Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Game 41: The One Where the Bounces Went the Right Way

Game: 41
Opponent: Edmonton
Score: 3-2 Win

I watched most of this game.  Made it all the way through two periods before I went to bed.  Let’s face it, the first two periods weren’t the best in the history of the Lightning and things weren’t looking too bright for the third.  Plus I had to be up at 5.30am for work. I expected to wake up to a 2-1 or 3-1 loss as we’ve seen throughout the season. Of course, the Lightning would prove me wrong.

They exploded for three third period goals and won in Edmonton for the first time since 2007 (I always love that stat when teams play so sporadically in certain arenas). So color me surprised when I woke up and checked my twitter feed.  Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos all managed to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net and the Lightning ended the first half of the season on a winning note.

Other than the comeback, the main narrative from the game was that the Lightning finally buckled down and started putting pucks on the net.  Because of this they got a few lucky breaks…well three lucky breaks.  All three of the Lightning goals were deflected in by Edmonton players.

The only problem I have with quotes like this from Coach Cooper:

“ So, we kept over passing the puck. We just were not attacking the net. In the third we stacked the net.”

You would thing that was the case, but if you look at both the Hedman and the Stamkos goals - they weren’t exactly shooting the puck on the net.  In fact, both of them were passes that happened to go the Lightning’s way when they hit skates and sticks in front of the net.

I was watching the Edmonton feed for the first two periods and they were harping on the Lightning’s tendency to try and “pass the puck into the net”.  They focused on a chance that Stamkos had in the first period where he had the puck just inside the left circle with a clear shot on goal.  There was no defenseman covering him or trying to block the shot. It was the type of situation where him shooting the puck is the best option for the Lightning scoring a goal.  Instead he tries to pass the puck to Vlad Namestnikov  (who was covered) in front of the net.  The puck kicks off a skate and the Lightning miss out on a good opportunity.

It’s funny when you get the bounces to go the right way it’s a result of hard work, but when they don’t it’s just bad luck.  The Lightning won in Edmonton because they were lucky.  They got outplayed by the Oilers for two periods yet walked away with a win because the puck went left instead of right.  Some of their flaws were still glaringly on display.

Did Matt Carle Get a Point?

Nope.  Once again he was a healthy scratch. I fear, baring an injury, we may never see Mr. Carle in a Lightning uniform again.

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