I can only imagine that the lonely skate across the ice to your dressing room, being serenaded by a capacity crowd on its feet yelling "Stamkos Sucks!", wouldn't be much fun. But Steven Stamkos - you earned every bit of it. In a night where the young phenom managed to put a goal and an assist up on the board, Stamkos also managed to draw a phantom high-sticking call and the ire of the MTS Centre to boot. He was booed mercilessly every time he touched the puck afterwards. And when he drew a double-minor with :23 seconds left in the game to earn his first-class ticket to the showers, the 15,004 decided to add another name to the "Jets No-Fly List", previously occupied by one Jack Skille.
Oh yeah, there was also a pretty good hockey game to with all of this Stamkos hate as well. Coming into the game on a 5-game winless streak, and not having a single victory in their past 12 tries against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Jets managed to chase Dwayne Roloson on route to a 5-2 victory. It was a great team effort that again has me thinking that we do have a hockey team somewhere in there, and hopefully the boys can take something out of this game, bottle it, and draw from it when they need it. Because with Washington and Philadelphia coming to town later this week, we may need it.
1st Period: 04:51 WPG Evander Kane (6) (Dusting Byfuglien, Alexander Burmistrov) 13:02 WPG Dustin Byfuglien (3) (Evander Kane)
2nd Period: 7:49 WPG Mark Flood PP (3) (Tim Stapleton, Bryan Little) 10:47 TB Martin St. Louis 4 (Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier) 12:14 WPG Andrew Ladd (6) (Johnny Oduya, Kyle Wellwood
3rd Period: 10:04 WPG Tim Stapleton (2) (Tanner Glass) 10:26 TB Steven Stamkos (11) (Matt Gilroy)
Thoughts from the Tarmac:
- This was a solid team effort from top to bottom. For the first time in a while it looked like Coach Noel was able to roll all four lines, as nobody had less then 8 minutes of ice-time. However...
- Bad news for Blake Wheeler owners in Fantasy Hockey. Wheels had the lowest amount of ice-time for the Jets tonight at 8:01...
- Mark Stuart led the squad in ice-time with 23:46, followed closely by partner Dustin Byfuglien with 23:16. Bustin also led the team in shots with 7, and added a goal and an assist...
- But he was also caught pinching a few times as well. With the score 5-1 I actually mentioned to my wife that there goes Bustin pinching again, but oh well we are up by 4, oh wait Stamkos scores on the breakaway with Buff never getting back in time. Oh well, overall I was pleased with Buff tonight, but these pinches that don't work might be the death of me.
- Would you believe me if I told you that Johnny Oduya had a game-high plus-minus rating of +3? Oh, do ya now?
- What is going on with the refs? Before Stamkos lost his mind with less then 30 seconds to go, the Jets were only able to draw one penalty (which they scored on), while the Bolts were able to draw 6 (including that phantom high-stick drawn by Stamkos). I don't know what can be done about this discrepancy, but it is astounding.
- Tim Stapleton (AKA Steam Punk) played the best game that I've seen out of him. His line with Jaffray and Wheeler looked very good in their limited ice-time, and even then Stapleton added 2 points.
- Wellwood, Ladd, Burmistrov, Glass and Slater all looked very solid, while Antropov looked sluggish and Wheeler continues to be snake-bitten.
- What is Chevy going to do with Mark Flood when healthy bodies begin to return? The guy has more goals (3) then Little and Wheeler have combined for on the year (2), and has been a steadying force in his own end. What a pleasant surprise he's been!
- I was very impressed with Artus Kulda tonight. He played 13:05 with Mark Flood, and the pairing were very solid and reliable defensively. I didn't like his game in the pre-season, but whatever he found up in St. John's apparently is working for him.
- The "Roli" chants for Dwayne Roloson were fantastic tonight, and the standing ovation when he was relieved after allowing the 4th Jets goal was deafening. The crowd did a good job of getting loud tonight, despite the quiet and nervous start to the game.
- Perhaps my favorite stat of the night is that the Jets were up 4-1 after 2 periods, yet still out-shot the Bolts 14-5 in the third. That is how you close out a game.