The swell of team pride, the excitement of scoring goals, have become all but distant memories for me. Oh, I have stubbornly hung on and still call the Tampa Bay Lightning my team, but as the years pass and the dust of Stanley Cup memories becomes thicker (and more melancholy), my head hangs a little lower each time I watch them play, and frankly, I’m downright embarrassed to admit I am still a fan.
Right off the bat, it was a whole new ballgame. Instead of letting the other team slam puck after puck into the net while they skated idly around playing tiddly-winks, the Lightning held the Pittsburgh Penguins off and then even took the lead. I tried not to let get my hopes up too high. The Lightning have a habit of pissing away their leads and still losing by roughly one million points.
As the game entered the third period and the Penguins still had not been able to score, I let myself get excited. I cheered, I bounced around like a hyper child who consumed 50 chocolate bars, I taunted Sidney Crosby about being shut out by the worst team in the NHL. I counted down the final seconds and then simply basked in the long-lost, barely-remembered sensation of an awesome hockey game.
Mike Smith left the game with his 10th career shutout, making 27 saves in this game.
According to the Lightning’s website, this was Tampa’s first win in Pittsburgh since December 23, 2008.
It was a great game, a wonderful feeling to not only win but have a shut-out, and to shut out Pittsburgh, home of the wildly annoying pretty boy Sidney Crosby? Delicious!