The Bolts lost last night to the Philadelphia Flyers 7-2 in a game that I would have considered a must win for the Bolts. Only 2 of our remaining 20 games are against Western Conference opponents, and out of those 18 games, 9 are against teams that we are fighting for playoff spots against, and that doesn’t count last nights ass kicking. With 9 teams within 12 points of each other (from 6th to 14th in the East) every game is a must win, but those games against teams that are we are fighting with are even more important.
“I don’t think the score is an indication of the way the game went,” Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. “Undisciplined in terms of taking penalties. A couple I thought were borderline, but that’s the way the game is. Sometimes they go against you.”
The game was a good tilt until the refs decided in the third period that they would dictate the outcome of the game. A goalie interference call against Vincent Lecavalier at the 6:16 mark of the third period was the call that really irked the fans, and started the final onslaught for the Flyers. Vinny was cross checked into the goalie, and instead of making the right call against the Flyers, the refs tagged Vinny with a minor. The Flyers then proceeded to score 3 goals in the next 8 minutes.
Antero Niittymaki was pulled after the 6th goal, leading the way for Mike Smith who proceeded to allow a great shorthanded goal by Jeff Carter. I would think that we will probably see Mike Smith for the remaining 20 games of the season. We rode out Niitty’s hot streak, but its clearly over, as he has been the starter for all four straight losses the Lightning have suffered. The Bolts need to get an idea of what we have for the future in Mike Smith. We’re still not really sure if he is our goaltender of the future and with Niitty’s hot streak over, it’s time to find out.
I have three positives from last night. One, Stammer’s is a beast, two, Steve Downie is a joy to watch. Stammer’s had 8 shots and 2 goals to bring his season total to 37. Our preseason prediction of 40 is going to be easily attained by Stammers. Steve Downie has points in 8 straight games, and provided Stammers with a gorgeous pass on his 2nd goal. Downie plays his ass off, is becoming more and more effective offensively and leads the team in +/-. Finally, it’s about time Tocchet put Ryan Malone on Vinny’s line. The team needs two stable lines, and with Bugs, Vinny and Halp on one line, and Downie, Marty and Stammers on the 2nd, we now have two potent lines.