Game 9: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3.
This game was strange. Well, I thought it was strange. It's not often that any team can score four unanswered goals on Pittsburgh - particularly after they'd scored two shorthanded goals themselves.
On the game's first Lightning power play, Tampa Bay gave up two shorthanded goals. On the same power play. I have never seen that happen before. And hopefully, I'll never see that again.
The Lightning defense was just awful in the first period. Wait - scratch that. They were non-existent. It's not as if the forwards were blameless on those two shorties, but it's the defensemen's job to stop or hinder breakaways like that. It's unfortunate that Mattias Ohlund's 2010-2011 season debut came under such questionable circumstances.
After that, I dreaded any time the Lightning came on the power play in this game.
Mike Smith was pulled after letting in three goals on seven shots in the first twelve minutes of the game. He was replaced by Dan Ellis. Ellis, for all intents and purposes, got the shutout since he didn't allow a goal while he was in net.
Sean Bergenheim had a penalty shot chance, but he was unable to convert on it. Martin St. Louis - unquestionably the first star of the night - almost had a penalty shot chance as well, but he scored on his breakaway, negating the penalty shot call. Pittsburgh's defense wasn't much better than the Lightning's.
For all of the hype that this was a game between last year's co-Richard Trophy winners, Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby, neither of those guys really did much in way of scoring goals. Stamkos had one shot on goal, while Crosby had three. But Stamkos did have three assists and was a +2, while Crosby only had one assist and was a -1. So take that as you may.
St. Louis was by far the best player on the ice for either team. Not just in terms of goals scoring - though he did score two goals, one of which was an empty netter at the end - but just in terms of overall play. It's hard to argue against nine shots on goal and two blocked shots. Bergenheim also ended up having a good night, but was a little shaky in the first period. He ended up with five shots for the game. And I thought that Adam Hall also played pretty well, taking three shots, having four hits.
The next game is Saturday, 30 October, at the Phoenix Coyotes. Game time is 9 pm Eastern. The Raw Charge game thread opens up 30 minutes before the game.
Penguins vs Lightning recap [TSN]
Penguins vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]
PensBurgh [The SB Nation Pittsburgh Penguins site]
Penguins vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]