Sunday, January 10, 2010

Light Gate Conclusion handled well in all aspects

Well, as Hasan already posted, the Lightning and Devils finally completed Friday's game earlier before 3,000 who returned to The Rock in which fans were allowed to move down for the third. Tampa Bay held off New Jersey 4-2, earning a valuable two points that put them into a 11th place tie with idle Atlanta- four points behind Ottawa and Montreal. Busing back from Philly while the host Devs flew in following last night's overtime win in Brodeur land, it wasn't too conventional. But the Bolts still took Light Gate despite getting outscored 2-1. As one Dev fan on Twitter noted, that's gotta be a first.

It was a tough situation to be sure but both teams handled the adversity well, fitting in the final 29:12 to get on with hectic schedules the rest of the way.

It was a little weird,” super soph Steven Stamkos expressed after getting his second of the game over two days. “We prepared twice for this game. It was a half-game and a half-game. The travel wasn’t bad. We were in Philly, so it was only a bus ride away. It was something a lot of guys haven’t experienced in a while. It felt like we were back in junior, but it was worth it.
For winning goalie Mike Smith who finished with 33 saves, he actually flashed back to a couple of years back in junior for Sudbury when their playoff game against Toronto-St. Michael's encountered a similar electrical issue.

We were up 3-1 in the series before the lights went out and we ended up playing the game the next day and lost in overtime, and ended up losing the series,” the Tampa Bay goalie noted. “It was a little better outcome this time.

Of a game that needed just 67 minutes to finish off, perhaps goalscorer Travis Zajac summed it up best:

It’s a little weird when you start a faceoff in the neutral zone and then you feel like you’re getting going and the period is over. I think going into it we felt we had a chance to come back and make it interesting. We skated well, made some plays, but it just didn’t happen for us.

It wasn't ideal either for the same two referees Steve Kozari and Tim Peel, who both returned for the conclusion while linesmen Derek Nansen and Jean Moran subbed for David Brisebois and Don Henderson. Kudos must go out to the officials and a hard working crew who readied the ice on short notice. At least everyone made the best of an odd situation.

“Everything about this situation was odd, from Friday sitting around here waiting to see what would happen, to playing a game when you’re worried about something the night before,” Devil and new Team USA Olympic captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. “Under the circumstances, we handled it well. We played well all weekend. Now we move forward.”

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