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TropicalFruitGirl26

2015-16 Tampa Bay Lightning - Electric Blue

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tampa_bay_lightning_wallpaper_by_flyer48

 

 

I will keep a running commentary thread on the Bolts season as they begin their quest to finish what they started last season.

 

Included in this thread will be general commentary on the team, its players, and some game specific breakdowns.

Everyone else, is of course, welcome to comment on the team, add their own perspectives (fans outside the fanbase are very welcome too...always nice to see how we look like from the other side), and talk about the team's successes, failures, triumphs and hardships as the season wears on.

 

I will start out by stating the Bolts do have a chance to get the season off with a fast start in their first six games.

In that opening stretch, they see the Sabres twice (1 road, 1 home), the Flyers and Stars once each at home, and the Bruins and Red Wings on the road.

 

Not gonna say its going to be easy, but I feel, for a Cup contender, a 4-2 start should be attainable here at the very least.

 

Bolts may be starting the season without Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette, who were both day-to-day at last check during the pre-season with undisclosed issues, but will definitely be without backup Andrei Vasilevskiy who had surgery and isn't expected back for about a month or so.

 

Still though, the team has enough talent to overcome even those important players and it starts on Thurs night, at home, against the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

I'd be lying if I said the whole banner raising celebration thing didn't worry me a bit with regards to player focus, but that's where Captain Steve Stamkos and the vets on the team have to step in and make sure the team is ready to go tooth n nail with a very hungry Philadelphia Flyers club who will be looking to ruin the festivities of Opening Night at Amalie.

 

Let's go Bolts.

Lots of work to do and a Finals to return to as your divisional and conference rivals plot to make sure you don't make it!

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Love this team, hoping that the Stamkos saga gets settled soon and quiets down, the only two things that I see hurting this team this year are:

Stamkos, will he or wont he bolt? (no pun intended with the bolt thing)

The long playoff run of last year might cause a bit of a hangover effect.

As to the later, the team is young, a long playoff run is more likely to effect a older club than Tampa.

As to Stamkos, just get him signed already and shut Toronto up.

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Love this team, hoping that the Stamkos saga gets settled soon and quiets down, the only two things that I see hurting this team this year are:

Stamkos, will he or wont he bolt? (no pun intended with the bolt thing)

The long playoff run of last year might cause a bit of a hangover effect.

As to the later, the team is young, a long playoff run is more likely to effect a older club than Tampa.

As to Stamkos, just get him signed already and shut Toronto up.

 

Obviously both very legit concerns, though personally, I think the Stamkos issue is a bigger deal.

Yea, I know deep Stanley Cup runs can affect ANY team (hence why its hard to repeat), but like you said, its a bit easier to overcome that with a young team as opposed to a vet team with lots more career wear n tear on their bodies.

 

Also, with regards to the 'hangover', certain players like Jonathan Drouin who was barely used in the playoffs, will see increased ice time and responsibility playing alongside Stamkos on the top line.

Drouin had been pining for the spotlight and he's gonna get it.

Other young players who saw limited time last season who could take on bigger roles this year would be Vlad Namestnikov on the forward lines, with possibly callups to Jonathan Marchessault and/or Adam Erne from the minors.

 

On defense, Slater Koekkoek and Nikita Nesterov can possibly take on larger roles as well if vets such as Braydon Coburn, Jason Garrison, or Matt Carle get injured or falter.

 

So really, all comes down to focus...and getting something done with Stamkos.

 

As much as it would break my heart, if Steve Y and Stamkos' camp really look like they are getting nowhere, I prefer they trade him SOONER than later so they can get the max return for him.

 

I still say though, if you can find a trade partner to take Matt Carle (even taking a loss on that trade) and Valteri Filppula (taking a bit of a loss on this too), you instantly free up $10.5M worth of cap hit that can go towards signing Stammer.

 

Other factors at play there too, I know, but its a start.

Don't care much for Carle, I DO like Filppula, but I'd ship both out in a heartbeat if it meant we could keep Stammer longterm.

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Thursday, Oct 8, 2015

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay

Final:  Lightning 3, Flyers 2 (OT)

 

And the season is underway!

