Game 80: Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Montreal Canadiens 5-2.
Going along with the trend of the past few weeks, the Lightning were unable to get many shots off. For the game, they had only 16 shots on goal. Four of those were by Steven Stamkos, three by J.T. Brown, and two by Bruno Gervais. Yes, nine of the teams' total shots were by three players.
They came out sort of flat the first two periods. There were moments of brilliance, of course, but it was like they were just going through the motions. Which isn't surprising, considering the time of year and the fact that they're not making it into playoffs. The effort in the third period was much, much better - despite them only taking five shots on goal.
The first of the two goals was a gift by the Canadiens' goaltender Peter Budaj. He came out to the left faceoff circle to handle the puck, and passed it right on to Vincent Lecavalier's stick. Vinny easily popped it into the open net for his first goal since 9 February. The second goal was Gervais's sixth of the season, which is career-high for him.
Sebastien Caron had a decent game, actually. The score isn't really reflective of how he played. The Lightning were letting the Canadiens take a lot of shots - about half of which they ended up blocking. The Canadiens had 25 shots on Caron, but the team blocked an additional 22. While it's nice to have players who are able to block shots, a team shouldn't have to rely on that skill to win. Especially when it can end up seriously injuring players.
Part of the problem was that the entire team kept trying to set up Stamkos for his 59th goal - which didn't happen. It's nice and all that the team wants to help him get to 60 goals, but they're going about it all wrong. They should just keep doing what they've been doing, and he'll likely get there all on his own. Trying to force things doesn't always help.
Norfolk Notes: The Norfolk Admirals clinched the top of their division with their 23rd win in a row on Tuesday, 3. April. Both Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson were named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. Johnson was also named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for March. The Admirals' next game is Friday, 6 April, at 7:30 pm Eastern versus the Binghamton Senators. Their last home game is on Saturday, 7 April, and their last game of the regular season is on 15 April.
The next game is tonight, 5 April, at the Toronto Maple Leafs. Game time is 7 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread will go live at 6:30 pm, so please stop in and say hi.
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