Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wild 1, Lightning 0 [SO] (Game #5) [0-2-3]

Five games, five one-goal losses for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not exactly the start Barry Melrose envisioned for his return to NHL coaching.
Though it’s not all bad, he said. The former broadcaster insisted after a 1-0 shootout loss Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild that good things will happen for his club if the Lightning continue to play the way they did against one of the hottest and high-scoring teams in the league.
“They’ve just got to believe that if we keep doing that, we’re going to win a lot of games,” Melrose said.
Antti Miettinen scored the only goal of the shootout to keep the Wild undefeated. They swept a three-game trip to Atlanta, Florida and Tampa Bay.
Niklas Backstrom made 32 saves for his 15th career shutout and turned aside shootout attempts by Tampa Bay’s Jussi Jokinen, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos.
The Wild are 4-0 for the third consecutive season. They won their first five games last season and their first six in 2006.
“We needed a good start and we got a good start for the season, but it’s still 78 games left, so a lot of work ahead,” Backstrom said. “So far, so good.”
The Wild, who entered the game second in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 42.9 percent, went 0-for-5 with a man advantage in regulation and failed to convert on a 4-on-3 power play in the final 1:19 of overtime.
The Lightning also failed to score on their three power-play opportunities as Minnesota’s penalty kill unit remained perfect (15-for-15) in four games.
Minnesota center Mikko Koivu, the league’s leading scorer with nine points (eight assists), was held without a point for the first time this season. Miettinen, who recorded consecutive three-point games in road victories against Atlanta and Florida, also was scoreless for the first time.
Melrose credited the defensive pairing of Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger with limiting the chances for Minnesota’s big scorers. Koivu and Miettinen combined for five shots.
“The Koivu line was the hottest line in the NHL coming into this game,” Melrose said. “I thought Meszaros and Ranger did a great job against them, not giving them much the whole game 5-on-5.”
Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith, making his third start of the season, stopped 21 shots in regulation and overtime and was credited with his seventh career shutout.
Before Miettinen’s winner, Smith had saved all 10 shootout attempts he had faced in his career, including Koivu’s leadoff attempt Saturday. The Lightning goalie fell to 3-1 in NHL shootouts.
“It’s just bad news when you get the shutout and you don’t win,” Melrose said.
Xtra, xtra: The shots allowed by Tampa Bay were the fewest for a Lightning opponent this season. In four games, Tampa Bay had allowed an average of 40.5 shots on goal. Tampa Bay absorbed its third consecutive loss in overtime, a franchise record. Lightning RW Radim Vrbata, who had been a regular on the second scoring line, was a surprise late scratch after skating with C Chris Gratton’s checking line during morning practice. He was replaced in the lineup by LW David Koci, who made his Lightning debut and committed two penalties in the first five minutes (Associated Press - Sports).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Islanders 4, Lightning 3 [OT] (Game #4) [0-2-2]