 

Right off, I gotta say, I was glad the Bolts were able to sidestep the "not being prepared" part after raising their Eastern Conference banner. Big worry for me as this game was about to start.

I knew the Flyers were  hungry, ready, and chompin at the bit to start their season with a win on the road.

Good to see the Bolts match their intensity and, Ben Bishop in particular, look pretty sharp.

 

Jonathan Drouin looked pretty good on the top line with Stamkos and Callahan, the Triplets line were, well, they were the Triplets line, always a threat.

And TB's bottom six looked locked and engaged.

 

On defense, Bolts looked about as on-point as one could expect.

Philadelphia's forwards did put lots of pressure on them throughout the game, at one point scoring two consecutive, even strength and PP.

Bolts didn't fold though.

 

Jason Garrison got the scoring started for TB in the first and he ended it in OT, in the history making first 3 on 3 played in the regular season in the NHL under the new rules.

Lightning generated shots and clicked once on the PP...can't ask for more than that.

 

I am fully expecting the Bolts' PP to be better this season.

They started strong last year, then became mediocre as the season wore on. Absolutely NO reason why this team, with this kind of offensive talent, should ice a mediocre PP.

Perhaps with skilled Jonathan Drouin getting more ice time and more responsibility, he can help elevate the PP when teams think they have guys like Stamkos, Johnson, and Kucherov covered.....Drouin can sneak in there and tally some points.

 

Next stop for TB........Buffalo, NY where they face down the new look Sabres who of course, have number 2 overall pick Jack Eichel in their ranks now.

Good measuring stick for the Sabres facing down the Eastern Champs...but at the same time, I expect the Bolts to treat Buffalo like just another team in their way to their return to the Finals.

 

Nevermind where Buffalo finished last season, nevermind where Buffalo fans think their team is going this year.....TB needs to come out like the Sabres stole something from them and play the game accordingly.

 

Saturday afternoon tilt.

Go Bolts!

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I thought the Lightning look very sloppy most of the night and were pretty much outplayed for a big ol' chunk of it. 

 

The power play that lead to Philly's (then) go-ahead goal was a dive. Like, SUPER dive.

 

The second penalty shot award was total garbage. 

 

That second Garrison goal was sick. 

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lot's of speed and skill throughout the line up for TBL. 

Must be nice to roll 2 #1 lines, skill wise. 

Drouin looks ready and hungry, he looks bigger since i last saw him in junior and but he's still shifty quick and has sick hands.  That line with JD Callahan and Stamkos should be super fun to watch. 

 

i thought our guys played pretty well. Well enough to get a point, and that is a step in the right direction because that building has been a house of horrors for my team.   the game could have gone to either team.   the result was just.

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I thought the Lightning look very sloppy most of the night and were pretty much outplayed for a big ol' chunk of it. 

 

The power play that lead to Philly's (then) go-ahead goal was a dive. Like, SUPER dive.

 

The second penalty shot award was total garbage. 

 

That second Garrison goal was sick. 

 

Hey, @mishey , welcome back!

 

Slight disagreement here.

Considering how much worse things could have been following ceremonial hoopla (just look at all the home teams who lost their openers on Wed, INCLUDING the Cup winning Blackhawks and some on Thurs), I think the Bolts did well managing the emotions with on-ice play.

 

Could the Bolts have played better in portions of the game?

Absolutely!

But also, you simply HAVE to give credit to the Flyers who just looked like they were ready to go.

 

TB's talent and drive ultimately shone on through, but any big missteps (I'd like to think there were small missteps in yesterday's game, but nothing major) and the Flyers easily take this game.

But that wasn't the case as the Bolts did show poise even when they weren't at their absolute best.

 

Philly played a hell of  good positional game....i was commenting yesterday how it seemed whenever the Bolts looked to make a play, there  was always a Flyers player in the way.

I would call that more Philly stepping up than the Bolts playing sloppy.

 

But again, at the end of the night, when all is said n done, the Bolts pulled out the win, Bishop came up large when he absolutely needed to, and if the Bolts pull out a win against a fired up Philly bunch while NOT being at their peak, then the league best look out when they ARE at their peak, no?  ;)

 

Did the Flyers outplay the Lightning? In stretches, sure.

