Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Game 12: Connolly Comes Back To Ruin The Lightning's Night

Game: 12
Opponent:  Boston
Did I Watch Live?: Why, yes I did!
Wow, exciting Halloween for you in the big city: It was.
Three Stars: 3. Anton Stralman 2. Ben Bishop 1. Brett Connolly
Worst Play:

Victor Hedman had a pretty bad shift with about 6 minutes to go in the game.  First he flung a blind pass into the slot right onto Jimmy Hayes’ stick. Which wouldn’t have been bad if Hayes played for the Lightning.  Unfortunately he doesn’t.  Luckily Ben Bishop made the save.  He then had to make another save as Hedman failed to clear the zone once again.


Losing is rarely fun. However, there are always teams that make losing to them even more excruciating. Boston is one of those teams. There is just something about them, the players, the coach, the fans, the announcers that makes it more infuriating when they come out on the winning side.

Unfortunately on Halloween night, the Lightning and their fans had to deal with yet another loss to the Bruins. The offense sputtered once again as they dropped the 3-1 decision on Saturday night. Former Bolt Brett Connolly had the deciding goal as he converted a cross ice pass while the Bruins were enjoying a 5-on-3 power play.

The good news is that the Lightning actually  held a first period lead, something that is as rare as a Mattias Ohlund sighting. According to the Tampa broadcast video, the team has yet to end a first period with a lead. The bad news is that the streak continued.  Matt Beleskey took a shot, got knocked down and fired home a spinning backhand shot on the rebound that surprised Bishop.

As mentioned, Connolly’s game winner came on a 5-on-3 power play. Both penalties by the Lightning were a little ticky-tack.  Hedman (not his best game) took a holding penalty on Brad Marchand’s breakaway. The Big Swede put his hand on Marchand’s hip and the Boston forward spun down like he had been shot.  A minute and a half later Erik Condra was fore checking in the Boston corner when he poked his stick at the puck. Unfortunately he missed and Torey Krug stepped on the blade and fell down.

The Lightning lost the ensuing faceoff and the Bruins were able to pass the puck along the perimeter. Marchand threaded the needle with his pass across the crease and Connolly flicked it into the open net.  There was actually a better chance of the puck hitting Stralman and deflecting into the net then Connolly getting the pass and being able to roof it past the outstretched Bishop.

Depressing as it may be to be scored on by the team’s former first round pick, the real sad part of the game was the lack of offense from the Lightning.  Yes, they are a bit beat up on the front lines with Jonathan Drouin missing another game along with Cedric Paquette. Brian Boyle returned and Tyler Johnson played after being doubtful for most of the game, but both of those centers are playing at less than 100%.

Still despite the banged up offense, they are still spending time in the opponents zone. They just aren’t getting shots on net.  They are actually generating some shots, just not getting them on goal.  They were credited with 22 shots (despite having 5 power plays) and Boston was credited with blocking 14 shots.  There were another dozen or so that went wide of the net.

They have to find a way to direct more of the shots on target.  Instead of trying to score goals off of pretty passes (although Nikita Kucherov’s goal was pretty, pretty) they have to start owning the front of the net and scoring the ugly goals. Until then they’re going to struggle.

Jo Vs. Johnny:
This feature is being suspended until Mr. Drouin is back on the ice.

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