Trent Hunter made the Tampa Bay Lightning pay for an overtime miscue.
Hunter scored his second goal of the game 51 seconds into overtime, leading the New York Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Lightning on Thursday night.
“I was happy to see it go in,” Hunter said.
Tampa Bay goalie Olaf Kolzig misplayed the puck behind the net, which allowed Frans Nielsen to gain control and feed Hunter, who was alone in front of the goal.
“You hate to lose, that’s first and foremost,” Kolzig said. “Those things happen. There’s times where you get fortunate and the puck doesn’t find its way in. It was unfortunate play on my part. Go back to work tomorrow and don’t let it fester.”
Hunter credited Nielsen for the game-winner.
“He made a great play to pick off the pass, and I was just kind of waiting in the slot,” Hunter said. “He made a good pass, and I was just able to one-touch it in.”
Mike Comrie and Doug Weight also scored for the Islanders, who were coming off a 7-1 loss Monday to the Buffalo Sabres.
Vincent Lecavalier, Vinny Prospal and Ryan Malone each scored third-period goals for Tampa Bay.
“Things have not been going really great for us so far this year,” Prospal said. “To battle back and score three goals in the third, at least you get a point out of it.”
New Lightning coach Barry Melrose is still seeking his first victory with the team. Tampa Bay has dropped four in a row—including two overtime defeats— to start the season.
Comrie put the Islanders ahead 1-0 on a rebound goal at 2:47 of the first. Weight made it 2-0 during a power play with 6:06 left in the second.
Lecavalier cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 2-1 at 3:43 of the third when he skated in from the right wing and scored from the low slot. Prospal tied it at 2 on an in-close rebound at 12:02.
Hunter extended his goal-scoring streak to three games to give New York a 3-2 advantage with 6:09 left in the third. Malone pulled the Lightning even again at 3-all at 14:57 of the period.
“We could have easily had a letdown after they tied it up,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. “We responded the right way.”
The announced crowd was 14,420, but the actual turnout appeared smaller. That could be attributed to the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays were playing Game 5 of the American League championship Thursday night in Boston.
Xtra, xtra: Tampa Bay D Paul Ranger (shoulder surgery) played for the first time this season. Free agent D Marek Malik is working out with Tampa Bay and could soon be signed by the team (Associated Press - Sports).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hurricanes 4, Lightning 3 [OT] (Game #3) [0-2-1]

Although the Carolina Hurricanes don’t want to make a habit of falling behind their Southeast Division rivals, they suddenly seem to be thriving on it.
Eric Staal scored the tying and winning goals Saturday night to help Carolina overcome a three-goal deficit for a 4-3 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The previous night, the Hurricanes rallied from two goals down to beat Florida in their season-opener.
“We definitely don’t always dig ourselves that hole, but it was nice to come back and show that character again,” Staal said.
Mark Recchi, Janne Niskala and Vinny Lecavalier scored for Tampa Bay, which led 3-0 about 9 minutes into the second period. The loss denied new Lightning coach Barry Melrose his first victory since 1995, when he left coaching to join ESPN as an analyst.
“That wasn’t a game,” Melrose said. “We have a two-goal lead in the third period and we go out and we just stop working. We stopped doing the things we were doing in the first two periods. That’s the gist of it.”
Staal tied the score at 9:56 of the third period, prompting Lightning goalie Mike Smith to shatter his stick with two hard slams on the crossbar. Staal then got the game-winner from the left circle with 23.6 seconds remaining in the extra session.
Rod Brind’Amour and Matt Cullen also scored for Carolina.
Tampa Bay scored twice in a 2:07 span midway through the first period, matching its goal production in a pair of 2-1 losses to the New York Rangers a week earlier in the Czech Republic.
Recchi opened the scoring, tapping his own rebound past Hurricanes goalie Michael Leighton 8:20 in. Niskala, a rookie defenseman, scored his first goal on a power play at the 10:27 mark.
Lecavalier made it 3-0 with another power-play goal on a slap shot from the right circle 9 minutes into the second. Tampa Bay failed to score with a manpower advantage in its first two games.
Carolina broke through with 9 seconds remaining in the second period, when Brind’Amour redirected a shot by Joni Pitkanen past Smith. Brind’Amour set up Cullen’s goal 1:56 into the third to make it 3-2.
“Tough loss,” said Smith, who faced 20 shots in the third period. “It’s frustrating when you’re up 3-0 and we think we have the world by the finger and let up. … We’ve got to play 60 minutes. It’s as simple as that.”
Smith finished with 42 saves. Leighton made 26 stops in his season debut.
Xtra, xtra: Lightning defenseman Lukas Krajicek, acquired in a trade with Vancouver on Monday, finally resolved immigration issues and arrived only hours before playing alongside his new teammates. Game 2 of the American League championship series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox was shown on television sets throughout the concourse during the game and on the video screen above the ice afterward (Associated Press - Sports).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rangers 2, Lightning 1 (Game #2) [0-2-0]