But then, I also saw Philly struggling a bit too when the Bolts got their wheels and precision passing going.

So I think its a wash there.

 

Flyers just played a good game and gave the Bolts all they could handle....yet the Bolts didn't wilt or fold, didn't let the distractions of the pre-game stuff get in the way, and got the win, bottom line.

 

In a way, I think its good the Bolts go on the road immediately after a game like this.

They can then really work on focus, getting back to basics as a team and will face a nice mix of team styles when they see the Sabres, Bruins and Red Wings...all of whom will approach the game differently.

 

It'll be good for the Bolts.

Then they can return home, more focused than ever, and then really take advantage of home cooking!

 

Nice to see ya posting again...stick around, its gonna be an awesome season!  :D

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I actually posted a couple days ago. Before that, I was moving. Yay, moving. Haha. 

 

We'll have to agree to disagree, then.. because they looked super sloppy a good chunk of the night. Lots of passing to no one and not being in position to pick up pucks. I'm not going to give them a pass just because it was the home opener and the unveiled a new banner. The Flyers are not supposed to be a very good team this season and they should look bad compared to the Lightning, and in more than just some stretches of play.  Yes, there was a few times that they were robbed by Mason (or the post) but I still think play was pretty sloppy. 

 

 

Which I think is actually to be expected in the first game of the season. 

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@mishey

 

Very well, fair enough, we will agree to disagree then.  ;)

 

All I know is, I was dreading this opening game a bit, knowing the distractions (a very real thing, as said by many former players) and the fact the Flyers are a retooled bunch and should be better than they were last year.

And the Bolts getting the win made me feel LOTS better!!

 

We will see how the Bolts do against the equally retooled Buffalo Sabres.

See if they will live up to your obviously very tough standards....  :D

 

Jack Eichel, Jonathan Drouin, Steve Stamkos, Evander Kane, Tyler Johnson, Zemgus Girgensons, Victor Hedman, Rasmus Ristolainen, Ondrej Palat, Ryan O'Reilly, Nikita Kucherov, and Sam Reinhart all on the ice playing against one another?

 

Yes ma'am, sign me up.

Should be fun!

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Sat, Oct 10, 2015

Tampa Bay @ Buffalo

Final: Lightning 4, Sabres 1

 

Bolts at Sabres, worst team in the East last season....easy game!

I kid, I kid...

 

Buffalo is vastly improved on paper, and judging by their play in this game, on the ice as well.

Even outplayed the Lightning for stretches during the game.

 

Still though, how comforting is it when you know you have a talented and hungry group like TB, they DON'T play their best overall game start to finish, yet still manage to beat the opposition by 3 goals?

Pretty damned comforting!

 

Goals by Erik Condra and JT Brown (considered bonus goals on most nights) were joined by goals from the usual suspects in Steve Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, to make the Bolts lead stick for the entire game en route to the win.

 

Chad Johnson did a pretty good job on Buffalo's end, keeping his team in the game. I wonder if he continues to play as solidly, if the Sabres won't rethink who will be their starting goalie even when Robin Lehner is able to return.

 

@mishey

In THIS game I did notice a bit more sloppy play than I did in the opener against the Flyers, so THAT definitely has to be corrected when the Bolts play back to back games in Boston and Detroit on Monday and Tuesday.

 

Even though the Bruins have been a team trending down, they still have some proud veteran players and some good young players (and have had the Bolts' number for the most part in recent seasons), so they can't be taken lightly.........and Detroit, well, the Wings could be a contender for the top three in the division, also with a good makeup on the team........plus the Bolts will be seeing them after playing the Bruins the day before.

 

Back to backs also mean the Bolts will likely use backup Kevin Poulin in one of the games........lord help us......lol.

Guess it will come down to which game TB would prefer Bishop in: Boston or Detroit.....or maybe Jon Cooper says, "heck it's early in the season, Bishop is full of energy, he can play both"

 

At any rate, good game played by the Sabres, but the Bolts are simply the better team.....and looking forward to the continuation of the road trip.

 

Bruins in our sights.........

