Shannon and Lightning put on good Pre-season Show

By on September 23, 2011

Tampa, Fla. – The Lightning was welcomed home to a generous pre-season crowd who seemed eager to see the new look Lightning with their brand new unis.

One thing came to my mind as I watched tonight, was how effortless the offensive flow of the Lightning was.  One might expect that from the players who have played together last year but what impressed me the most was the how well the newcomers blended in this system.  Ryan Shannon and Matt Gilroy looked like they had been playing with this team for at least a season.  First round picks Brett Connolly and Carter Ashton played well.  Ashton scored and Connolly notched an assist.  Training camp invitee Cory Conacher  (Canisius College Buffalo, NY) was exciting to watch.  

The Lightning would get things going at 6:13 of the first when  Marty St. Louis burst in on Panthers goal-keeper Jacob Markstrom.  St. Louis was pulled down from behind by Florida center Steve Reinprecht giving Tampa an early power play.   On the second shift of the power play  Mattias Ritola grabbed a loose puck and patiently back-handed it past Markstrom.   2010 first round draft pick Brett Connolly fed the puck in front in an attempt to get it to Pavel Kubina on the doorstep.  Kubina was able to deflect the puck in on Markstrom allowing Ritola to pick it up, reposition it on his tape and back-hand it home.

I’m not sure if Guy Boucher was looking for penalty kill work in this pre-season game but he got it. Brett Clark was called for interference. Then back to back to back penalties to Blair Jones (high sticking, which nullified a goal) and two on #2, Eric Brewer (interference twice) gave the Lightning a decent pre-season penalty kill session.  A too many men on the ice at 19:27 would cap off five minor Florida penalties in the first twenty minutes which the Bolts killed off with ease giving up a total of only seven shots for the whole first period.  You can never get enough special teams work in the pre-season.

The Lightning opened the scoring in the second when Ryan Shannon (from Pavel Kubina  and Marc-Andre Bergeron) knocked one home, a power play goal at 6:31.  Just less than ten hours before I mentioned on the Rocket Sports & Entertainment Show to keep your eyes open for #22 Ryan Shannon.  Thanks Ryan, right on queue.

At 12:55 it’s almost like Shannon said, I’m not done Rocket Sports when he scored his second of the contest an even strength talley from Steven Stamkos and Brett Clark.  Clark made a hustle play and put the puck in deep from the blue line.  After playing the puck to the corner, Clark headed to the bench for a change.  Just as he arrived at the boards the horn sounded.  Clark turned around to see his teammates celebrating.  On the play, Stamkos was able to get the puck in front where Shannon wristed it home.  3-0 Bolts.

Dwayne Roloson looked steady in goal for the Lightning stopping all 16 shots he faced through the first forty minutes.  For the most part, most of the shots were routine stops with maybe two or three shots that challenged.  

Twenty three seconds into the third, 2009 1st round draft pick Carter Ashton would give the Bolts a 4-0 lead with Eric Brewer picking up the only helper.

The Panthers would score their only two goals of the night back to back. Less than four minutes later after the Ashton goal, with Mattias Ritola in the sin-bin,  the gang from South Florida would get their first  as Jack Skille beat Roloson at 4:20 from Colby Robak.  Later in the period right winger Michal Repik would cut the Tampa lead to two goals, at 4-2.

The final goal of the night belong to the Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier as he roofed a loose puck over Markstrom from Teddy Purcell and Victor Hedman.   Lightning win 5-2 with Ryan Shannon picking up the first star.

The Lightning will follow the Panthers to South Florida to complete this home and home pre-season series tomorrow night at 7:30pm.

Follow the Lightning this year on Rocket Sports & Entertainment Network Tuesdays and Friday 11am on the Tan Talk Radio Network.

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