Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Three in a row! 20-24-05

The Lightning hold on but still make a 3 goal lead disappear in the third yet again leaving everyone to wonder if the bolts have really kicked the recent trend of melting down in the third.

Holmqvists shut out streak was ended in the 2nd period thanks to the powerplay of the Oliers not stopping and being rewarded with just two seconds remaining on the man advantage. The first period was mostly played in the neutral zone with neither team able to hold much offensive pressure and no real threat of scoring but Johan picked up where he left off on Saturday by keeping things simple in staying square with the shooter and not leaving any rebounds in front of him and keeping the shutout streak alive at least for the first period but it didn't take too long in the second to snap it. He hasn't been anything but solid and rarely amazing even in the three game win streak but rather than a getting back to basics and doing the little things correct and our young defensive core not leaving him out to dry unless you examen the third period because they abandoned everything they were doing correctly to keep the puck out of the net.

This game was not won by strong play in net or the kids on defensive playing an error free game but it was because the strong play of our most valuable player, Martin St.Louis. The guy is nothing but heart and you can see it with every shift and double shift he takes making his line mates the superstars of the league and our third and forth line a scoring threat when they have no buisness being one. Twenty five NHL career short handed goals, getting 5 minutes on the third and forth line assisting & setting up their scoring chances, When his time is with Lecevilar he streaks, when his time is with Richards he streaks and when its split everyone seems to feed off of Marty. The chemistry is obliviously the strongest with Vinny producing some of the most draw dropping passes and goals together there isn't a more entertaining line in all of the NHL & ever since the year of the cup the rest of the league is taking notice.

The third period the Lightning fell victim to abandoning the attack first, fore-check hard game they had been playing to reverted back to sloppy play and making botched passes in their own defensive zone letting the Oilers pull with-in one score with two minutes left of play and when they scored with Roloson on the bench making it 3 to 4 I grabbed my pillow in disbelief and my stomach was turning waiting for the final minute to tick away because this season has made me a believer that anything can happen and will happen because off the top of my head I can remember 9 times in recent months the Bolts have been leading starting the 3rd period & collapsing to send the game into overtime or even losing in regulation and five times this had happened we had a two goal lead that didn't hold up but the last minute was played well and the Bolts didn't even let a final shot on goal even though the Oilers had six skaters on Tampa kept the puck at center ice with 2 or 3 attempts for the emptynetter and missed though they made sure not to ice the puck while shooting at the empty net.

Marty should finish his career here as a bolt this year he is making 5million and his contract reaches two more years at 4million for each year and I see us being able to extend the deal for 5 more years around for a total of 25million unless he reaches free agency and then I could see trouble coming along with teams bidding for his services and out bidding making Tampa have to match or risk him leaving and yes, I know I am ahead of myself because who knows what the cap will be in two years and the biggest factor if he will still be able to produce at a high level in his upper 30's because of him being 5'8 and 180pounds. He has stayed out of injury trouble thanks to his speed and has great awareness on the ice at avoiding big hits too but he does take his fair share of hits lets just hope his legs stay fast enough to stay ahead of the bigger guys looking to land hits and everything in the future works out in his & Tampa's favor because sometimes overshadowed Tampa would not have had the previous success they had without him and I am certain any future accomplishments achieved will have been revolved around St. Louis

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