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@TropicalFruitGirl26

 

I watched most of this game. The Sabres played much better than they did in their first game. Flashes of dominance, but only lasted not even half of the game. More than I can say for last year, which was just painful. But flashes of dominance are not enough to be a team like the Bolts on most nights. Eventually, like they did in this game, the Bolts will take over the game for a stretch, and kill hopes. That Buffalo could stay with them as long as they did shows how much better than they were last year. They have definitely improved their team, and it's not just Eichel, tho he helps.

 

Looking forward to our meeting on Tuesday. We will be well rested, so it should be a fine test for our young players facing a very good team that plays a similar game, with us having a bit of a fatigue advantage. Should be fun.

 

It'll be interesting to see who Blashill names as the starting goaltender. I won't be surprised to see Mrazek in net for us because of how well he performed against the Bolts in the SCPs last season.

 

Now, if we can just keep Tyler Johnson in check for a whole game... :)

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@SpikeDDS

 

Yea, the Bolts through their first three games, including today's against Boston, have not really played a full 60 minutes and are still holding a 3-0 record to start out.

I'd say that is a good indication of guys picking up other guys during games and the pure talent level. I can't wait to see what this team is capable of once everyone on the roster is rowing in the same direction.

 

As for the Bolts meeting the Wings on Tuesday, I was thinking Mrazek may very well get the start. He was pretty impressive against the potent Bolts offense in the post season, and seeing as how the team has returned virtually the same (sans more experience), I'd say Mrazek getting the nod would be the way to go for Detroit.

 

Also true on Tyler Johnson, but just beware that right now, there are others starting off pretty hot.....and Tyler Johnson isn't really one of them at this time.

Jonathan Drouin, Anton Stralman, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, and Brian Boyle....yes, I know, not exactly the names one thinks of right away (Stamkos, Johnson, Kucherov, Hedman are more the ones that usually lead the charge), but those are the ones who have been the Bolts' best players so far.

 

Bishop has been a mixed bag so far, good against Philly, ok against Buffalo, not so good against the Bruins today (though his offense bailed him out, along with some settling down of the defense late).....not sure yet if the Wings see Big Ben, or they get Kevin Poulin (yikes...lol).

 

I suppose even if the Bolts drop the game to the Wings, I can't complain about a 3-1 record to start...but still, it IS the Red Wings, they ARE a divisional rival (and one expected to contend for the playoffs), and I am sure Steve Yzerman ALWAYS looks forward to his team playing against, and winning, against his former club.

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Monday, Oct 12, 2015

Tampa Bay @ Boston

Final: Lightning 6, Bruins 3

 

Not the Bolts best effort (in fact, I would say, of the 3 games played, this one may have been the sloppiest...especially to start), but the bottom line is, the team settled in midway through the game, locked things down late, and had the offense going to dash any hopes of the Bruins coming back to win this.

 

Bolts were burnt by the Bruin PP, which accounted for all their goals, but Tampa Bay's own PP came through, while their 5 on 5 play down the stretch easily overmatched Boston's.

 

Ben Bishop looked extra shaky in this one, as did his defense early on, but after settling in, not only did he perform better, but was out there drawing penalties on overzealous Bruins players that tried pushing through him.

 

David Krejci starred for the Bruins on the PP and even strengthe, but it simply was not enough to stop a Bolts offense that saw 5 different guys put a goal in and TWELVE overall Lightning players register points.

Talk about multi-pronged attack!

 

TB now moves on to Detroit where they will face the Wings on a 2nd of a back to back for the Lightning.....and on top of that, the Red Wings will likely be the toughest (as in most likely to contend) opponent they have seen to this point in the young season.

 

Philly came out fired up, but they are still in transition on some positions, didn't make the post season last year, and may not make it this year.

Buffalo, obviously, was terrible last year. Much improved this season, but still a major work in progress.

Boston...a team that has been trending downward for a couple seasons now....they have lots of youth mixed in with some past their prime vets...Boston is still sorting out what type of team they are...rebuilders, retoolers, contenders....even they aren't sure yet.

 

That leaves Detroit as the most dangerous of the teams on the early schedule so far.

A team that has talented young players like the Bolts, made the playoffs last year, look to do so again, and still have enough solid vets that know how to win games.

