April 14, 2007

Lightning 3, Devils 2

First Period: Filip Kuba, Lightning (shorthanded) (Perrin, Richards)
Zach Parise, DEVILS (PPG) (Rafalski, Langenbrunner)

Second Period: Jamie Langenbrunner, DEVILS (PPG) (Gionta, Elias)
Martin St. Louis, Lightning (Richards, Ward)

Third Period: Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning (Ranger, Prospal)

Shots on Goal: 36-20 DEVILS

Penalties: Devils - 6 minutes, Lightning - 10 minutes


Not a bad pace to start things off. Seems both teams are playing smart and within themselves. Rasmussen takes the early penalty for the Devils tonight, but luckily nothing got going for Tampa Bay. Brodeur got some good saves, but the Lightning don't look like they are shooting much, at least not yet. No more penalties, though. Devils have had some chances but they are playing pretty conservatively right now. Elias draws the first penalty for the Lightning, gotta go for the first goal of the game here. I smell it. Oh wow. I smell it alright, there was indeed a goal. For Tampa Bay. What a joke. This is no fun for anyone, no fun at all. The Devils were known during the year as giving up shorthanded goals, especially to Tampa Bay & Atlanta. Well, they got one here. They couldn't score on their own power play, but they scored on the Devils' power play. Frickin' junk, man. Time to stop playing conservatively. Yes, time to abandon it already. They have shot only 3 times compared to Tampa Bay's 7 already. And that gap is only going to get bigger as the Devils are going to the penalty box again. HELLO!!!!!! Wake up, people. The Devils kill another one, no damage done. Some discipline would be nice. Along with shots. Many shots. Throw the puck at the net and see what happens. It will probably work. They aren't playing very well thus far. Another power play for the Devils and nothing happens. Power play is weak thus far. Another power play for the Devils, and they almost give up another shorthanded goal. Yikes, man. And they get it done!!! Who else but Zach Parise?? The kid is A BEAST!!! That was a big one. Very nice goal right there, especially being only the 6th shot on goal. Holmqvist maybe a little shaken up mentally, that's the hope anyway. The power play wasn't particuarly amazing, but Parise was setting up shop when the rebound went right to him and he just banged it in. That always helps. Always good to get that first goal, and important to get the equalizer before the end of the period. Who is this Zach Parise kid? He's dang good is who. Wow, thankfully the Devils got out of that period as Tampa Bay applies the pressure late amidst Devils turnovers and lack of defensive pressure. Sound familiar? Look at the Game 1 recap. Dang man, I thought we were going to try and WORK on these problems. Ah, maybe not. Oh well. Tampa Bay was for sure the better team, but the scoreboard says we're even. I'll take it.


Devils look a little shaky at the beginning of this period, but nothing too severe. They look like they just need to settle down. But honestly, that should be easy for this team. Why do they look like they haven't done this before? They are having trouble clearing pucks away from the zone, a problem from the first period that is continuing so far into this one. The only thing to really get excited about is the play of Zach Parise right now, as he continues to fly around the ice and do fun things. I think the Devils have had either 3 or 4 offsides penalties in a row. At least they are trying to set things up in Tampa Bay's zone, but these offsides calls are really killing them. They need to get shots on goal and still can't quite figure out how to do that. Maybe soon. Parise registers the first shot in the second period, naturally. Zajac gets his turn and blasts one straight on at Holmqvist for the easy save. Not a bad shot, though. Heck, it was a SHOT. More of those, please. Madden and Pandolfo get in on the action and the Devils appear to have woken up a little bit, thank goodness. Tampa Bay presses and gets some shots of their own, but Broduer sees them all cleany. Brylin gets a miniature breakaway but can't get one past Holmqvist. Next time, buddy. Devils are looking much better this time around, moving the puck around quite well and taking some good shots, the shots are just not falling in the right place. They are doing well keeping things in Tampa Bay's zone, which has been hard to come by in this series. The forecheck has marginally improved, but even a marginal improvement is a big one, if that makes any sense. Holmqvist does look quite a bit different tonight, he's got the edge. Which is annoying, but you gotta figure he's going to bring it this time around. Oh, the Devils had a couple of amazing chances, but Holmqvist denied Parise and then Gionta. Dang. The Devils have really picked it up and they are taking it to the Lightning right now. Just nothing worked out for them. They better not get discouraged, because if they keep doing that, things will fall into place. Weird, no penalties called in this period so far. I don't really mind that too much as it clearly favors the Devils. I guess it makes sense that Tampa Bay was the better team the first period, the Devils are the better team right now, and it's tied. It makes sense. I just think the Devils easily could be up 2-1, but Holmqvist for his part has been handling things pretty well. Shots are 11-2 in favor the Devils, that's just ridiculous. Great stuff, but nothing going on. First penalty called, it's on Tampa Bay. Which could be good or bad, considering goals for both teams were scored on Devils power plays. Devils look decent, but not much going on. Ooh, a PRIME opportunity now as Elias gets taken down. 5-on-3 for a little bit. No excuses now. No excuses at all, as Jamie Langenbrunner puts it home!!!! The Devils are one of the better 5-on-3 teams, but 5-on-3's are nice for everybody. Good movement, good spacing, good puckwork and finally found the wide-open Langebrunner in front of the net. Holmqvist had some nice saves before then, but he missed Jamie L. Very nice work right there. The Devils are doing what everybody wants them to do and that is throwing the puck at the net. 17-2 shots on goal right now, crazy stuff. Not just throwing pucks either, they are being smart about it. Big save Brodeur on LeCav, I almost forgot about Brodeur as Tampa Bay has simply not been shooting the puck this period. You have to be kidding me. Tie game. St. Louis of course. With a rifle. Brodeur might have had a chance, but dang. That's a tough one. New Jersey DOMINATED the period and they get nothing out of it, it's a tie game once more. Late goals have hurt the Devils many times this year and this one really hurts as they should have gotten out of the period with a lead. They better not get too disheartened about it, another period like this one and they win it. It's just a tough thing. Gotta shrug it off. Regroup.


