fans that I follow on Twitter that were complaining of that as well. So the officiating was bad on both sides, not just the Lightning. Which frustrates me to no end, but that's how it goes. And it won't change when playoffs roll around, either.
For those of us watching the NHL Network last night, we were subjected to the announcers for the Blackhawks on WGN - a Chicago station. Personally, I didn't think anyone could be as willfully ignorant about a Southeast Division team as some of the Toronto media can be, but I was mistaken. It was clear that not only did the Blackhawk announcers not care about the Lightning, probably simply because they're an Eastern Conference team, but they didn't even bother trying to get their facts right.
Frankly, they seriously lacked any sense of professionalism, which is completely discouraging. If they can't impart correct information, how is anyone supposed to know otherwise? So when Lightning fans hear the fans of other teams not get their facts right about Tampa Bay, it may not entirely be those fans' fault. So just keep that in mind.
The next game is at the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow, 5 April. Game time is 7 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will be up at 6:30 pm before the game, so stop in and say hi.
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