For long stretches both teams appeared to use John Tortorella's old "Safe is Death" philosophy and it worked for the good guys. The key to that ideology is having a good enough defense and goaltending to cope with all of the flying forwards and on this night Tampa certainly didn't.
It was one of the more embarrassing performances by a NHL team in recent memory, as goal-by-goal Tampa displayed what not to do. Right off the bat they had three guys chasing Rick Nash and he was still able to get a shot off to put the Rangers ahead. Granted, it hit a defenseman's stick and Carl Hagelin, but given how Garon was playing it woulda probably beat him regardless.
Hell, the Rangers weren't much better as they still can't figure out how to do a line change. But at least they ended up on top. After the first win over the Bolts the Blueshirts followed it up with a loss in Newark so we have to hold out hope that tonight's tilt in Boston will be better.
Just a few, quick Late Hits as it is so far after the fact:
*Matt Carle, even worse at defense than Del Zaster.
*Tom Poti was allergic to peanut butter. Given how much time Del Zaster spends behind the opponent's net, maybe he is allergic to Lundqvist.
*Welcome back Dan Girardi, never leave us again.
*Anders Lindback wasn't any better: not only did he let Arron Asham score but both he was able to see both shots that beat them and they sailed in short side. Not NHL caliber, and killing my fantasy team.
*Hank was solid, and should have had a shutout. Two great saves (and two long rebounds) before Vinny04 scored the Bolts lone goal. Someone, anyone, shoulda helped the King out.
*Derek Stepan is slowly getting better. He may have actually been hurt by playing overseas acclimating back to the smaller rink and quicker contact has been a task.
*Maybe Matt Gilroy should get a shot at the power play point? At least until someone capable can be brought in at the deadline (Mark Streit). Just a thought.
*JT Miller's third NHL game was a solid, if unspectacular one. Given Tortorella's reliance on his top guys during tough times, really have to hope that Miller doesn't atrophy on the bench the way that Manny Malhotra once did.
*My shock has been replaced by awe, as this guy at the home opener was clearly ahead of the curve. If I was willing to give the NHL any more money - I'm not - I would get one too.
3-Rick Nash - one goal and one assist.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 19 saves.
1-Carl Hagelin - two goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Girardi - Almost tabbed Cally for his 'Little Ball of Hate' edge but his goal was just on such a horrible play by Carle that Dan-O gets the edge. The Blueshirt blueliner stepped right back in and completely negated Stamkos, not an easy feat.
2-Hagelin - Love when his hard work pays off.
1-Nemo - The winter storm clearly took something out of the Lightning.