Lightning’s Meatloaf Good Enough, Win Streak Extended to Five

By on November 26, 2010

Little did we know with MC Hammer performing a post game concert on the plaza the theme would be “Two  Out of Three Ain’t Bad” as the Bolts turned in two dominate periods to crush the Rangers 5-0 in the first 40 minutes.  It was the Rangers that were “Too Legit to Quit” posting three goals in the last 20 minutes to make it too close down the stretch.

Coach Guy Boucher afterwards said, “Well, I’m not happy about this win period.  It’s a lack of respect for the opponent in the third period.  It’s a lack of respect for our standards that are extremely high that we want to hold and keep progressing and everything in the third period just showed we lacked respect.  That’s unacceptable; the players know it and we are not happy with this win.”

At 6:05, the Rangers Ryan Callahan was called for holding.  Enter the NHL’s number one home ice power play team (27.3%, 4th overall).  They started slow with Steven Stamkos dropping an errant pass back out of the zone, but once back in the zone the group settled down and the assault began and ended.  With hard work in front Ryan Malone jammed his 4th goal home from Stamkos and Marty St. Louis at 7:06. Strong discipline was shown by the Bolts because the Rangers were whacking, pushing and shoving to try to gain an advantage, Malone held his ground keeping his stick on the ice.

Later in the 1st the Rangers Derek Boogaard hooks down Nate Thompson on his way to the Rangers goal.  Coach Boucher brings out that home league leading power play putting Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Malone in the zone with St Louis and Randy Jones  on the points. Ryan Malone would bang in his  5th goal of the season and 2nd of the game from Stamkos and Purcell at 15:37.

The first period ended with a hustle play, representative of the Lightning’s team play when Adam Hall slid to block a shot with his skate.    The Bolts outshot the Rangers 11-5 and outscored them 2-0; which was not expressive of how lop-sided the first twenty minutes actually was.

Can I order an even strength goal?  In the 2nd the Bolts extend the lead to 3-0 when Stamkos netted his 21st goal of the season (4:53) from Steve Downie and Marty St. Louis.

Just when I started thinking, ok the Rangers are getting frustrated and this may turn ugly, BAM! At 7:52 Brandon Dubinsky boards Blair Jones.  

At 8:34 coincidental minors were handed out to Ryan Malone and Henrik Lundqvist.  Malone called for a questionable goaltender interference after he was apparently pushed (the way I saw it) into Lundqvist by Derek Boogaard . Lundqvist was called for, ah unsportsmanlike diving? Ok?    

Marc Staal gets chippy and Dominic Moore draws a roughing call.  The Lightning cash less than a minute later with Steve Downie taking a shot that deflected off Brett Clark for his 5th goal of the season with Teddy Purcell getting the other helper. A commanding 4-0 lead for our blue and black clad hockey heroes.  

Victor Hedman finds the back of the net at 15:56 of the 2nd (from Mattias Ritola and Sean Bergenheim) to give the Bolts a commanding 5-0 lead ending the 2nd with an equally commanding shot lead 25-7.

The 3rd period opened with New York coming out of the locker room looking to line up and take runs at black sweaters.   The Rangers finally get on the board when Steve Eminger’s  shot from the high, high slot beat Mike Smith.  5-1 Lightning with 16:02 left in the game. 

Ok, pay attention; here is the play that I think change the flow to this one.  When Mattias Ohlund’s crushing hit at the blue line on Erik Christensen at 11:26 riled up Steve Avery to take a run at Ohlund.  Avery got the booked thrown at him, sentenced to 17 penalty minutes, 2 for instigating, 5 fighting and a 10 minute misconduct.  Ohlund was given 5 for fighting; I viewed it more as great rendition of a duck and cover.  (Is it fighting when you cover you head with both arms in self defense?) With the Bolts getting the man advantage courtesy of Avery’s extra minor; Ryan Malone had two chances pounding on the doorstep to get his hat trick.   Then Malone was belted into the end boards which lead to a Rangers shorthanded breakout.     Brian Boyle scores his 10th of the season (1st shorthanded) from Marc Staal and Brandon Prust.  Lightning still lead 5-2.  The whole Ohlund, Christensen, Avery mix up seem to change the flow of the game.  (I still wonder what would Zenon have done?   Avery would have appreciated the 10 minute misconduct more, because he would get away with that, Ohlund’s hit was as clean as they come.)  The Lightning now are on their heels, I mean three delay calls dumping the puck over the glass.

The Rangers would add a Derek Stepan power play goal late in the period from Marian Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto to bring us to the final tally of 5-3.

After the game Steven Stamkos reflected Coach Boucher’s accounts of the game, “We came out just the way we wanted especially after the Boston game.  It was a great start to the game, we held them to two shots on goal in the 2nd period. It was pretty good. But we are not satisfied with that period (the 3rd) we got to find a way to change it, you know the coaching staff wasn’t impressed, we as players weren’t impressed.  It’s a win, five in a row, we take pride in that.”

A topic I speak of all the time; is too often in sports all the emphasis is on talent and not enough on team building. One thing I say is what a well coached hockey team the Lightning is.  This was a game I saw discipline and hard work but most importantly a true team fortitude.  The players and coaching staff both were on the same page about breaking this down.   The role players are just as important as the stars.  This is why we are seeing Tyrell, Bergenheim, Moore, Purcell, Ritola among others being noticed on the ice.  They are getting noticed through hustle and playing as a team.

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