Tampa Bay Lightning (0-0-0) at Carolina Hurricanes (0-0-0)
Friday, Oct 7, 2011, 7:00 PM EDT | RBC Center | Raleigh, NC
Game Day Must-Reads
Up-to-Date News and Information Live from Rinkside
1:10 1st: The best chance of the early going came from a red jersey. Brandon Sutter danced around Brett Clark at the bottom of the far circle, and the puck rolled off his stick just before Sutter could backhand it past Dwayne Roloson. With all the attention paid to the chemistry of the new lines, an early goal like that would do a world of good.
5:05 1st: Aside from a few early rushes that the Lightning were able to string together, the play has almost completely favored the Canes. The Lightning have two offsides and an icing, while the Canes have four shots and a near-goal. Still early, but it's a good sign that the Canes came to play tonight.
6:55 1st: Eric Staal owes Cam Ward a steak dinner. Staal got caught in no-man's land and Vinny Lecavalier took full advantage. Lecavalier fired across to Ryan Malone in the near circle, who had no one within a country mile of him and all day to think about it. It was enough time for Cam Ward to get across and stone Malone, in spectacular fashion.
8:07 1st: Canes on the board 1st; Skinner 1 (Gleason, Ruutu) Had to think Jeff Skinner would be even money at worst for the first goal of the season. He drew a penalty on his entry into the zone, but it didn't matter a few seconds later when a Tim Gleason shot from the right point bounced off Roloson and right to Skinner, who backhanded it into the cage to give the Canes their first lead on the season.
12:03 1st: Jussi Jokinen just about had the goal of the year (stop snickering) as he just missed banking a goal off Brett Clark's skate from behind the net and putting the Canes up by two. The deflection went a few feet wide, but it's emblematic of how the Canes are playing right now. The first goal gave them a ton of life, and they're really pinning the Lightning in right now.
17:10 1st: With Bryan Allen in the box for interfering with Martin St. Louis, the Lightning looked to have tied the game, if not for the minor issue of St. Louis steamrolling Ward in the crease and earning a goalie-interference penalty. Rather be lucky than good, I guess, but the Canes have been both at varying points tonight.
End 1st: Heck of a period for the home team, who outshot the Lightning 16-12 and will begin the 2nd on the power play thanks to a rather dumb Steven Stamkos boarding penalty with 1.6 seconds left in the period.
4:02 2nd: Roloson is giving up rebounds left and right tonight. The Canes have already broken through on one rebound attempt, and they nearly had a second as a slowly-developing 2-on-1 between Sutter and Alexei Ponikarovsky ended with Sutter's shot bouncing right back out and Tim Gleason nearly cashed in, flubbing the shot.
5:19 2nd: Lightning tie it at 1; St. Louis 1 (Stamkos) There are going to be times when Justin Faulk reminds everyone that he's a rookie, and one of those times just happened. Faulk cheated to the wrong side of the ice, and Steven Stamkos took full advantage, finding St. Louis at the left post with no one in the same zip code. Eventually he'll learn the positioning he needs to successfully up those plays, but for now it's a reminder that he's still playing in his first NHL game.
10:21 2nd: OK, Jay Harrison is on the point on the power play. Explain that one to me. Anyway, he bumbles the puck and turns it over to Nate Thompson, who is hauled down by Faulk and somehow doesn't get a penalty shot. Faulk, however, will sit for two minutes.
15:15 2nd: Heck of a defensive play by Joni Pitkanen. (Not often you see that, eh?) He was caught behind Steven Stamkos but managed to wrap his stick around Stamkos, hitting the puck first and knocking it off Stamkos' stick while avoiding a penalty. Nice play.
17:50 2nd: Lightning up 1; Lecavalier 1 (Stamkos, St. Louis) (pp) That one's on Jussi Jokinen, thanks to his brain-dead slapping of the puck on a dead play right at referee Greg Kimmerly. Combine that with a Faulk interference penalty and you have the recipe for a Lecavalier 5-on-3 goal, in which he batted the puck out of the air in perfect fashion to put the Lightning on top by a goal.
End 2nd: Shots in the second were 10-8 Lightning, and they take a one-goal lead to the locker room. Ward made a big stop on St. Louis (who else?) with 20 seconds left that gave the Canes some legs late in the period, but they'll need to keep that momentum going to pull this one out in the 3rd.
6:18 3rd: The late Josef Vasicek was the subject of tonight's Forslund Focus, and it was spectacularly done. It earned a long standing ovation from the crowd, and I don't think there was anyone in the building who didn't have goosebumps. Very, very touching moment.
12:22 3rd: Downie 1 (Bergeron, Shannon) (pp); 12:32 3rd: Hall 1 (Thompson, Hedman) Two goals in ten seconds, neither of which was a sterling offensive show by the Lightning. Downie's goal was on a power play to Eric Staal for interfering with Roloson behind the net, a tip of a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot from the point with nine seconds left in the power play. Ten seconds later, off the ensuing faceoff, Adam Hall had an uncontested breakaway from the blue line. Don't ask me how.
16:58 3rd: Now it's 5-1; Malone 1 (Purcell, Brewer) The first line is now a combined -9 tonight after they were on the ice for all three even-strength goals, and it was Staal's penalty that led to the fourth goal on top of that. A one-timer from the bottom of the far circle by Ryan Malone makes it a four-goal game, and the rout is on.