We punched our ticket to the playoffs even with this loss, but it's a drag to let Tampa Bay pull even with us with a game in hand. Obviously, it would have been much better to take that four point lead that was there for the taking.
1) Carey is ready for the playoffs, the injury, whatever it was, that kept him out of action after the Olympics no longer a factor.
2) I think we match up well with the Lightning generally, in that we can skate with them, and won't get pushed around by them, an eventuality we obsess over when we play the Leafs, Sens and obviously the Bruins.
3) To have a chance though, we'll need to approach the 'three scoring lines' identity we sought at the beginning of the season. If the Desharnais line shoots blanks like it did tonight, the other lines will have to contribute. And that's difficult when Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, René Bourque, Tomas Plekanec, among others, are slumping or flat-lining.
4) Our number 1 line seemed to play it too cute again, with pretty, unnecessary passes to each other that went nowhere. I was happy to see David deke his way through the defence and take a good shot on net at one point though. His game is to pass first, opponents know that and expect it, so if he pulls this move a little more often he'll catch the opposition napping.
5) The Douglas Murray elbow on Mike Kostka will draw a big suspension. I was surprised that the TSN panel was guessing three or four games, whereas RDS was thinking the rest of the season and possibly into the playoffs. The RDS guys were judging based on the reprehensibility of the act, whereas the TSN boys went with prior history, showing other mondo elbows that only netted the assailant three or four games.
The NHL is bush league.
6) Thinking back to Mike Kostka's oeuvre last season, when he doled out crosschecks to the chin of various Canadiens forwards and slashed liberally, emboldened by the presence of various goons on his team, I couldn't help but think of the incident as guy-who-shouldn't-be-in-the-league on guy-who-shouldn't-be-in-the-league violence. If the NHL was about hockey and skill, and not size and toughness and restraint of trade, so to speak, neither Douglas or Mr. Kostka would have a job.
7) All those observers who are so much more insightful than Michel Therrien and Jean-Jacques Daigneault will get their wish, and see much more of Jarred Tinordi. I hope he does well down the stretch and solidifies his standing in the roster. The kid has way more upside than Douglas Murray, obviously, we just don't want to burn him out by throwing him out there before he's ready.
The Leafs, for one team, seem to every couple of years have this miraculous rookie defenceman who shows so much promise so early in his career, and who the coaching staff puts on the first pairing and squeezes a lot out of, until he collapses onto himself and white-dwarfs his career (and hello to you, Carlo Colaiacovo).
8) What's with Ryan White's hair? Big change for my boy, he looks like he's headed out to audition for a boy band with that coiffe.