Tampa Bay Lightning Game 53: versus the Anaheim Ducks
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout 2-1.
Other than the customary second period lull, this was a well-played game by the Lightning. For whatever reason, however, they tend to mentally go to sleep in the second period. It makes me wonder if they'd do better if the game were played in two 30-minute halves instead of three 20-minute periods.
The lone Lightning goal was scored by Martin St. Louis. It was a vintage goal by him, too. Coming in with speed off the wing, getting the pass from Stamkos, and snapping it home. It's nice to see him do that.
I did notice Vincent Lecavalier pull off a patented Peter Forsberg move. However, I found that to be disturbing. Those two players that are so dissimilar in how they play, that there's absolutely no basis for comparison - despite the fact that they're both centers. It was the classic skating in, faking the shot, and the gliding around the back of the net for the wraparound. Forsberg would've roofed that shot, but Vinny couldn't get the puck up off the ice.
The interesting part about the shootout was that all three Lightning players shot right-handed. Which would account for the odd selection of Steven Stamkos, Jeff Halpern, and Brandon Bochenski being in the shootout. I'm not sure what the scouting report is on Jonas Hiller, but I can only speculate that he's statistically not very good against right-handed shooters.
The goaltending was fantastic at both ends. Antero Niittymaki isn't only making his case to be the starter in Tampa Bay, but also the starter for the Finnish Olympic team. The Lightning are very lucky to have three very good goaltenders - including Dustin Tokarski.
All in all, while this was a hard-fought game, there wasn't a lot going on in it. Sure, there were a lot of penalties, but they were mostly off-setting penalties. Most of the game was played even - not a lot of actual power plays.
Three interesting statistics to note. Nate Thompson was 13 of 14 (93%) in the faceoff circle. Ryan Malone had seven hits on the night. And Lecavalier had six shots on goal.
The next game is Sunday, 31 January, at the Washington Capitals. Game time is at 3 pm Eastern. On a personal note, I was planning on attending that game as I live in Northern Virginia. But as it's snowing all day today, and the forecast says to expect a foot of the white stuff (we already have over five inches as of noon-ish on Saturday), so I won't be there due to the weather.
Ducks vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Anaheim Calling [SB Nation Anaheim Ducks site]
Ducks vs Lightning recap [TSN]