Stanley Cup Finals: Game 1

Well, it wasn't pretty. Not at all.

But don't panic.

In this 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, a lot of things didn't go the Lightning's way. But that's not to say that the Lightning didn't make their share of mistakes either.

The first goal was lucky. Khabby should have had that. As for the second one... Iginla's shorthanded breakaway was a puck that bounced over Fredrik Modin's stick in the offensive zone. If the puck had landed on Freddy's stick, we could have been talking a Lightning goal and a 1-1 game. Instead, it's a 2-0 game and a momentum killer.

I don't believe in relying on ifs, ands or buts, however. San Jose, Detroit and Vancouver did enough of that to fall to the Flames. The Lightning came out strong in the first period, a period that was not reflected well by the score. Perhaps the frustration got to the Bolts, as the second period was an absolute disaster. The Lightning played well in the third period, but could only muster one goal from Marty St. Louis. Regardless, you can't expect to win by playing 40 minutes of a 60 minute game. The Lightning might have lead in shots and scoring opportunities, but they had the lowest number where it counted.

Here's what I feel the Lightning need to do if they want to take control of game 2:

1. Khabby needs to step it up. The first goal was cheap. Iginla's breakaway started off with a fantastic save, but Khabby lost sight of the puck and Iginla grabbed his own rebound to put it in easily. Still, in the battle of the goalies, Khabby was outperformed by Kippur.

2. Defensive zone turnovers. Too many of 'em. The Flames might not have scored on any turnovers tonight, but a turnover takes the team from clearing the puck out of the zone to handing the puck to the other team. It changes momentum and affects the outcome of the game. And Calgary will capitalize on them better as the series goes on.

3. Concentrate, boys. The Lightning seemed to have a lack of focus following the first goal. Following the disheartening goal by Iginla, it seemed as though all motivation was lost. A stark contrast from the strong start the Lightning saw in the opening minutes. Consistency is key, and it was lacking tonight. Martin St. Louis led the charge for the Lightning in the third period by giving his all, and he got a goal for his efforts, but the rest of the team seemed as though they couldn't put in the effort St. Louis did. And the results showed.

Taking a split at home isn't a bad thing based on Calgary's home ice performance in the playoffs. Game 2 is going to be a crucial one for the Bolts if they want to get back into this series. I say we need more of the Hulkster to kick off the festivities once again. Heck, it's worked up until now.

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2003 - 2005
Reverend Hughes