 

Will fatigue be an issue for the Bolts in Detroit?

Tough to say.

Still early in the season, so TB shouldn't be overly taxed.....youth has lots of energy, and the Bolts players are all mostly under 30...and TB has some guys that have been healthy scratches that can see time to give a bit of a rest to others if it came down to that.

 

I won't be using fatigue as an excuse for this game.

Bolts should be up n ready for Detroit in their home arena....anything less that 100% against the Wings will be unacceptable.

Oh and hey, I mentioned the Lightning have yet to play a full 60 minutes despite being unbeaten..........well, against Detroit, playing 60 would be a GOOD idea....

 

Go Bolts!

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@TropicalFruitGirl26

The Bolts will have their hands full trying to contain Larkin. Dude's got wheels and thinks as fast as he skates. He's made a few of those quick-before-the-D-can-think dishes that just shows he's gonna be something special.

My biggest concern is what you've already alluded to: TB already seems to have ALL of their lines going, at least to some degree. The Wings' offense so far has come primarily from Zetterberg, Abdelkader and Larkin, with Pulkinen getting a boost from being on Larkin's line last game. None of our other production lines are really going yet.

At the same time, our D has been pretty solid. We gave up some decent chances last game, but no glorious ones, and we were badly outshot. If I have my way, you will have to contend with Mrazek who stole our last game. Without him we didn't have a prayer of winning that game. He might be looking to post a donut. I wouldn't put it past him, although it's a pretty tall order with the team the Bolts have.

I'm calling it 4-2 Wings.

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They had another slow, sloppy start today. They adjusted well and managed to pull out the win in Boston. FINALLY. 

 

 

They can't start like that against the Wings though. 

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Game 4 Recap (Game 3 for the Red Wings)

Red Wings 3 - Bolts 1

First half of the game was tentative by both teams. Second period the Wings cracked the seal on a PP goal, and the intensity of the game crescendoed through the 3rd.

Thought the game hinged on missed a couple of missed Golden opportunities, one where the Detroit D bailed out Howard, and one where TB just missed.

Howard played solid in net.

Nyquist finally had a good game. He skated well and had several opportunities. Sweet, perfectly placed top-corner shot on his PP goal, his first goal of the season.

Not Hedman's best game.

Larkin, once again, was a factor, with another nifty feed to Z in the slot for the first goal. Just missed on a breakaway in the 3rd that would have iced it. Juuust wide.

Stamkos--I've never seen him pass on one-timer opportunities as much as he did in this game. The dude is a scorer. He's supposed to shoot the puck. When he finally did, he beat Howard, but got iron. What's with the passing? If I was a teammate, I'd be saying, "Dude, shoot the puck!"

No question that Henrik Zetterberg is a rejuvenated man with Larkin on his line this season. Maybe it's just getting beyond his back injury, but I think it's more than that. I'm not sure who is making whom better more, Larkin or Z, but it's both ways for sure.

I was pretty pleased, once again, with Detroit's D. They were very good about clearing out pucks from the crease area and not giving too many second chances from inside.

Our PK is starting off this year like they did last year, too. Jeff Blashill referred to Drew Miller as an "elite penalty killer," and I think he may be right. In that role, he is making block after block, and winning pucks that others would not. He and Glendening are really leading that unit well.

A slower start to this one, but an exciting game that was close for most of it. And I didn't miss Doc Emrick calling the game at all. ;-)

And I think the better team this night won the game.

Edited by SpikeDDS

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@TropicalFruitGirl26

 

My two cents after watching your Bolts last night.....

 

Stamkos looks over his poor postseason from last year. He seems focused and energized. He hit the post in the second period on a shot that he absolutely drilled, if it went in it was a game changer.

 

 hedman is playing with an edge, using his size and seems to have taken it upon himself to be the biggest baddest player he can be. combine that with his skill and he is a devestating player.

 

 I, for one, am sick to death of hearing the word triplets. It was cute for a little bit last year, now it is just annoying.

 

 Garrison absolutely blew it on the empty netter that quincey scored from 195 feet. He started slow when the puck was fired and it took a bounce and gained speed, if garrison had touched it when it landed within reach it would not have went in. Game over. Very bad game for him, he got turned around several times.

