Tampa Bay Game 25: versus the Colorado Avalanche

The Tampa Bay Lightning were shut out for the first time this season by the Colorado Avalanche 3-0.

The Lightning all looked fairly disinterested in this game. The few exceptions to that were Mattias Ohlund, who just returned from injury, as well as Andrej Meszaros, Vincent Lecavalier, Zenon Konopka, Victor Hedman at times, and Steven Stamkos towards the end of the game. Antero Niittymaki played a steady, but hardly fantastic, game.

There are many people who think that if Vinny’s not scoring, then he’s not doing anything. I know that I mention that I think he played well often enough, and it’s because he has. His only role on the team isn’t only to score. While that’s a large part of his job, that’s not all of it. I skip the obvious goal scoring problems and see him doing the other parts of his job well – such as faceoffs, defense, playmaking, and leadership. The scoring part will come – or it won’t. That’s sometimes how it goes. Unfortunately, not many people can see beyond the goal scoring with him, or lack thereof.

But people sure can see beyond Martin St. Louis’ similar goal scoring problems, can’t they? I think that they’re both great players, each in their way. It’s just the double-standard that really gets to me.

The team slept-walked thru most of this game. It wasn’t until the third – and not even really until the last half of the third – that the Lightning started playing and dominating the game. The problem at that point was that they were passing more than they were shooting.

Not to take anything away from rookie Matt Duchene's two goals, but Colorado did not play that great a game. The Lightning dominated play and controlled the puck for long stretches of the game, but just didn’t shoot. Or, if they did shoot, it was usually wide or blocked. It was as if they were just throwing pucks at the net without bothering to look. They were just going through the motions instead of being deliberate about it. And the passing was as sloppy as the shooting.

Due to a quirk in the schedule, the Lightning will be playing the Avalanche again this season. They visit Colorado 11 December. Perhaps they Bolts will be able to get back a little of what they missed in this game.

There were a lot of penalties in the game. Some of that was due to the sloppy play, and some of that were valid penalties. Konopka tried to fire up the team with a fight, but not even that got them going. But, you’ve got to give it to Konopka – his heart is bigger than himself. He’ll do anything to help out his teammates, even sacrificing himself to do it.

The next game is Wednesday, 2 December at the Boston Bruins. The start time is 7 pm Eastern. I expect Mike Smith will probably get the start.