Sunday, December 14, 2008

Power Outage - Bolts Blanked By Sens 2-0

By JC De La Torre

The two worst scoring teams in the NHL got together tonight and the outcome could have easily been predicted as the Ottawa Senators edged the Lightning 2-0. Ottawa didn't get their second goal of the hockey game until Daniel Alfredsson fired into an empty net with 0:45 left in the game, despite having 8 power play chances (they were 1-for-8).

Penalty was the word of the night for Tampa Bay as one after another, members of the Lightning paraded to the sin bin, eventually totaling in 29 total penalty minutes and 8 short handed situations. While on the penalty kill, the Lightning offensive attack was downright offensive, generating very little pressure on Ottawa Goalie Martin Gerber, who at times looked like he was fighting the puck a bit. Ottawa would finally break a scoreless deadlock when a former Bolt (albeit was a brief tenure) Alexandre Picard fired the puck past Mike Smith on the Power play for a 1-0 lead. Smith was sensational again on the night, stopping 31 of 32 shots against, while Gerber stopped all 24 shots he faced.

While some of the calls seemed borderline at best and the Lightning had grievances the way the linesman was dropping the puck on faceoffs (appearing to give Ottawa center men clear advantage), the coup de grĂ¢ce came in the final moments of the game. With Mike Smith pulled for the extra attacker, the linesman dropped the puck on a face off in the Ottawa zone. Inexplicably, as the lineman Derek Amell tried to get out of the way of Mike Fisher and Jussi Jokinen battling for control, he flailed his legs and at one point lifted his skate arching upward behind his body, the skate would catch Martin St. Louis in the face as he reached down to try to gain control of the puck. St. Louis went immediately down, but play continued as Ottawa got control. As St. Louis struggled to the Lightning bench, Alfredsson put the puck in the empty net, clinching the game.

The Lightning were furious and Paul Ranger earned a 10 minute misconduct penalty. St. Louis suffered a nasty gash and needed eight stitches to close up two separate cuts on his forehead. It didn't matter as the final seconds ticked off, the Lightning were shut out for the fourth time this season and have scored three or fewer goals in twenty-eight of their thirty games this season.

Tampa Bay falls to 7-15-8 on the year and are 2-8-4 since Rick Tocchet replaced Barry Melrose as head coach.

After a tumultuous month with little to show for their troubles, the Lightning will get four days off, not playing again until Thursday.

"There will be a lot of practice time in the next four days," Tocchet told the Associated Press.

We can only hope that some of the time is spent re-teaching the scorers how to put the biscuit in the basket.

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