Wade Redden needed only two games to make his presence felt for the New York Rangers.
The defenseman had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 and swept their two-game, season-opening series in Europe.
“It feels good to chip in the goal,” Redden said. “It’s going to be my intention to keep building throughout the season.”
Redden, who signed a six-year, $39 million free-agent deal with the Rangers during the summer, tied it with a power-play goal 3:47 into the second period when he blasted a shot past goalie Olaf Kolzig off a pass from Markus Naslund.
“Wade is a very calculated player, he’s a very poised player,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “He’s got a lot of patience. He can process things quickly and yet make it look almost too calm. He did it tonight.”
Redden said the long trip overseas, which included exhibition victories over Swiss team Bern and European champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Switzerland, was a total positive for the club that went 1-5 in preseason games against NHL teams in North America.
“We used the time well to get to know each other,” he said. “It was good for everyone to get away and just focus on what we’re going to do and what the team is all about.”
The Lightning had only three shots on goal in the opening period, but went up 1-0 when Adam Hall scored after Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist partially blocked Andrej Meszaros’ drive with 1:43 remaining.
Scott Gomez scored into an empty net 12:12 into the second period after Rangers winger Aaron Voros deflected a shot by Redden. Lightning center Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, hit the crossbar late in the period and both teams missed a number of scoring chances.
“We’ve got to pick up some things,” Gomez said. “We get so many shots and we want to put more goals in. But the bottom line is we took four points and we’ll keep it that way.”
Kolzig made 37 saves, and Lundqvist stopped 18 shots.
Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose, in his first two games behind the Lightning bench is already frustrated.
“We don’t compete,” he said of the Lightning, who tied Los Angeles with an NHL-low 71 points last season. “We’re too easy to play against. Until that changes we’re going to have trouble. We have a lot of skill on our team, but skill means nothing if you don’t work hard.”
Melrose said he was disappointed with his star players, including captain Vincent Lecavalier, who just returned from a major shoulder injury. He heaped praise on the line centered by Chris Gratton that includes veteran wingers Hall and gritty, 42-year-old Gary Roberts.
“The best line tonight was again Gratton’s line,” Melrose said. “My biggest problem was I can’t play Gratton’s line every shift. It’s probably the lowest paid line we’ve got on the ice but by far the best line in the last two games.
“I hope our guys are embarrassed. We’ve just got to get our great players playing as hard as our lesser players and we’ll be fine.”
The Rangers also won 2-1 on Saturday in the season opener and return home with four points already in the bank. This marked the second straight year the NHL began the season in Europe, building off games in 2007 between Los Angeles and Anaheim in London.
The Pittsburgh Penguins played the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, later Sunday in another regular-season series the NHL hopes will increase the league’s European presence.
As they did on Saturday, the Rangers widely outshot the Lightning.
The veteran Kolzig, playing his first NHL game with a different team after spending his first 16 seasons with the Washington Capitals, got the start over Saturday’s goalie Mike Smith.
Kolzig made 23 saves before Redden finally got a puck past him.
New York held a 41-21 shots advantage in the opener Saturday.
Fans packed the 17,000-seat O2 Arena for the second straight day to see the first NHL games in the Czech Republic even though the cheapest tickets were 20 times more expensive than the same ticket for a Czech league game.
“The audience? Outstanding!” Renney said.
The Rangers raised their sticks at center ice in their traditional victory salute to the fans.
“Because they’re great fans,” Renney said. “It’s a great hockey city, it’s a great hockey country, and we want to acknowledge the fact that we very much appreciate the support for both teams.”
Forward Ryan Malone of the Lightning and Voros drew big cheers midway through the first period during their brief fight.
The crowd missed Jaromir Jagr, the former Rangers captain who left New York as a free agent and signed with Avangard Omsk of the KHL in Russia. The Rangers, however, had Czech natives Petr Prucha and Michal Rozsival in the lineup, while Tampa Bay countered with Vaclav Prospal and Radim Vrbata, who failed to impress.
“It was an unbelievable experience for me to play here,” Prospal said. “It’s just a pity I didn’t score or have at least an assist. One goal is not enough to win.”
It was the fifth time the NHL began its season outside of North America, with the other three times in Japan in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Renney and Melrose expect the league to return to Europe again.
“We’re ambassadors for the game,” Renney said. “Our legacy is to leave behind good things, and I hope we do that. I have no problem to come back to do this again,”
“I think that any NHL team would love to come over,” Melrose said. “I’m sure that the NHL will continue to do it every year. We’ve got so many European players, the fans over here deserve to see their homeboys play.”
The Rangers will host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night in their first game back, and the Lightning will welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to Tampa on Saturday (Associated Press - Sports).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rangers 2, Lightning 1 (Game #1) [0-1-0]

