November 14 – Day 33 – Selections are Slim

Here’s the list of tonight’s games. Hopefully your team is playing.

  • Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders – 7 p.m. eastern – TVAS
  • Dancing with the Stars -8 p.m. eastern – ABC
  • The Voice – 8 p.m. eastern – NBC
  • Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants – 8:30 p.m. eastern – ESPN
  • Scorpion – 10 p.m. eastern – CBS

So… yeah… there’s a not a whole lot of hockey action going on this evening…

But hey, it makes my decision-making process much easier!

Unknown-3New York Islanders Logo

 

This will be Tampa Bay‘s first time being featured in the Game of the Day, while New York is making their fourth appearance.

Tampa enters tonight’s game with a 8-6-1 record, good enough for fourth in the Atlantic Division. What impresses me about the Lightning so far this season is their offense, which has 45 goals to its credit.

Who else to lead the Bolts than Steven Stamkos? He’s appeared in all 15 games played this season, and has 17 points to his credit to lead the team. Eight of those points have been goals, which also leads the club.

Much of Tampa Bay‘s success has been found on the power play. Led by Nikita Kucherov and Stamkos’ seven power play points, their 25.4% success ranks fourth-best in the league.

The counterpart to the power play has been equally as successful. Tampa‘s penalty kill ranks eight-best in the league, neutralizing 86% of their infractions for only six extra man-tallies against.

The 5-7-3 Islanders wishes they were in the Bolts‘ position. They are the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference, due in most part to their lackluster defense and goaltending.

Jaroslav Halak has started 10 games en route to a 3-4-3 record. So far this season he’s played to a .907 save percentage and three GAA, which ranks 21st and 24th among the 35 goaltenders with seven games played.

While Halak and backup Thomas Greiss have left much to be desired after two-straight postseason appearances, they cannot shoulder all the blame. Together they’ve faced 475 shots (31.7 per game), 33 more than the average goaltender, or 2.2 per game. Although led by Johnny Boychuk‘s 2.8 blocks per game, no other Islanders have more than 40 blocks to their credit, leaving their netminders to get peppered.

As would be expected from a team with issues at and behind the blue line, New York has struggled on the penalty kill. Their 78% kill rate is sixth-worst in the NHL.

Offensively, the Isles have also struggled with their power play. Even with John Tavares‘ team-leading three power play points (perhaps that is the best indicator of their success), New York has scored on only 11.4% of their man-advantages.

Tonight’s game is the completion of the three-game regular season series between these clubs, that only just began 13 days ago. Tampa Bay has won both the previous two games by a combined 10-2 score, including a 6-1 victory on this surface on the first day of the month.

Of course, this year’s series is only a recap of their Eastern Semifinal showdown in May. If you’ll remember, the Lightning came out the winners in that series, with the Isles winning only Game 1 before Tampa Bay took the following four contests.

Some players to keep an eye on in tonight’s game include New York‘s Dennis Seidenberg (+10 [leads the team]) and Tavares (five goals for 12 points [both lead the team]) & Tampa Bay‘s Stamkos (17 points [tied for fifth-most in the league] on eight goals [tied for seventh-most in the NHL]) and, should he play, Andrei Vasilevskiy (two GAA [seventh-best in the league] and .932 save percentage [10th-best in the NHL]).

The home squad has a +125 next to their name, which is never a good sign for fans wearing blue and orange. I’m siding with Vegas in this one, as Tampa leads the Isles in almost all statistics in addition to having the recent success against this evening’s competition.

Hockey Birthday:

  • Murray Oliver (1937-2014) – Oliver enjoyed an 18-year, 1127 regular season-game playing career. Most of that time was spent with the Boston Bruins (traded from Detroit during the 1960-’61 season), where he played center for seven seasons for 426 games. He also tried his hand at coaching, leading the Minnesota North Stars in 37 games during the 1982-’83 season.
  • Bobby Allen (1978-) – Allen made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2002-’03 season, but he would be more known for his two year stint in Boston, where he played defense in 50 regular season games.
  • Taylor Hall (1991-) – Up until this season, the left winger had spent all of his seven-year career with the Edmonton Oilers. The first pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft played in 381 regular season games with the Oil before being traded to New Jersey this off-season.

Yesterday’s Game of the Day featured our second-straight overtime game, and once again it was the home team that scored the final tally as Vancouver beat Dallas 5-4.

The Stars got on the board only 5:43 after the initial puck drop with Patrick Eaves (Dan Hamhuis and Second Star Tyler Seguin) burying a wrister. That lead lasted only 22 seconds before Bo Horvat (Alexandre Burrows and Sven Baertschi) scored a wrister of his own to level for the Canucks. Dallas reclaimed the lead once again only 20 seconds after Horvat’s goal when Lauri Korpikoski (Radek Faksa and Jamie Benn) buried his wrister to set the score at 2-1, which held into the first intermission.

Only one goal was struck in the second frame, and it belonged to the Stars. Eaves (Seguin and Antoine Roussel) takes credit for the score with a deflection to give the Stars a 3-1 lead 4:56 before the second intermission.

Willie Desjardins and Henrik Sedin must have given some speech going into the final frame, because the Canucks came back to the ice with a vengeance. 3:26 after resuming play, Loui Eriksson (Third Star Markus Granlund) buried a wrister to pull Vancouver back within a goal, followed 2:40 later by a power play wrister from Brandon Sutter (Daniel Sedin and H. Sedin) to level the score. Once again Dallas took the lead, this time with a Roussel (Seguin) backhander with 8:11 remaining in regulation. That score held until 100 seconds remained on the clock. First Star Troy Stecher (Burrows and Horvat) scored the first goal of his career with a slap shot to force overtime.

Three-on-three play lasted only 1:27 before Granlund (Sutter) ended the game with a wrister, sealing the Canucks‘ come-from-behind victory.

Ryan Miller earns the victory after saving 17-of-21 shots faced (81%), forcing Kari Lehtonen to take the overtime loss, saving 25-of-30 (83.3%).

Vancouver‘s overtime victory sets the DtFR Game of the Day series at 21-11-3, favoring the home squads by 11 points over the roadies.

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