Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Lightning Fail Miserably in Carolina
The Tampa Bay Lightning… played in a scheduled National Hockey League game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. And that’s about all I have to say about that. Here are tonight’s thumbs:
Thumbs Down: The Ice Quality
The puck was bouncing around like a basketball from start to finish in this one, which made it particularly difficult for either team to generate much in terms of clean offence. The Hurricanes certainly upped their game as things moved along, but this contest won’t go down in the history books as being anything close to a Mona Lisa.
With the ice conditions being so bad, and Carolina doing a phenomenal job of shutting things down in the neutral zone throughout, the entertainment value in this game really suffered. Here’s hoping the rest of the series between these two teams brings more to the table.
Thumbs Up: This Exchange
If the bad ice did have a redeeming quality, it was the way it allowed this exchange to blossom:
Thumbs Down: The Lack of Quality Chances
There’s a fairly significant disconnect between the underlying numbers and what I thought I was seeing, especially as it pertains to quality chances. As was noted on the broadcast, the Lightning simply looked like most of their shots were being taken from low-percentage areas of the ice. Nothing about the way they played this game made them look overly dangerous. The numbers suggest that the high-quality chance battle was far closer.
Thumbs Down: Sitting Cal Foote
I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again: We know what Luke Schenn is and isn’t at this point in his NHL career. Let’s get an extended look at Cal Foote, with meaningful minutes attached to it, to see what the team has in him.
Thumbs Down: Stanley Cup Hangover?
One of the interesting things to note about the Lightning, to this point in the season, is that they are a very middle-of-the-pack team in both five-on-five shot attempt and expected goal share per Natural Stat Trick. Don’t get me wrong – they have looked very good and dominant at times this season; however, they’ve been far from their best on too many occasions. It’s worth wondering whether there’s a Stanley Cup hangover kicking in, or if they just aren’t too fussed about regular season hockey.
Thumbs Up: Games in Hand
A loss like this doesn’t help the Lightning’s position in the standings; thank goodness for games in hand.
There’s really not much to say after a game like this. It was bad in just about every way possible for Tampa Bay. They’ll get another crack at these same Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
As always, thanks for reading.