 

 Bishop whined a lot to the ref about Abby in the crease and seemed to have allowed him to get in his head. Very surprising to see him play like that.

  WOW do the Bolts win a lot of faceoffs. The Wings are traditionally a great faceoff team but Tampa owned them in the department last night. Quite impressive.

  Overall it was clear that A) the Bolts were on the road in the second of back to backs and B) the Wings were at home and rested. This is going to be a great rivalry for the foreseeable future, looking forward to it.

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Haha. They actually started out strong and looked good, but special teams cost them. Badly. They faded a bit as the game went on, but that's usually what happens when it's the second of a back to back.

 

I hope they get that under control soon. 

 

@yave1964 Once a line is named it doesn't usually go away until the line does. I know other people that wanted to call it other things, but triplets stuck, so you may as well settle in or try and block it out or something. :/

 

I think TKO would have been a better line name. By FAR

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@SpikeDDS DDS

 

Pretty good recap...not much of an argument from me on that.

 

I will agree with @mishey where I thought the Bolts actually played their best game to this point, yet ironically, came up short....while winning the first three without their best efforts for 60 minutes. Go figure.

 

Not sure I saw the fatigue factor so much. I thought the Bolts had plenty of energy....Wings surged at times of course, but then, every team usually does.

Bolts had their chances, didn't bury them and that in itself could have been just as much the difference in the game as anything.

 

Bishop whining?

I think everyone should know by now: Bishop plays the 'head games on the ice' (see my Bishop vs Prust thread on here in Around the NHL). 

If guys are gonna brush against him, if guys are gonna try to rattle his cage, Big Ben is going to respond by doing everything from "helping" the fall along, to getting in the official's ear, to even taking a wack or two at an opposing player.

 

These are the sorts of things that, admittedly, the opposing team and their fans HATE, but love it when it's their guy pulling it off correctly, as Bishop usually does. (Boston says, "Hello, you got us real good", for example).

Say what you want about Bishop's gamesmanship, but I am sure many fans would like it if their goalie showed a bit more swagger, moxy, and ability to get under the opposition's skin to go along with their job of stopping the puck.

 

@yave1964

 

As for the "Triplets" moniker, ya, well, that sorta stuck.

I'd rather something like that, that evolved naturally as opposed to some forced name like "TKO" (which I know many had been pushing for awhile) that just seems overly contrived in an attempt to sound cool and edgy.

 

During an interview last season with various players it was explained how the Triplets moniker came about:

All three guys, Johnson, Palat, Kucherov, are relatively small, fast, skilled guys, all play very similar, and at the speed at which they move, unless you are looking at the jersey number on the back when all three are doing their thing, sometimes its tough to tell them apart.

It also helped the moniker that the three players are just about inseparable when it comes to the game....if they play, 9 times out of 10, they are playing TOGETHER!

 

More recently, and upon further inspection, one can see how each of the three Triplets brings their own stamp to the game:

Palat does more the dirty work, hitting, taking hits, even a bit of agitation

Kucherov is the streaking sniper of the group

Johnson is the all around playmaker/sniper

 

Triplets it is.

Call it disgustingly cute, call it annoying, call it what you like, but DON'T forget to call them EFFECTIVE.  ;)

 

Detroit was the better team this game (I would have liked to have seen if the Bolts could have pushed this to OT had Garrison executed better with the extra skater), but there are three more matchups to go this season between these two, and since both are, IMO, earmarked for the playoffs, they could meet once again there.

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My takeaways thus far on certain player performances:

 

Stamkos is slowly ramping up his game...and it should round out nicely by about the 15-20 game mark if Jon Cooper keeps Jonathan Drouin as one of his regular wingers.

Like most superstar players, they'd rather just react and execute rather than overthink things, and having a guy regularly that he KNOWS where he will be helps that a long way.

VLC and MSL were big for him in that regard...Drouin can be that for him once again.

 

As for Drouin himself, I already seem massive improvements in his overall game, and he will surely benefit from top line minutes with a top line player like #91.

Drouin is shooting a bit more, finding the open areas a bit better, and even back checking regularly as opposed to just hanging out in the offensive zone.