Markus Naslund came through in his debut with the New York Rangers even though he wasn’t the star Czech fans had hoped to see.
Signed in the offseason to replace Jaromir Jagr, Naslund scored a goal and Brandon Dubinsky added another in New York’s 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, when the NHL opened its regular season in Europe for the second straight year.
“I didn’t replace Jaromir I don’t think anyone can,” Naslund said. “I ‘m just trying to find my game and playing to my potential.”
The sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena was quiet during the opening stages of the game, and many fans wore New York Rangers jerseys in a reminder that when they bought their tickets, Czech star Jagr was still in New York.
The Rangers still had Czechs Petr Prucha and Michal Rozsival, while Tampa Bay featured Vaclav Prospal and Radim Vrbata, and the crowd cheered more as the game progressed.
“It was a great atmosphere, the fans were really into it,” Naslund said. “It was fun.”
The longtime Vancouver Canucks captain agreed to a two-year deal worth $8 million in July after Jagr left New York as a free agent and signed with Omsk Avangard of the KHL in Russia.
Naslund scored with 1:52 remaining in the second period on a wrist shot after being fed by Scott Gomez.
“It was nice to have a win here,” Naslund said. “We controlled the game and we deserved to win.”
Martin St. Louis tied the game 3:57 into the final period after skating past Rangers defenseman Dmitri Kalinin and firing a backhand shot past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Dubinsky had the winner on a power play with 5:44 left in the game.
“We created a lot of scoring chances and certainly could score a couple more goals with the way we were playing,” Dubinsky said.
Lundqvist made 20 saves and Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith had 39.
“We outshot them badly,” Naslund said. “We just gotta be careful with their offensive guys and not let them break. That’s why it’s great to have Henrik. It was a very tough game for him, facing not many shots but quite a few breakaways.”
The teams play the second game of their series on Sunday in Prague. The NHL opened last season in Europe with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings playing two games in London.
In the other game played in Europe on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in overtime in Stockholm, Sweden.
It was the fifth time the NHL began its season outside North America, with the other three times coming in Japan in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
Rangers coach Tom Renney saw things to be improved despite the win.
“Early in the game, certainly in the first period and at the end of the third period as well, they seemed to be able to get little bit more than we should’ve given them, and honestly I think we gave it to them.
“In the second period we settled down and managed the puck much better. I like the fact that we kept generating shots and offense.”
Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose said his players spent too much time in the penalty box to win.
“Seven penalties against a very good power play,” he said. “Our young defense played well, but if you give the Rangers seven power plays you’re going to get a goal.”
Melrose was positive about his team and said it just needed to score.
“It’s a very tough loss because we played so hard,” he said. “We did a lot of good things defensively. Our offensive players had the chances.”
Both teams’ stars, including captains Vincent Lecavalier of the Lightning and Chris Drury of the Rangers, missed a number of scoring chances in the opening period. Smith stopped 14 shots, while Lundqvist turned away eight.
The Rangers carried the action in the second period, outshooting the Lightning 16-3, but Smith stopped everything until Naslund’s shot.
Lundqvist, who led the NHL with 10 shutouts last season, denied St. Louis and Steven Stamkos when the Lightning were seeking an equalizer.
“I was much more relaxed during the game because I had a couple good saves early on,” Lundqvist said (Associated Press - Sports).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lightning 3, HC Slovan Bratislava 2 [SO] (Preseason) [5-1-0]

Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Lecavalier scored in a shootout Tuesday to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over HC Slovan Bratislava in a preseason game, the first ever for an NHL team in Slovakia.
Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith stopped two of Slovan’s shootout attempts.
Evgeny Artyukhin made it 1-0 for the Lightning in the first period before Slovan tied the score when Marek Uram got a goal in the second. Martin Kulha scored a power-play goal in the third and Lecavalier evened the score for the Lightning on a two-man advantage, sending the game into overtime.
It was the second and final preseason game for the Lightning in Europe ahead of two games to start the regular season Saturday and Sunday in Prague, Czech Republic, against the New York Rangers.
The same weekend, the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, as the NHL continues to increase its presence in Europe.
On Sunday, Tampa Bay beat Eisbaren Berlin 4-1 in its first exhibition game in Europe (Associated Press - Sports).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lightning 4, Polar Bears 1 (Preseason) [4-1-0]

Gary Roberts had a goal and an assist to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 win over Eisbaren Berlin on Sunday in their first exhibition game in eastern Europe.
Tampa Bay is 4-1 in exhibitions with one game to go—Tuesday in Slovakia— before opening its NHL season in Prague against the New York Rangers.
Olaf Kolzig, a native of Germany and former member of Eisbaren Berlin, had 34 saves for the Lightning (Associated Press - Sports).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lightning 4, Rangers 2 (Preseason) [3-1-0]

Two quick strikes in the third period gave the Lightning a boost before heading off to Europe.
It will still be another week before games count for real, but Tampa Bay finished its North American portion of the preseason with a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
After a fast change of clothes and some roster cuts, the Lightning left Madison Square Garden for a ride to the airport and an overnight flight to the Czech Republic, where they will open the regular season with a two-game set against the Rangers in Prague next weekend.
Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis scored 2:18 apart in the third period to rally the Lightning. Tampa Bay pulled off the late comeback despite being outshot 47-25. Karri Ramo was in goal for the entire game and was sharp in making 45 saves.
“We played awful,” Lightning coach Barry Melrose said. “Our goalie gave us a chance to win. We battled hard in the third, moved the puck well and showed a lot of composure and found a way to win.”
New York had 18 shots in each of the first two periods but produced only a pair of goals from Dan Fritsche and Lauri Korpikoski. Backup goalie Steve Valiquette also was in the nets for the whole game, giving Henrik Lundqvist the night off.
“It was unfortunate. We played hard,” new Rangers defenseman Wade Redden said. “We had a lot of shots … if we got a few of those rebounds, maybe it’s a different game. We had a few empty nets that didn’t cash for us.”
The Rangers played for the fourth straight night and lost their third consecutive—including a defeat at Tampa Bay that started the skid on Tuesday. New York has been going with a bit of a split squad since it began a preseason schedule of six games in eight days before heading to Europe.
The Rangers will face New Jersey at home Saturday before flying that night to Switzerland to take part in the Victoria Cup. The Lightning will also play a pair of exhibition games in Europe before taking on the Rangers for real.
“It’s tough because they don’t have their whole lineup, we don’t have our own lineup,” St. Louis said. “You’re trying to get the cobwebs out and get on the same page as a team more than anything.”
Fritsche, who came to the Rangers in a big summer deal with Columbus, gave New York a 1-0 lead 8:58 into the first period with a snap shot from the dot in the middle of the right circle. Chris Gratton tied it at 11:37.
Korpikoski netted his second goal of the preseason at 7:56 of the middle period, slipping a shot past Ramo.
Then came the late Lightning strikes in the third.
Rookie Steven Stamkos, the top overall pick in this year’s NHL draft, rushed down the middle of the Rangers zone before being stopped by Valiquette. The rebound came right out in front to Malone for the goal at 2:18.
Tampa Bay took its only lead of the game soon after when Matt Carle fired the puck down the ice, where St. Louis tracked it down in the New York end. He outskated defenseman Dmitri Kalinin and let go a backhander that beat Valiquette over the left shoulder, popping up the water bottle on top of the net.
Evgeny Artyukhin added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds, with an assist from Stamkos, to make it 4-2.
“They’re a good team. We knew that and we respect them,” Melrose said of the Rangers. “We’ve got to play better if we’re going to beat them in Prague.” (Associated Press - Sports).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lightning 3, Rangers 2 (Preseason) [2-1-0]

