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Tampa Bay Lightning Game 17: versus the Los Angeles Kings

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost (?) in a shootout to the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

The story of this game was the overturned goal scored in overtime by Andrej Meszaros. The ruling on the ice was that Paul Szczechura was in the crease interfering with the goaltender. And since it’s a judgment call, it can’t be reviewed. So the overturned goal stood and the game went into a shootout.

However, Szczechura had been pushed into the crease by  Kings defenseman and was unable to avoid the goaltender, therefore negating the interference call, so that should have been a goal.

Any way you slice it, it was a botched call by the officials. The nearest official made the call that it was a goal, but that was overturned by someone else on the ice. A little too quickly for my comfort, if you ask me, but whatever. Calls like that happen during the season. Officials are only human, after all.

The first period was very good for the Lightning. They were hitting, making plays, had good energy. Nothing went in for either team, but it was a nice change. Typically, Western Conference teams are more physical than Eastern Conference teams, and sometimes it takes a little while for the Eastern Conference team to mentally catch up to that. In this case, though, the Lightning started and ended with the Kings in that category.

And then the second period lull happened. I don’t know what it is about the Lightning, but the second period tends to be a yawner. That’s probably the one area they’ve been consistent with all season – not mentally being in the game for the second period. The first and most of the third tend to be okay for them, though it takes them a few minutes into the third period of most games to fully wake up again.

They were great in overtime. The last couple of overtimes they’ve come out wanting to win the game. Often, most teams play overtime to tie to get into the shootout, but with the Lightning’s troubles in the shootout, it doesn’t really pay for them to do that. So they’re one of the few teams that actually tries to win games in overtime. It’s a nice change, and it gives them an edge over the team their playing.

Now they just need to try to win it in regulation so they won’t have to worry about overtime and the shootout.

The defense looked much, much better. They were far better organized, they were spread out on the ice where they were supposed to be (instead of bunching up together like they had been), and they were finally starting to stand guys up on the blue line. And, most importantly, they stopped passing the puck in front of their own goaltender.

I always flinch whenever the Lightning do that. When you’re a kid, you’re taught not to do pass in front of your goaltender – or make cross-ice passes through center ice. But what do the Lightning do? Both of those, of course. Seems that some guys need a refresher on the basics.

The next game for the Lightning is at the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday, 16 November. Start time is 9 pm ET, so remember to take a nap when you get home from work if you live on the East Coast.

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