Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Jon Jordan on 01/06/11 at 01:07 PM ET
Following Dwayne Roloson’s stellar 34-save shutout debut in Tuesday night’s win in Washington, yours truly joined a host of other media types in pondering aloud just how far stable goaltending might propel the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After all, you can’t ask for a much better start with a new team than the one Roloson enjoyed against the Capitals.
That win elevated the Lightning into sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division and into a tie for the top point total in the Eastern Conference with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Enter the Penguins…
Fresh off of a disappointing on-ice result after all the pageantry leading up to the Winter Classic, Pittsburgh handed the Bolts a hefty slice of humble pie last night, chasing Roloson after three goals in a shade over seven minutes in the first period.
Roloson and backup Dan Ellis split time the rest of the way, with Ellis finishing the first, Roloson returning for the second period and Ellis coming back to close things out in the third. That, Lightning head coach Guy Boucher told the St. Pete Times, was out of kindness.
“I didn’t want one guy to suffer that all by himself.”
The trouncing in Pittsburgh brings the Bolts back to Earth a bit after the emotional high of Tuesday night’s victory and, frankly, serves as a reality check for those of us, myself included, who were quick to elevate Tampa Bay at least into the ballpark of the league’s elite. Statistically, they’re in the conversation. With a share of the conference’s second-highest point total and just three teams, league wide, having more success, they’ve earned that.
But 41 games makes up just half a season and there’s a long way to go before anything that truly matters is earned.
Boucher says the team will “bypass” this game and move forward, with the focus shifting to Saturday’s opponent, the Ottawa Senators.
They can’t get it out of their heads quickly enough.
In fairness, you know, yesterday’s headline – and the gist of the primary part of the piece – suggested the addition of Roloson could lift the Lightning from being a good team to a great one. Could. But you’ll point fingers anyway after the drubbing they took in Pittsburgh and that’s fine.
While we’re being fair, allow me to point out that I never made any direct reference to this team immediately being a Stanley Cup contender, however. Others did, for the record.
So seek them out and heckle them (too).
You know, to be fair.
Continuing with the spirit of evenhandedness, since I was all over the Stamkos spin-o-rama criticism and the silly comparisons to what Linus Omark did in early December, it’s only right that I share what some of you will undoubtedly call Stamkos’ just punishment from the so-called hockey gods on this penalty shot attempt from last night:
The spin-o-rama debate has been laid to rest so let’s not start that again.
But, there, we’re even.
Do with this what you will…
Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, NHL Media, NHL Video, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dan+ellis, dwayne+roloson, guy+boucher, steven+stamkos
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org