Friday, December 9, 2011

Moore makes birthday prediction ring true

Sometimes, I really wish I could make this stuff up. Or in my case, you can't. Tonight was my birthday and so we embarked to the World's Most Renovated Arena for Bolts/Rangers. My second game on the same day as Jim Morrison's birthday and one of my idols John Lennon's tragic death 31 years ago in the center of New York City. Drew Doughty also shares a birthday and Brian target Dwight Howard. Oh btw. I also crushed on Kim Basinger. Who didn't?

Getting to the game which was bizarre for a whole lot of reasons. Though judging, from the Sens-Devs boxscore, I'll bet that one brought a smile to Hasan. First, a former Blueshirt was involved before and during the game. Dominic Moore is always someone I liked. He centered the infamous HMO line (Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer) in '05-06 which put us back on the map. I always felt he got a raw deal even if Blair Betts was a solid citizen. Amazing to think a guy with his skill set is now on his seventh NHL roster. Moore has been a frequent flier during the trade deadline. He was instrumental in the Lightning's run lto the Conference Finals last Spring. No surprise that on my birthday, Dom had plenty of impact.

It was during the morning skate that an accidental backhand caught Marty St. Louis right in the face, bloodying the star to the point where he was held out, ending a consecutive games streak of 500. Albeit he's always been one of my favorite players. So, while some in the twitterverse reacted with good for us, I was disappointed I wouldn't get to see him. I just enjoy the game so much and love full rosters with all the stars. Beating the best is what determines who you are. We have a good team and I was hoping he'd sew up. Oh well. Maybe that was an ominous sign of things to come. The traffic we endured coming home was regrettable. Never before had it ever been that bad. Thanks for nothing NYC. It's nights like this that make me wish I lived elsewhere. Only in dreams.

Anyway, Moore KO'd St. Louis. So, the Lightning were minus one of their Big Three. They still found a way to exact revenge in large part to Moore's heroics. Combine that with a controversial goal celebration from Artem Anisimov after he put us ahead and Tampa had plenty of incentive to come out with the two points. If you know me, I hate the brownie point for the shootout. A skill competition should never decide anything. And for the love of sanity, they need to ditch it for the latest Bettman Experiment. I was in favor of realignment but came away as baffled as Hasan about the whole conference set up and an unfavorable   schedule. It just is too confusing for words. More on this later.

Many critics will rip Anisimov for his foolish celebration in which he imitated Teemu Selanne by using his stick as a gun to point at Mathieu Garon following a shorthanded goal. It was impossible for us to see due to the overhang but Arty made a huge error in judgment and fired up the opposition. So, I guess it was no shock that Steve Downie came off the bench and jumped him along with Steven Stamkos and Marc-Andre Bergeron, who took a beating from Brandon Dubinsky. Speaking of which, Dubi had a decent night, combining with Mike Del Zotto on Anismov's shorty. He also saw some time on the top line with Anisimov somehow assessed 16 minutes for getting jumped. The appropriate call would've been unsportsmanlike conduct. Instead, the blind mice gave him a double minor and misconduct. So, we lost one of our best forwards for a while, which didn't help our powerless play. Yes. Even if it connected early with Ryan Callahan scoring his 11th from the left circle, it still doomed us.

If you want to watch how not to run a power play, just try to understand ours. I know I'm not alone on this futile topic in these parts but good God it stinks. There is zero creativity and no fluidity. Watch the Red Wings or Blackhawks for how to score on the PP. Quick passes. Movement and shots. I know. It's been this way for years no matter what superstar we add. Brad Richards did make a nifty pass to Cally for his PPG but too often it's not a five man unit. It's give it to Richy or Marian Gaborik and watch them lug the puck up and try to juke four guys. It's too predictable. Del Zotto also is the only defenseman who has that capability but he never shoots and when he does, it's nine feet wide.

The man-advantage cost them big time. What was it? Four consecutive failures including two in crunch time when Tampa tried to hand us the game. One-for-six overall? I am not bothering to check if it's five or six and could care less if our success rate says otherwise. Our powerless play SUCKS!

Ryan Malone tied the game on a breakaway after a dreadful giveaway from Ryan McDonagh, who had a night to forget. Chalk it up to it being my birthday. They just weren't sharp after the first and believe me, they started heading downward in the middle of the opening stanza. At least I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Maggie and her boyfriend Nick, who ironically enough are from Sayreville. Only where Brian is from! So classic. It really was fun to meet you. Hope to see you again along with some other tweeps next time out.

The Bolts were undisciplined, handing us three early power plays. But we only capitalized on one and then fizzled. Of course, before the chaos that ensued, the Lightning couldn't handle our top two lines, which generated enough quality chances to beat Garon more than twice. This was a goalie who stunk entering with like eight allowed in his last two starts. But he turned in a good performance and came up with some gems in overtime. Following the Arty nonsense which John Tortorella condoned without going overboard, the Bolts wanted it more. They began carrying the play with Stamkos, Moore and Vinny Lecavalier forcing Henrik Lundqvist to make some tough stops. Even Matt Gilroy had a solid game. The Bolts also benefited from Victor Hedman, who was outstanding defensively. He really is overlooked because he doesn't do anything flashy. But now I see why they extended him at five a pop. Adam Larsson could learn a thing or two about how to defend by watching his Swedish buddy.

Late in the game, there was our chance to make it easy. Instead, they didn't even try to get the third goal. No sense of urgency. And boy, did it come back to bite them. Right before the inevitable, I told my brother Justin I thought Moore would tie it. I have no idea why. It just came to me that it would be an ex-Ranger. Gaining steam, Moore skated around two of our guys like they were ghosts before backhanding one upstairs on Lundqvist, who must've dozed off from the uninspired play. How else can you explain that going in? And no. I don't want to hear any spin about it possibly changing direction. He has to stop that. It really wasn't his fault that our five fell asleep. But come on. The shootout winner to Moore was no better. He again went top shelf for the only goal in the shootout.

Regarding the skill comp, interesting that John Mitchell went first and didn't shoot. All three (Richy and Gabby) were duped by an aggressive Garon, who challenged while Lundqvist sat back. Quite a contrast. And all three of our shooters went too deep and tried to deke, playing right into his hands. No adjustment. Why not shoot right away for the top part of the net? They got what they deserved.

BONY 3 Stars:

3rd Star: Mathieu Garon, Bolts (29 saves)
2nd Star: Victor Hedman, Bolts (assist, stellar defense)
1st Star: Dominic Moore, Bolts (tying shorthanded goal-2nd of season, shootout winner)

1 comment:

Hasan said...

At least your power play doesn't actively give up goals lol.

Having computer issues at the moment btw so not sure when my next full blog will be.

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