Top pick Steven Stamkos scored his first goal, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in a preseason game on Tuesday night.
Stamkos, taken first overall in this year’s draft, scored on a wrist shot from the left circle during a power play to put the Lightning up 2-0 in the second period.
Ryan Craig and Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning. Mike Smith made 38 saves.
The Rangers got power-play goals from Dan Girardi and Fredrik Sjostrom. Miika Wiikman played the first 30 minutes, allowing three goals on 14 shots.
Many of New York’s top players didn’t make the trip. Center Scott Gomez, left wing Markus Naslund and defenseman Wade Redden played for the second straight night.
The Rangers beat Ottawa 2-1 at home on Monday and are playing six games in eight days before their season-opening trip to the Czech Republic, where they will face the Lightning in two games that count.
The teams will also face off on Thursday in New York (Associated Press - Sports).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Penguins 3, Lightning 2 (Preseason) [1-1-0]

Tyler Kennedy scored a tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in a preseason game on Monday night.
Kristopher Letang added a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Maxime Talbot had the other Pittsburgh goal.
Pittsburgh goalies Dany Sabourin and John Curry combined to stop 37 shots.
Jussi Jokinen and Michel Ouellet scored for Tampa Bay. Olaf Kolzig made 21 saves.
Most of Pittsburgh’s top players, including team captain Sidney Crosby, didn’t make the trip. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar is out with a shoulder injury.
Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier, coming back from shoulder surgery, sat out. He is working out with the team, and might be ready for the start of the regular season (Associated Press - Sports).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lightning 5, Penguins 4 [SO] (Preseason) [1-0-0]

Brandon Bochenski had two goals and an assist, and Jussi Jokinen and No. 1 draft pick Steven Stamkos scored in the shootout to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 preseason victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Janne Niskala added a goal and an assist the Lightning, who tied the game when Bochenski scored with 1:19 to play.
Stamkos, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, made a successful NHL debut under new Lightning coach Barry Melrose. Though limited to two shots and a minus-1 rating in his 21:41 of ice time, the 18-year-old player from Canada showed flashes of the talent that drew comparisons to Penguins captain
Sidney Crosby—the top draft pick three years ago.
Crosby gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead with a short-handed, unassisted goal with 2:53 left in regulation. Pittsburgh had erased an early 3-1 deficit with two power-play goals by
Petr Sykora.
Jordan Staal scored 51 seconds into the game for Pittsburgh, and Wyatt Smith also scored for Tampa Bay.
While the Penguins didn’t use their regular lineup in entirety, most of the top stars—including Crosby, Staal,
Evgeni Malkin, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and newcomer Miroslav Satan—played in the game.
Sergei Gonchar, the Penguins’ top defenseman, left the game in the first period after a hit from David Koci. He didn’t return, and the Penguins didn’t provide information about his injury.
Tampa Bay sat many of its top veterans, most notably new captain
Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Eleven players in the Lightning lineup appeared in seven games or less at the NHL level last season.
The Lightning and Penguins will open the regular season against each other in two weeks with a two-game series in Stockholm, Sweden (Associated Press - Sports).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tampa Bay Lightning Blog - The Beginning

Well, I've been a fan of the Tampa Bay franchise since its inception in 1992 (I live in Pittsburgh, PA)... and since I've recently had an interest in blogging, I've decided to comment on all 82 games with my own perspective... while I can't promise multipaged descriptions of each game, I will attempt to provide as much insight as humanly possible... we might be talking about a couple of sentences per entry, but I will make every effort to offer my viewpoints about each individual game... and I might need a little help from the Associated Press on the days I don't have time... I work 14-hour days, so it might be a problem keeping this blog up to date when I'm sleepy... Can't wait for the first preseason game on Saturday, September 20th, versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. See you in a month. What an exciting time to be a Lightning fan. Let the new era begin.