I’ve had season tickets to the Lightning for 5 years now. I can’t recall ever going to a preseason game. I might have been to a few and they were just so nondescript that I don’t have any recollection of it. Friday night though, in our first and only preseason home game, the Lightning and Thrashers put on quite a show.
3 seconds into the game, literally, Zenon Konopka and Josh Gratton dropped the gloves. Zenon is hard worker for the Lightning and has shown he is willing to fight to protect players, but he got his ass kicked in this fight. He left the ice with a bloody nose but came back, this is hockey. What followed was a real aggressive, hard hitting first period. In the first minute alone, there were 22 minutes of penalties handed out. Period 2, 12 mins of penalties handed out.
In period 3, Konopka and Josh Gratton went at it again, this time it was even worse for Zenon. I give him a lot of credit though, he fell down to the ice after getting drilled and could have easily just stayed there, he got back up and continued to get beat. The writers rewarded him at the end of the game with a 2nd star.
As far as the actual hockey was concerned, the Lightning looked real good. For starters, line 2 (Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Marty St Louis) are going to put up a lot of point this season. They have a real fluid nature to the way that they all play together. 80 plus points for Marty and Stammer and 45 or so for Malone, chalk that one up. Vinny Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay play real nicely together as well, and spend a lot of time talking things out when there is a break in play or they are off the ice. The big question mark is going to be who plays on that first line with them. I’m still rooting for Steve Downie who didn’t play on Friday not.
The defenseman that played also looked real good. Kurtis Foster, as mentioned by one of our readers has quite the slapshot. Mattias Ohlund and Lucas Krajicek paired up real nicely as well defensively. Victor Hedman looked a little lost at times, but boy can the guy skate. He is a giant on the ice, and his skating is top tier. He should be a good player for the Lightning for a long time.
It’s only the preseason, but apparently, good hockey still exists.