Tampa Bay Lightning Game 21: at the Atlanta Thrashers
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Atlanta Thrashers in overtime 4-3.
Sorry for not posting a game recap for last night's game. It completely slipped my mind. Probably because I was thinking about this game since it was an earlier start than usual.
This game was not televised in either Atlanta or in Tampa. It was radio only for everyone. Which was unfortunate, since over the radio it sounded like a great game.
The Lightning came out with energy and outplayed the Thrashers for most of the game. In fact, they were ahead for most of the game right up until the last two and a half minutes of the third period. That's when Atlanta tied things up to send it into overtime.
A good part of the problem is that the Lightning don't know how to play with a lead. Many teams don't, so that's not too surprising. And a team that has placed at or near the bottom of the league needs to re-learn how to do that. If they can figure that out, then they'll win more of those games that would instead head into overtime and perhaps a shootout.
The story of this game were the three posts and one crossbar that was hit by Tampa Bay. Vincent Lecavalier hit two posts and Jeff Halpern hit it once, while Ryan Malone hit the cross bar. Four shots that could've potentially been four goals. Those shots, by the way, do not count as shots on goal because even if the goaltender had not been in net, they wouldn't have gone in anyways.
Faceoffs weren't that great for the Bolts. In fact, Atlanta's second goal that was scored was apparently right off of the faceoff. The Lightning won 46% of all of their faceoffs, which isn't awful. But they had been doing significantly better earlier this season. The best faceoff percentage on the night for the team went to Zenon Konopka (4-3, 57%), while the worse was Steven Stamkos (8-13, 38%).
Stamkos did finish with seven shots on goal with two assists, however, and had the game winner in overtime.
Malone had a great game. He had a goal, six shots on goal, a cross bar, and four hits. Oh, and he was a +2. The only other player on the Lightning that was a +2 was David Hale. Lecavalier sounded like he had a great game as well with five shots and 50% in the faceoff circle.
Antero Niittymaki had yet another solid game. Isn't it about time that the team officially name him their starting goaltender? He came up with some key saves and allowed the team to stay in the game. And he keeps his personal undefeated streak against the Thrashers alive.
Tampa Bay's next game is at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, 25 November. Start time is 7:00 pm ET.