Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Recap Game 8: Getting Caught Up

Game: 8
Opponent: @ Winnipeg
Did I watch Live?: Nope
Why Not?: Date night with the Duchess
Where did you go? HB Bistro
Was it good? As always
What did you have? Sweet Potato Gnocchi. It was delightful
Did I watch on replay?: Eventually
Three Stars: 3. Nikolaj Ehlers 2. Ondrej Palat 1. Victor Hedman
Worst Play: Ben Bishop whiffing on the clear which led to the shorthanded goal by Blake Wheeler.
The Lightning have a young fast team. The Jets have a young fast team. That led to this being quite the entertaining match up. As the road trip winds through the Central Division the Lightning seem to be finding their game. It was nice to see them swarm Winnipeg in the offensive zone, stalling their breakouts and generating turnovers.

When Tampa is active in the offensive and neutral zone it helps their offense so much. For the first time this year they seemed to be playing that kind of game. Even without the big man Brian Boyle, the 4th line played another great game. Vlad Namestnikov, Cedric Paquette and Erik Condra were put together and they generated some offense with Paquette and Namestnikov picking up important goals (Vladdy's was extra special huge as he scored 20 seconds after Drew Stafford had tied the game).

I think it's time we stop referring to them at the “4th line”. That has such negative connotations. For years we've come to believe that forth lines are thrown on the ice for 10 minutes a game solely to protect the puck and not give up goals. No matter what combination has played on that line – they've contributed on the scoreboard.
  • Brian Boyle: 2 goals, 2 assists
  • Erik Condra: 2 goals, 2assists
  • Vlad Namestnikov: 3 goals, 1 assist
Your Number 1 source for JT Brown Highlights (on the ice or on his head)

They've been picking up the slack while “The Triplets” find their game. It's getting harder and harder for other teams (not named the Blackhawks) to keep the Lightning off of the scoreboard. Once the Johnson line figures things out, and they seem to be headed in that direction, Tampa will be able to roll four lines that can score. Depth is nice.

Overall it was a nice back-and-forth game between two young teams. There were a few defensive lapses that lead to goals (Strafford's and Nikolaj Ehlers – who played on a line with Jonathan Drouin in juniors, that must have been fun to watch), but the win was vintage 2014-15 Lightning. Having a solid offense can always bail out mistakes on defense, at least in the regular season.

Jo or Johnny:
The scoreless streak hit 3 games and he finished with a -2 (Thanks Ben Bishop!). Winnipeg did a pretty good job of keeping this line off of the score sheet overall. Through 8 games he is still sitting at 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists). Taking on Detroit, Johnny Gaudeau had his second consecutive 2 assist night. On a regressing Flames team he is emerging as a bright spot. Through Friday's games he had 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) and is starting to put some distance between the two.

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