Coming off of a 4 game win streak, and a streak that saw the Bolts get points in 9 out of 11 games, the Bolts have proceeded to lose 2 straight games.
Thursday’s nights game vs the Boston Bruins was a real doozy. The Bolts came out very flat, went down 4 to 0 in the first period. Antero Niittymaki was then pulled for Mike Smith who hadn’t played in 14 games. Smith let in another goal to put the count at 5 to 0. At that point me and my brother left the Forum. I rarely leave games early, but at 5 to 0 and looking flat as can be, we saw no chance of a come back.
We were quite wrong. Martin St. Louis scored 2 goals in the 2nd period to make the score 5 to 2. In the third period, Steve Downie scored two goals to bring the score to 5 to 4. With just over a minute to play, the Bolts pulled Mike Smith, who played quite well (stopping 11 of 12). We put a few chances on Tuuka Rask (who had an amazing first and early second periods) but couldn’t put a goal in.
I was impressed by the way the Bolts came back in a game that they could have easily given up on. My problem with our team right now is that we continue to have too many stretched of inconsistency within the same games. We’ll have great periods and then awful ones. To be a truly elite team, we need to play the way we’re capable of playing for 3 periods a game.
In the 2nd to last game before the Olympic break, the bolts traveled to Long Island to face the Islanders. Coming off of a bad loss to a beatable Bruins team, I thought I would see the Bolts come out and slaughter the Isle. Nope.
The Isle took an early first period lead with a goal from Blake Comeau only to see the the Lightning get goals from Steven Stamkos and Mike “HelmetHead” Lundin to take a 2 to 1 lead into the 2nd period.
The Isle evened it up a few minutes into the 2nd with a quick goal by 400 year old Doug Weight to even the score. Lightning newcomer Nate Thompson put in a goal against his former team to give us the lead back in the 2nd period. The Isle then proceeded to get goals from young stud Kyle Okposo and then a goal by Richard Park to take a 4-3 lead.
Steve Downie scored early in the third to tie the game. Near the end of the third though, the Isle got a goal by Richard Park that Niitty originally made a miraculous save on, but no defenseman cleared the puck out, and Park buried the rebound. The goal was initially called a no goal, but after being reviewed, it was clearly a goal and the Isle took a 5-4 lead. Just like on Thursday, the Lightning got some great chances to score with the goalie pulled, but couldn’t put any between the pipes.
The two game losing streak left us sitting in 9th place, with 63 points, 4 points behind Philly for the 6th spot and one game behind Montreal for the 8th spot. If the Bolts win today vs the Rangers we will move into the 8th spot, as no teams in front of us play in the last game before the Olympic break. This is a big game to set a tone for once the team comes back from the break. There are only 22 games left after today, and they are all so important in the tight Eastern Conference.