Game 82: Tampa Bay at Atlanta
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost their last game of the 2008-2009 season to the Atlanta Thrashers 6-2.
Wow. That was a miserable little season, wasn't it? Thank god that's finally over.
So the Lightning end the season how they started it - on a losing streak. The started the season with a five-game losing streak (0-2-3; all one-goal losses), and ended it with a nine-game losing streak (0-5-2; losing by an average of two goals every game). Sadly, with trades, injuries, and all of the other nonsense that went on this season, only five guys that were in the lineup for the season opener in Prague were in the lineup tonight: Artyukhin, Mihalik, Prospal, St. Louis, and Stamkos. And of those players, only Prospal and St. Louis played every game this season in between.
The game started out well enough for the Lightning. They out shot the Thrashers in the first period 13-7, had a power play goal, and had some good energy. Of course, there were three fights, they gave up a shorthanded goal, and also a power play goal. But they were still accomplishing things.
Then they gave up three goals in the second and pulled their goalie McKenna. And it just went downhill from there. They weren't great on faceoffs, and took too many penalties, but they did outshoot Atlanta 35-26 on the game. Strangely, they seem to get more goals when they shoot less. I don't know why that is, unless it takes the opposing goalie out of the game.
There will be a season recap forthcoming in the next few days. Not so much to revel in the agony and horror, or even to point out what went wrong. It's to document the series of events that led the team to this place and to perhaps give us all hints as to which direction it may be going. Past actions typically indicate future ones, after all.
It ought to be interesting to see who's been hiding minor injuries - and who else will be going in for surgery - this coming week. As well as who will be invited to join national teams. Other than the draft lottery on Tuesday, it should be relatively quiet and uneventful in Tampa for the next couple of months. At least until right around the draft in June.
So sit back, relax, and figure out which team you want to follow during playoffs. And there's always World Championships in Switzerland towards the end of the month. If you have the energy or interest for either of those, at this point. I'm hoping that San Jose (with Dan Boyle & Brad Lukowich) wins the Stanley Cup myself.
Thanks for reading and keep checking back for more posts this offseason.