Tampa Bay Lightning Game 49: at the New York Rangers
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the New York Rangers 8-2.
Seriously, guys? 8-2? …Really?
This game reach ludicrous proportions. It was so bad that you just had to laugh. It got to the point where Ryan Malone and Jeff Halpern got into fights. Jeff Halpern! C’mon, when was the last time you saw Jeff Halpern in a fight? I mean, good for Jeff that he gave it a go, but still. The only way it could’ve gotten any more absurd would’ve been if Martin St. Louis had dropped the gloves.
There was only one line that was ready to play this game, and that was Alex Tanguay, Vincent Lecavalier, and Jeff Halpern. And the only real reason for that is because Lecavalier sort of made them. Out of all of the players on the ice for the Lightning, only two guys had their heads in this game from the beginning, and that was Vinny and Zenon Konopka.
As expected, Antero Niittymaki started the second game in a row – this being the second of back-to-back games. Should Dustin Tokarski have played in this second game? Even looking back, I’d have to say no. Niittymaki did let in five goals on 20 shots, but he had no help. After all, Tokarski let in three more on the 11 shots he faced.
As you would expect, with the Lightning having allowed eight goals in this game, the defense was invisible. I’d almost have to wonder if they were even in the same building, but there were guys out there wearing the right jerseys and skating backwards. Would playing five forwards instead have made a difference? Probably not. Everyone was equally poor in their own end.
As I mentioned before, Lecavalier and Konopka tried all game long to get things moving in the right direction. Vinny did his best to score and set up teammates - he even scored a goal - but it didn’t get him very far. Konopka tried in his usual manner to rile up the team, but it didn’t affect the rest of the guys. And even Malone gave it a go towards the end there, too, with starting a fight to bring up the energy. But nothing worked.
In their defense, the Lightning did come up against a very good goaltender. Henrik Lundqvist was a wall. But that’s not excuse for letting in eight goals. Lundqvist wasn’t shooting on net, after all. Although, if he had given it a try, he probably could’ve scored as well.
Interesting stat of the night: only Tanguay and Konopka were even for the Lightning. Everyone else was either a -1, -2, or -3 (Victor Hedman and Kurtis Foster were the only two that were a -3). Strange, but true.
The next game is Thursday, 21 January, at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Game time is earlier than is typical for a home game: 7 pm Eastern is when it starts. I would assume, since this is Toronto, that the time is to accommodate TSN. If you can, go watch the game. Select tickets involve donations to Haiti relief.
Lightning vs Rangers coverage [SB Nation]
Blueshirt Banter [SB Nation New York Rangers site]
Lightning vs Rangers recap [TSN]