Opponent: At Buffalo
Did I watch Live?: Nope
Why Not?: Beer and Bacon Classic at Soldier Field
Did I watch on replay?: Yup.
Three Stars: 3. Valteri Filppula 2. JT Brown 1. Steven Stamkos
Worst Player: Andrej Sustr (sorry, but when you trip over your own skates on your first shift it's going to be a tough day.)
The first period was a little ho hum. Buffalo dominated the first few minutes with the Lightning getting few chances in the offensive zone. A lot of the same sloppy play from the game against Philadelphia prevented Tampa Bay from getting into an offensive groove. Through two games it appears teams are focusing on shutting down the cross-ice passes that generates a lot of their offense.
The Lightning broke the scoreless tie when newcomer Erik Condra flung a wrist shot from the point that somehow evaded all of the bodies in front and ended up in the back of the net. At this point (and thanks to a power play) the Lightning were pretty much controlling the action.
However, this isn't a Buffalo team that is tanking for a top draft choice. They fought back and Nick Deslauries slid a puck past Ben Bishop with about 5 minutes left in the period. I'm pretty sure that Coach Cooper has put Matt Carle and Andrej Sustr (the defensive pair on the ice when the goal was scored) together just to piss me off.
In the end, the Lightning were just a little too talented for the up-and-coming Buffalo team. MY BOY NIKITA KUCHEROV added a goal on the final minute of the 2nd period. Steven Stamkos got on the scoreboard in the 3rd as did JT Brown. Buffalo has a lot of great young talent on the team, but they seem to be about a year away from putting it all together.
The Lightning were able to ease into the year playing two teams that aren't likely to make the playoffs. Their mistakes haven't been magnified yet. Hopefully they can iron out some of the wrinkles before they play some of their tougher competition.
Jo or Johnny:
Jonathan Drouin's modest one game point streak came to an end. He did come close to an assist when he set up Valteri Filppula on a power play at the end of the 2nd period. Filpulla's shot rang off the post. Johnny Hockey did score a game winning goal while adding two assists in his contest. So through 2 games Johnny Hockey has a 4-2 edge.