Tampa Bay Lightning Game 14: at the Ottawa Senators

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Ottawa Senators in overtime 3-2.

Yet another overtime…. They really need to figure out how to win these things in regulation. Seriously. Enough with the overtimes.

The big story in this game was Chris Neil’s hit on Victor Hedman. Hedman did not return to the game afterwards. In fact, he looked a bit woozy when he came off the ice. That’s not necessarily an indicator of a concussion, but it does suggest that that might be the case. Right now, reports have him as day-to-day. That may change once he’s been more fully evaluated today.

I loved this quote about Hedman in the St. Petersburg Times by Zenon Konopka:

"I didn't like the hit, and I think there should be some kind of repercussions," Lightning center Zenon Konopka said. "Obviously, this is like a brother to me, Hedman, and we're upset.

"This kid puts his heart on the line every night."

And that’s what being a teammate is all about, right there.

The other big story is Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay looking like their old selves again. I would like to point out that they haven’t really changed how they played all that much. Mostly they’ve changed their attitudes. So for those people who think that they’re better, they’re really not. They’re just more confident in their abilities is all. And that’s something to think about when they hit another slump later on in the season. No one can be consistent over 82 games, after all, so it’ll happen.

The biggest story – for me, anyways – is the defense. The defensemen looked better in the previous game against Toronto, but they’re didn’t look as good in this game against the Sens. They all had their moments of doing good, but they were missing assignments, bunching up instead of spreading out, not standing the incoming forwards up at the blue line, taking a lot of penalties, looking completely disorganized down low, and not clearing pucks. In short, completely inconsistent and not very organized. Now that the goaltending and the forwards are getting figured out, someone really needs to look at the defense. You're not going to get very far if your defensemen aren't where they should be on the ice or constantly sitting in the penalty box.

Quality goaltending for the Lightning was provided by Antero Niittymaki. Who, in his understated way, was very good. As has been usual. Mike Smith is equally as good – as we all witnessed last season – but he needs to find his way back to last season’s form. Niittymaki is obviously getting the job done, regardless of whether he’s a starter or a backup.

The next game is against the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday at 7 pm ET.