Early goal by LeCav. Is he truly that unstoppable? Fairly even, but sloppy play. Sloppy being the Devils for the most part. What can they do? If they can't play good defense, they have no chance just because the Lightning are one of the best offensive teams in the NHL. They can turn it on at a moment's notice. All of this stuff was said last game, so I hate repeating myself but the same symptoms are showing themselves here. I thought Lou was all about discipline and awesome things, but I am not seeing many awesome things except the many shots in the second period. Devils still own on shots on goal and will no doubt end the game on top. Sadly, that makes Holmqvist the more effective goaltender with a far better save percentage. Brodeur may have had better individual saves, but he has been the 2nd-best goalie tonight. Which is pretty dang sad when you think about it. Credit Holmqvist for most of that, though. Devils are trying, but they are not playing with the sense of urgency they will need. I would imagine that to change as time is flying by and the minutes are winding down. Brodeur has shut down the few Tampa Bay chances, it's up to the offense to get it going now. Not much time left. Gomez with a chance but another offsides. Is anyone keeping a tally on how many times? Absurd. Devils with some good chances late, but not enough. Penalty on the Devils as they turn it over for about the 25th time and that just about seals the deal. No chance now. Brodeur is off and it's 5-on-5 again. Very risky move, but LeCav takes down Gionta and now it's 5-on-4 for 18 seconds. It could happen. Very slim chance, but it's worth hanging around for. Gionta with a nice chance, but it's not enough. We're headed to Florida with the series tied. If the Lightning continue scoring 3 goals every game, the Devils are done for.

Cubs 7, Reds 0

I stopped following after it was 7-0. No such luck this time, no 8-run 8th inning this time around.

As previously highlighted in the last post about the Reds, the offense is the thing to watch. It's bad. It was plenty bad today. Rich Hill? He's alright, not bad. Looked great today. 7 hits. That's 2 less hits than the Cubs, who had 9. Cubs scored 7 on their 9 hits. Reds scored 0. They still haven't figured out to play smart baseball when guys are on base. It just doesn't work out.

Who do you feel bad for in all of this? Bronson Arroyo should be your answer. The man has done everything asked of him, you think the Reds could figure out some way not to suck when he is pitching. But they don't give him anything to work with, so even a great game turns into a loss. This wasn't a great game for Arroyo. It had the potential to be, but then he stayed in the game too dang long and the Cubs went wild in the 7th inning.

Tough stuff out there today. The only thing I really like about the Cubs is that Soriano gets picked off almost daily. He'll steal his bases, that's for sure. He just sucks at it right now. It's kinda funny, actually. Other than that, the Cubs don't give me much. First win at Wrigley always sucks.

Wake up the bats, boys. If you don't count the Reds 6-run inning from yesterday, they haven't been doing very well. I already said all of that, so I will try not to say it again, but it would be nice if the team would somehow drop the hitting habits of late last year and put some smart moves together. The hits aren't all that bad, but you have to work with what you have out on the basepaths. Make it count. Try again tomorrow.

Why Todd Coffey got the win

Because Harang didn't go five innings, the official scorer has the discretion to pick the winner based on which pitcher was the most effective. Don Friske, the official scorer at Wrigley Field, picked Coffey, the only reliever to go more than one inning for the Reds.
Poor old Jonny Coutlangus. I could have sworn that the winning pitcher was the one who benefits from the runs advantage in sequential order. So Coutlangus was the next pitcher to pitch after Zambrano blew the lead, therefore he was the winner. But nope, it's a SUBJECTIVE call. Which sucks. By no means did Coffey not deserve the win, he was the man. No doubt. But don't forget about Jonny.

Jazz 104, Mavericks 89

Not much to see here, folks. Sure Nowitkzki played 29 minutes, though I'm not sure why. He ended up with 23 points. Josh Howard played some. A lot of guys didn't play at all. They didn't really care. Or try. It was sad, but expected. The Jazz played like it was a regular game and pretty much dominated, even when the Mavs threatened to get close. Boozer went nuts, 32 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists. Really wasn't a good game, but you can expect that to happen. The Jazz were all acting like it was a real game since Josh Howard played some and Nowitzki had some major minutes, but it really wasn't.