Let tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team to provide you with an inside look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news.
Have a question or comment for The Insider? Send me an email at Insider@tampabaylightning.com
Last night's game in New Jersey, though ultimately categorized as a 4-3 shootout loss, was another positive step for the Lightning. Though the Bolts weren't at their best at times and goaltender Mike Smith would probably like to have back one of New Jersey's goals, the team still managed to battle back from deficits of 2-1 and 3-2 in the third period against the stingy Devils. A pair of power-play goals - one by Jussi Jokinen and the other from Marty St. Louis - also helped to put a positive glow on the result.
Head Coach Barry Melrose wasn’t happy, but he acknowledged the team’s perseverance.
“We got a point coming from behind against a team that stresses defense,” Melrose said after the game. “We sat on it in the second and we get in trouble when we sit on it. But we walked into a tough building and got a point out of it.”
Now the Lightning get a crack at the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden. If the Rangers think they’ll be facing the same Lightning team they met in Prague to start the season, they’re in for a surprise. Every aspect of the Lightning’s game has improved markedly since early October, and Tampa Bay has been gaining confidence with every game. The Lightning have earned at least a point in eight of nine games since returning from Prague.
Smith looks like he’ll be back in tonight, with Radim Vrbata off the Injured Reserve list and returning to the lineup in place of Ryan Craig.
Speaking of Smith, his goalie mask based on the SAW V movie, which he wore during October, fetched $4,300 this week for the Lightning Foundation through an online charity auction held on CollectSaw.com. The winning bidder, New Yorker Colin Devine, will receive an added bonus tonight before the game when he collects his prize in person from SAW co-producers and Lightning owners Oren Koules and Mark Burg. Olaf Kolzig’s SAW mask is currently being auctioned on CollectSaw.com.