On this day of love and chalky candy hearts, I have been wondering whether or not there is a Power Play Arrow in Cupid’s quiver that can be shot at the Tampa Bay Lightning. Apparently there has been a lot of love lost between our Bolts and their power play of late.
Earlier in the season I described how the power play was another injury the Lightning were dealing with. For a short period there seemed to be a bit of improvement, but that lasted about as long as a heart-shaped box of chocolates. And now it appears as if the power play has been placed on the injured reserve for an indefinite period of time.
Currently the Lightning are on quite the slump, only capitalizing on six of their last 73 power play opportunities (that’s an 8.5% rate). Altogether for the season the Bolts have now dropped down to the 29th spot in the league with a 13.5% rating, scoring only 24 power play goals on 178 opportunities.
Being unable to convert on the power play has greatly hindered this team’s ability to win close games. For example, in a period of 11 seconds Steve Downie gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. Unfortunately the Pens came back with four unanswered goals to win the game. During the 60 minutes of regulation time the Bolts had two power play chances and failed to convert on either of them. Instead of scoring and gaining momentum, the Bolts for the most part floundered around just trying to get into the zone. If we had had a productive power play, we might have gained some momentum and won or at least brought it to OT.
In the team’s current state (i.e. inconsistent goal-tending and defensive play), the power play is needed more than ever, especially if we are all hoping they make a miraculous playoff run. Unless the power play can right itself, I do not foresee a chance for Spring time hockey coming to Tampa Bay this year.
Take care and take it easy,
- Jim Courteau