Tampa Bay clearly didn’t read my preview, and they suffered another letdown as they played down to the Devils and lost tonight, 5-2. Despite scoring the first goal, the Lightning fell into a 4-1 hole by the end of the first period. For the second time, Dwayne Roloson followed up a fantastic shutout performance by allowing four goals in the first frame. Dan Ellis replaced him for the second period.
The Lightning outworked the Devils for the majority of the rest of the game. When Martin St. Louis scored a highlight reel goal in the second period to bring the Bolts within two, it brought a new energy to the team. However, the energy was not enough. A close goal call that would’ve brought Tampa within one went against the Lightning in the third, and soon after Ilya Kovalchuk scored the final goal of the night to seal the victory for the Devils.
Luckily for the Lightning, both the Capitals and Thrashers also lost tonight, so they didn’t lose any ground in the division race. However, if they hope to go on a deep playoff run, the Lightning will have to find a way to avoid these letdown games.
This was the real Lightning highlight of the night, Martin St. Louis’ goal. Few, if any, have better hands than number 26.