Gotta like where his game is headed.

 

Victor Hedman:

A bit of a slow start, but still some impressive defensive play so far.

His ability to lead the PP or the offense in general hasn't quite shone through just yet, but it should and will in short order...not too worried about him right now.

 

Bottom six guys:

JT Brown, Brian Boyle, Erik Condra, Vladi Namestnikov......very good showings so far.

We know what we will get out of Boyle...that sneaky, yet hard hitting 3rd or 4th liner that still surprised people with some offense....but nice to see Brown be more involved in the offensive zone, Erik Condra's good checking game (and he is an upgrade for sure over Brendan Morrow last year), and Vladi Namestnikov doing whatever the coaches ask of him (push the offense, check players, make a play for a winger)....and don't be surprised if Namestnikov works his way up and shoehorns his way into the top six somehow.

 

Namestnikov spent a bit of time on the "Triplets" line last season when Johnson was down for a spell, and honestly, while obviously not quite up to Johnson standards, did a pretty decent job as the pivot for Palat and Kucherov....he keeps that up, he may turn the Triplets into the Quadruplets............and drive people even MORE insane who already hate the Triplets moniker!  :lol:

 

Ben Bishop, still a bit shaky, he will get into form...showing flashes of his brilliance, but also areas where you can tell its still early season.

Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison (his last play in Detroit notwithstanding), solid, solid vets doing their thing.

 

Stralman in particular, has been "invisible good"...meaning, you don't hear much about him, maybe not even notice him on the ice...but at the end of the game, when you look at the scoresheet, the guy is on it, and he had been preventing big plays by the other team all along doing the fundamentals right.

 

Looking ahead to Thursday, the Bolts are back home and face the equally strong offense of the Dallas Stars.

Spezza, Benn, and Hemsky off to nice starts for Dallas.....and Klingberg doing the same from the defense...Bolts will need to contain those guys.

 

Fortunately, Dallas is still not the best defensive team, so TB will surely get chances to put up goals of their own....and if Kari Lehtonen plays, and TB does contain the Dallas offense, this game could get ugly in the Lightning's favor.

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A bit of a preview from NHL.com regarding tonight's Stars-Lightning match up.

http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/preview?id=2015020054&cmpid=nhl-twt

 

Some mutual respect being shown via the media from coaches and players on both sides regarding tonight's game, and why not.

Everyone's a professional here, right?

 

Well, that's all fine, but when you get two teams looking straight ahead at the playoffs, two HIGH scoring teams....and top top it off Dallas likes to play with a bit of an edge...you can bet the niceties will stop once that opening puck is dropped.

 

I see where Andrej Sustr will likely be a scratch according to the lineups shown.

Means Nikita Nesterov  gets another game tonight.

I like Nesterov's game...he is like a European, junior version of Jason Garrison. I think he is highly underrated, and at just 22 yrs old, has yet to show what he can ultimately be as an NHL'er.

 

Other changes to the Bolts lineup include Cedric Paquette making his regular season debut after missing time with injury.

He replaces Vladi Namestnikov (shame, I like Namestnikov as well)......and what better opponent to play the edgy Paquette than against the equally edgy Stars.

 

Hmm...why do I get the feeling he and Antoine Roussel are gonna find each other in this game?

 

Stiff test overall in the form of the Dallas offense for the Lightning.

Let's see how they bounce back after that stinging loss to the Red Wings.

 

Go Bolts!

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Thurs, Oct 15, 2015

Dallas @ Tampa Bay

Final: Stars 5, Lightning 3

 

I expected offense and that's pretty much what we got.

8 goals between the teams, but that doesn't even account for the ones that weren't scored (particularly by TB), that probably SHOULD have been.

 

Bolts got off to a reasonable start, but were quickly met with a team that plays the fast offensive game about as well as they do.

Both sides lay siege at different times to the opposing goaltender, but ultimately, it was the Stars making good on their chances while the Lightning did not.

 

Kari Lehtonen was giving up monster rebounds, yet the Bolts were hard pressed to recover those and put them in the net.

 

As expected, certain Dallas players tried engaging Bolts players in extra curricular activities, but for the most part, the Lightning either matched it, or simply treated it as unimportant.

