Well, anyone who saw my fanpost knows that I now reside in Tampa and was looking for someone to come to this game with me. I had a Subway voucher for two $5 dollar tickets good for a few select dates and tonight was one of them. Unfortunately, my roommate who had said he would go to the game with me came home sick from work and couldn't make it. Fortunately, while I was waiting in line for my $5 ticket, a guy with two corporate tickets that he got from a family member was selling his second ticket for $20. It was a $220 seat, Row B (second row) in the corner to Anderson's right for the first and third periods. And VIP club: Free alcohol!
So, some of my thoughts/observations from the game:
- I parked in a nearby downtown parking garage for $5. Most of the downtown garages and parking lots by the St. Pete Times Forum were charging that much. Not bad.
- I saw a #28 unipron in the stands. I didn't get a chance to see the back of the jersey. But, I can only assume that it was the jersey of old friend Ben Guite.
- Duchene was fantastic. Yes, he scored both goals. But, I'm talking about his stick work in close. It is world class.
- I was right next to the tunnel that the Avalanche came out of. It was also the same exit that I took to the bar. So, I got to see our boys entering/exiting the ice every period.
- The veteran players (Foote, Hannan, Liles, Tucker) were the last on to the ice.
- Liles was the last off of the ice as he congratulated his teammates.
- Sacco, Kono, and Sly all seemed to be in good humor coming back to the bench to start the third.
- Like many rinks, the St. Pete Times Forum doesn't have a bench big enough to accommodate the back up goalie. So, Budaj was just a stone's throw away sitting on a stool in the tunnel.
- Hejduk came and chatted with Budaj for almost the entire second period. He was wearing a long sleeve shirt and shorts and was sweated from probably riding a stationary bike. And his knee injury? He had both ankles wrapped, with a noticeable pack wrapped against the inside of his right ankle.
- Budaj and I had a moment. Well, a couple of them: First, as I was returning to my seat, clad in my too-small-for-me Patrick Roy Avalanche Jersey, beer in hand and smile on my face, we exchanged smiles and nods. Second, when the boys were coming out to start the third, Budaj was one of the last players in the line and I called out, "can't wait to see you again, Budaj!" To which he replied with another nod, smile, and a "Thank you."
- I also yelled out to Duchene to "get a hat-trick!" The damn kid didn't listen.
- Bud Light Golden Wheat is...not bad. It's no Blue Moon. But, it was free.
- A couple of lady Lightning fans wore some Lightning blue shirts with "We love Koci" written across them. Must've been a piece of local merch from last season. They stood by the tunnel and cheered on the big man when he came out. They can have him. But, I played along like we love him, too. I mean, they were pretty cute after all. And that's what's important, right?
- The guy who sold me the ticket said that in the Lightning's first year of operation, he bought season tickets for $99 a piece. That's less than half of the face value for the ticket that I had to tonight's game!
- For the third period, I slid down a row. Right up against the glass with a couple of old timers in Lightning jerseys who had print outs of the game notes and were writing down tonight's scorers. They were both very, very impressed with Craig Anderson. He was everything that the Avalanche needed him to be tonight.
- Antero Niitymaki was solid. Yes, the first goal that he let up was one that snuck through him and he should have had. The second one was just a sick play by Duchene in following up on his own shot. But, he played well enough to give his team a chance to win.
- The crowd was pretty weak. After the Avs were up 2-0, one of the old guys said, "if they score again, this place is gonna clear out." To which I replied, "this place is only 1/3 full anyways."
- AD was right: reception does suck in that building.