Monday, April 18, 2016

Three the Hard Way

So another playoff game that I missed most of because of work, but from what I read online and Twitter (after the game, of course, because I would never check Twitter at work) it wasn't the finest hour for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Based on the final score of 2-0 for the other guys I would have to agree. Just because I didn't see most of the game doesn't mean I don't have opinions. Let's go over three thoughts from Game 3 of the first round.

  1. You didn't think it would be this easy did you?

What have the Lightning done the easy way this year? All year it's been a struggle. Whether it is trying to score a power play goal, sign the best goal scorer in their history, or ice an entirely healthy team everything has been harder than a fat man putting a wet suit on. So why would winning a playoff series be any easier?

When Coach Cooper had last change on home ice he was able to get a favorable matchup for Tyler and the Killer K's (damn it, I'm making this work!). However, in Detroit it was a different story. The hottest line for the Lightning was held without a shot and net and the rest of their teammates only mustered 16. Peter Mrazek made the start for the Red Wings and was rarely tested throughout the 60 minutes as Detroit managed to clog things up and keep the Lightning on the perimeter.

Hey, did you know his mask glows in the dark? Photo by Greg Shamus/ Getty

The Bolts didn't do themselves any favors with their endless march to the penalty to the penalty box. The Red Wings had another 7 power plays and even though they didn't score on any of them, it still interrupted the 5-on-5 play and kept the Lightning from finding any balance. According to Twitter it was a case of the refs calling a one-sided game which, having not watched the game, I can't really argue. The common beef seemed to be that the Red Wings got away with their typical brand of interference and holding while the Lightning were getting called for every infraction. Lets face it, power plays aren't helping the Lightning win, especially on the road (10% success during the regular season!)

They have to be betting Game 4 and stay out of the box. They are the better team at even strength and they need to play at that level as much as possible. Speaking of stooping to their level:

  1. Brian Boyle and the chicken dance.

Sigh. Should Justin Abdelkader dropped his mitts and fought Boyle? Probably. Should Boyle have challenged him earlier in the game? Probably. Do the Lightning need to knock this shit off? Definitely. Standing up for yourself and bullying the other team a bit isn't a bad thing, letting them get under your skin and off your game is another thing.

I think Boyle has the reach. Photo by Greg Shamus/ Getty

Boyle is there to be a impediment to the Red Wings especially in front of the net. Pierre McGuire adequately (hey, he can't be wrong ALL the time) dubbed him, “The Human Eclipse”. While he is equipped to put Abdelkader in his place, it doesn't mean he should be trying to do it at the end of the game. If you're going to defend Mike Blunden's honor, square off in the first period and get it out of the way.

The chicken act was pretty damn funny. And let's not forget that he has only one less goal than the trio of Dylan Larkin, Hank Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

  1. A team is not in trouble....

..until it loses a game on home ice. C'mon. I didn't watch the game. I have to throw one cliché in this article. However, just because something is cliché, doesn't mean it isn't true. The Lightning still hold the hammer in this series. If they remember to shoot the puck on net in Game 4 and score some goals (mark it down, Jason Garrison game-winner) they will go back to Tampa with the chance to close out the series.

It wasn't like the Red Wings whipped them up and down the ice. Did they generate a lot of chances? No, but they did still do a lot of little things well. They continued to block shots and despite the Red Wings having SEVEN power plays they only gave up 30 shots. I thought Jonathan Drouin had another good game, during the 10 minutes of play I did watch he was forchecking like a crazy man and generated 3 or 4 turnovers. Heck, if nothing else he is driving his trade value back up.

Game 3 was a do-or-die game for Detroit. If they had lost, they don't come back. For the Lightning it would have been a nice game to win, but it a loss also helps them remember that they can't just throw their sticks on the ice and win (“throw the sticks on the ice and win” is a registered trademark to the I Couldn't Stand Barry Melrose As Lightning Coach LLC and cannot be used without express written consent).

My favorite Cooper look, The "You're an idiot" look.  Photo by Dave Raginek NHLI/Getty

All throughout the season, when the Lightning didn't HAVE to win, they didn't. They usually played like crap. Game 4 is a little different. If they lose, that's a little more hope for the Red Wings, and as Andy Dufresne reminds us, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Wait, what? No we don't want them to have any hope. Hope sucks. Die Hope Die!

Three Stars of the Game:

No idea. So let me give a little unsolicited advice to fans of both teams. Lightning fans: settle down, the refs don't have anything against the Lightning. They may be inept, but they are not bias. Stop that shit, conspiracy theories don't look good when you have a Stanley Cup banner in your closet.

Detroit fans: Stop acting like Abdelkader is some kind of victim in all of this. Even if he was “jumped” by two players at the end of Game 2, you don't keep throwing punches into the back of the head of a player who is on the ice – that's not cool, that's how people get hurt badly.

And what's the deal with Journey? Honestly, the song references “South Detroit” so you act like its some kind of geographical cornerstone to your very fandom? I admit it is damn fun to sing, but its one of those weird songs with a catchy tune that is kind of depressing when you think about the lyrics. Don't stop believing because your life kind of sucks. Steve Perry wants to hold onto this “feeling” because not much else is going right.

Oh and if you're shopping at Modell's I could use a new hoodie.

Did Matt Carle Get a Point?

Nope. He was on the ice at the end of the game mixing it up with everyone else and picked up a slashing penalty. So at least he was in the scorebook.

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