During the game, two big injuries occurred......one to Bolts' defenseman, Victor Hedman after being crunched into the sideboards by Jamie Benn, and the other to Dallas left wing, Curtis McKenzie, the result of a Nikita Nesterov check into the boards.

 

As of this posting I have no knowledge of the extent of the Hedman injury nor the McKenzie one...but Nesterov may be getting a call from the league office.

 

Steve Stamkos and Jonathan Drouin had good games in a losing effort (Stammer 2 goals, Drouin 2 assists), while guys like Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan and Cedric Paquette (making his season debut) pretty much kept the lid on the game tilting too much towards Dallas in terms of physical play.

 

Chances were there for TB, no doubt, and maybe, if the defense and Ben Bishop were a bit sharper, 3 goals would have been enough to win.

But then again, the Lightning simply can't go around letting 5 goals in.......

 

Two losses in a row with Buffalo next on the schedule.

Last season, the Bolts went the ENTIRE campaign without ever losing more than two games in a row.

 

That is pretty impressive.

Means prolonged losing streaks were no where to be found.

Hopefully, they can use that same formula this year. Shows great resilience from a team to see them do that....and it sure puts the team in a better position to repeat their 50 win season from the previous year.

 

Time to turn the page here and get ready for Buffalo at Amalie Arena, on Saturday.

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Time to turn the page here and get ready for Buffalo at Amalie Arena, on Saturday.

How do you think that game will go? 

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How do you think that game will go? 

 

Hopefully, the Bolts will come out a bit angry after dropping games to playoff hopeful teams like Detroit and Dallas.

 

Sabres gave them a decent game last time out, but the Bolts didn't play up to their full capacity, but still got the win.

I thought the Bolts' overall efforts were better against the Red Wings and Stars, yet they came up with the loss.

 

Yea, yea..Stars put up 5 goals, but the overall compete level was there. Dallas is just a really, REALLY good offensive team....for ANYONE.

 

Sabres, at this stage, shouldn't be capable of 5 goals, but if your the Bolts, you take Buffalo lightly at your own peril.

I think Jon Cooper and company understand that to be a real Stanley Cup champion, you have to treat each team you face like they could be the ones who could beat you and take your spot in the post season.

 

So, I expect Tampa Bay to play that way against the Sabres.

Now...the status of one Victor Hedman is the wild card in all this......as of this posting, I am still not sure if he will play tomorrow or not.

Nikita Nesterov, due to the suspension handed down by the NHL, will not be playing...but his spot can be played by 6'8 Andrej Sustr.

 

If Hedman can't play, I expect Slater Koekkoek to see game time on the blue line.

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Hopefully, the Bolts will come out a bit angry after dropping games to playoff hopeful teams like Detroit and Dallas.

 

Sabres gave them a decent game last time out, but the Bolts didn't play up to their full capacity, but still got the win.

I thought the Bolts' overall efforts were better against the Red Wings and Stars, yet they came up with the loss.

 

Yea, yea..Stars put up 5 goals, but the overall compete level was there. Dallas is just a really, REALLY good offensive team....for ANYONE.

 

Sabres, at this stage, shouldn't be capable of 5 goals, but if your the Bolts, you take Buffalo lightly at your own peril.

I think Jon Cooper and company understand that to be a real Stanley Cup champion, you have to treat each team you face like they could be the ones who could beat you and take your spot in the post season.

 

So, I expect Tampa Bay to play that way against the Sabres.

Now...the status of one Victor Hedman is the wild card in all this......as of this posting, I am still not sure if he will play tomorrow or not.

Nikita Nesterov, due to the suspension handed down by the NHL, will not be playing...but his spot can be played by 6'8 Andrej Sustr.

 

If Hedman can't play, I expect Slater Koekkoek to see game time on the blue line.

I completely agree with that mindset. Taking any team lightly is not smart. That's how upsets happen (of course not in this situation but in the playoffs). 

 

The Sabres have a decent squad but I don't see them beating the Bolts. I really hope Hedman will be able to play.

 

If Hedman can't play, I expect Slater Koekkoek to see game time on the blue line.

Edited by HockeyNoob

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