Cernak, Erik

NHL Game Night: 12-13-18 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Vasilevskiy returns and dominates.

TOR-1
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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 49 shots for the victory, tying a Lightning single game record for saves. There were at least two saves in this game that were worthy save-of-the-year candidates for the league. He's the ultimate hole card for this team. Even if you can outplay the 18 guys in front of him, you've still got to deal with Vasiy. Good luck with that.

First Period
5:26 TOR Kapanen (12), (unassisted)
8:20 TB Cirelli (9), (Callahan)(SH)

Second Period
5:31 TB Kucherov (13), (Hedman, Miller)(PP)
19:24 TB Killorn (7), (Cirelli, Miller)
19:58 TB Johnson (13), (Kucherov, Girardi)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Vasilevskiy, Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

Not the Lightning's best effort, primarily because they got into penalty trouble that accounted for 15 of the Leafs' shots tonight. That gave the Leafs the momentum, which compounded issues the Lightning were having with some sloppy puck management early on in the game. I don't feel the SOG's are completely indicative of the run of play, but it's certainly easy to say the Lightning can and probably will do better next time these two teams cross paths.

Tampa Bay pulls eight points clear of Toronto for the Atlantic Division lead with the win. Eight straight wins and nine of the last 10: If the Lightning can keep it rolling through this upcoming road trip, Tampa Bay could be in a pretty difficult to catch position at the midway point of the campaign.

Cirelli had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:38. He was also 46% on 24 draws. His shorthanded goal in the First Period was not only a thing of beauty on the breakaway, but it was a key moment that helped keep the Lightning in the game while they were facing a bit of an early onslaught.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 3 hits in 7:37 subbing in for the nicked up Joseph.

Erik Cernak had 2 shots and 5 hits in 20:31 as well as 2 penalty minutes. The nasty way Cernak physically disposed of Kadri in the Third Period to create a 2-on-1 was a moment that I suspect dozens, if not hundreds, of other hockey players wish they could've done to Kadri themselves. Disposed of him like yesterday's garbage.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-10-18 Rangers at Lightning

Lightning wear out weary Rangers.

NYR-3
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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the win. Slip into some goal support and get comfortable.

First Period
12:19 NYR Hayes (6), (Strome, Namestnikov)
14:09 TB Stamkos (13), (Hedman, Miller)(PP)
15:07 NYR Hayes (7), (Vesey)

Second Period
6:19 TB Stamkos (14), (Hedman, Point)(PP)
12:42 TB McDonagh (3), (Point, Kucherov)

Third Period
10:17 TB Cirelli (7), (Cernak)
10:41 TB Stamkos (15), (Palat, Coburn)
17:34 NYR Fast (3), (Chytil)
19:21 TB Cirelli (8), (Killorn, Miller)(EN)

Steven Stamkos and Ryan McDonagh were the game's first and third stars. Stamkos with the hat trick and his 700th NHL point, as well as setting the Lightning record for hat tricks with nine of them.

I give the young Rangers some credit for hanging around as long as they did in this game. As mismatched as they are on paper, to lose a d-man and have to play short in the back was just a death sentence against this deep Lightning team. They were running on fumes in the Third Period when Cirelli finally unlocked the flood gates, and that was all she wrote.

Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot and 2 hits in 10:45.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 goals and was +2 with 5 shots and 1 hit in 16:16. He was also 50% on 10 draws. Great individual play to force the turnover and then deke Lundqvist on the key goal in the game. He's suddenly got eight goals on the campaign and he might start flirting with a 20 goal pace, too.

Erik Cernak had a helper and was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 4 shots, and 2 hits in 15:42. His IT went lower tonight due to the fight he won against Beleskey, and he seemed really assertive offensively tonight. He's really showing surprising ability on that end of the rink given he's never really been a big point producer in junior or the AHL. It helps when you play with McDonagh, which is a heck of a security blanket for a young player. Guy Boucher might've called that "psychological safety."

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-8-18 Avalanche at Lightning

No mercy.

COL-1
TB-7

Louis Domingue allowed 1 very soft goal on 30 shots for the victory. It didn't matter. This team in playing like a juggernaut.

First Period
3:05 TB Stamkos (11), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
13:15 TB Stamkos (12), (unassisted)
14:14 COL MacKinnon (20), (Landeskog, Rantanen)
16:26 TB Johnson (12), (Point, Girardi(

Second Period
2:00 TB Killorn (6), (Gourde, Stamkos)
7:59 TB Palat (1), (Stamkos, Sergachev)
10:01 TB Cirelli (6), (Coburn)

Third Period
3:29 TB Palat (2), (Johnson, Miller)(PP)

Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. My goodness, just when you thought the Lightning couldn't get any more potent, Ondrej Palat jumps up and scores his first couple of goals of the campaign. Imagine if Palat starts playing vintage Palat 200-foot hockey and contributing regularly.

This year feels different. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to jinx it. Just... this year feels different.

Mathieu Joseph had 3 shots in 15:57. If he starts routinely getting ~15 minutes a night it'll be interesting to see if his production scales up accordingly.

Anthony Cirelli had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:46. He was also 57% on 7 draws.

Erik Cernak had 2 shots and 6 hits in 19:36.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-6-18 Bruins at Lightning

Lightning close out third 10-game segment of the season with a Third Period flourish.

BOS-2
TB-3

Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 35 shots for the win. I think having a little rest by getting the night off against Detroit did him a lot of good. He just looked sharper and more comfortable tonight. Rested and ready.

First Period
2:04 BOS Pastrnak (20), (Cave)
14:59 TB Point (21), (Kucherov, Johnson)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
2:40 TB Joseph (9), (Killorn, Girardi)
4:03 TB Cirelli (5), (unassisted)(SH)
18:15 BOS Krejci (3), (Pastrnak, Backes)

Mathieu Joseph and Domingue were the game's first and second stars.

It was a 50/50 game for 40 minutes, and then the Lightning just flipped the switch and absolutely seemed to take over in the Third Period. The shot totals don't reflect it because of late score effects, but Tampa Bay seemed to just blow the doors off Boston when money time came.

With 30 games in the books the Lightning now have 45 points, meaning they're a stylish 9 points ahead of minimum pace to make the playoffs. That's good stuff as they reset going into the fourth 10-game segment with the task of once again trying to get at least 12 points over this next stretch. 12 in 10, do it again.

Joseph had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:00. Tonight was a big IT game for him and he still only got 13 minutes, which is remarkable when you consider he's flirting with a 20 goal pace on 11-12 minutes of ice time a night. Beautiful finish in tight to slip it through Rask in close quarters tonight.

Anthony Cirelli had a SH goal and was +2 with 1 shot and 1 hit and he was 70% on 10 draws. He absolutely abused Rask on the deke for his shorthander.

Erik Cernak had 1 shot and 4 hits in 20:00 flat.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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