Did I watch Live?: Yes, I did!
Three Stars: 3. Ben Bishop 2. Nathan McKinnon 1. SemyonVarlamov
Worst Play: Tyler Johnson's goalie interference “penalty”. So let me get this straight. You get cross-checked into the goalie AND you still get an interference call? In my less-than-expert opinion, the ref saw Johnson crash into Varlamov, assumed he did it of his own accord and called a penalty. When he huddled up with his buddies they told him what happened so an off-setting cross-checking penalty was called. Still cost the Lightning a power play. That's where I miss having Bobby Taylor in the booth. He would have gone crazy.
Well, the team has killed something along the lines of 20 straight penalties. So that's good news. They also scored a power play goal against Colorado in the 2-1 loss. That's good as well. Unfortunately, for the third straight game they were held off the score sheet while skating five-on-five. That's not good.
There was some hope going into Thursday's game that Colorado, and Semyon Varlamov in particular, would be the cure for the Lightning's offensive woes. After all, in four of his five previous games he had given up 3 or more goals, including 4 goals to the not-so-good Columbus Blue Jackets. Sadly, they ran into the Varlomov who almost won the Vezina in 2013-14.
Varlamov (and the goal post) kept the Lightning off the score board until Alex Killorn broke the scoreless drought late in the second period when he jammed home a rebound on the power play. Kllorn looked good all game long as he was re-united with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan on the top line. Callahan, showing the traits that made him a captain in New York, was all over the ice, throwing checks in the corners, setting up in front of the net and generally causing a ruckus all game long.
The Colorado goalie won the game in Tampa. Make no mistake about that. The Lightning played on tilted ice all game long and generated one of their best games in terms of possessions and shots. With the exception of the McKinnon,Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla line, it was all Tampa.
Ben Bishop was solid. He bailed the Lightning out early by making a diving blocker save on Matt Duchesne thirty seconds into the game. From there on he made all the saves he needed to win the game. Both of the Avalanche goals were slightly freaky- Tanguay's just barely trickled over the line before the ref blew his whistle and McKinnon's was the result of the puck redirecting to his stick off of Bishop's skate. An inch or two in either direction and Bishop posts a 1-0 shutout win.
The Lightning are gripping the sticks a bit tight right now, but they are still playing well. If they stick to what they're doing the goals will come.
Jo or Johnny:
Jonathan Drouin was a late scratch with the ol' dreaded “lower body injury”. Of course, the lateness of him missing the game set off the “Cooper Hates Drouin” crowd on twitter. Odd, I didn't see any of them post apologies after the official word came out that he was hurt. Any way, he is stuck on 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists). Johnny Gaudreau picked up an assist against Ottawa. He is up to 1 goal and 10 assists. Good for him.