Cirelli, Anthony

NHL Game Night: 4-1-18 Predators at Lightning

Third Period collapse undermines Lightning effort.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 25 shots for the loss. It just wasn't good enough. The second goal allowed was an unlucky double deflection, so I won't fault him for that, but he didn't make the situational saves needed in the Third Period. It feels like Vasilevskiy hasn't been on top of his game for at least the last month or two and he's due. It's needed.

First Period
7:50 NSH Johansen (14), (Forsberg)

Second Period
2:46 NSH Forsberg (22), (Subban, Saros)(PP)
7:32 TB Palat (10), (Stralman)

Third Period
6:24 NSH Forsberg (23), (unassisted)
9:29 NSH Smith (23), (Ekholm, Subban)

Ondrej Palat was the game's third star.

At some point, if the Lightning are going to turn this around, they've got to get the payoff. As with the confrontation with Boston, I can honestly say that on balance the Lightning played well enough to win. Hell, through 40 minutes the Lightning were outshooting Nashville 24-13 even with Steven Stamkos leaving the game early with a presumed injury. Situational saves? Situational goals? Puck luck? The Lightning aren't getting any of those things, and they've got to get a result soon to payoff the increased focus and intensity they really seem to be putting into these games now.

All Dan Girardi needed on that third goal against was a matador's cape to make the scene complete. Horrible.

Anthony Cirelli was +1 with 2 shots and 2 hits and he was 50% on 12 draws in 13:54. He's been playing really well over the last week or two.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-30-18 Lightning at Rangers

Lightning restore order to their world by crushing their farm team.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 31 shots for the win. Made a handful of timely saves and eventually got to bathe in the deep, cool waters of sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
14:59 NYR Skej (4), (Buchenevich, Desharnais)

Second Period
3:15 TB Paquette (4), (Miller, Sergachev)
4:33 TB Killorn (15), (Cirelli, Hedman)

Third Period
0:35 TB Miller (22), (Hedman, Killorn)(PP)
1:53 TB Paquette (5), (Conacher, Kunitz)
2:38 TB Point (29), (Gourde)
8:14 NYR Chytil (1), (Zuccarello, Hayes)
16:31 NYR Kreider (16), (Zibanejad, Fast)
18:16 TB Point (30), (Gourde)(EN)
19:26 TB Girardi (5), (Paquette, Kunitz)(PP)

Cedric by God Paquette, J.T. Miller, and Alex Killorn were the game's three stars.

After the tough outcome last night the team had a little hangover in the First Period, but ultimately pulled it together to have another strong effort that keeps things pointing in the right direction heading toward the postseason. They were facing an overmatched Rangers team that, on paper, they should've trounced and that's ultimately exactly what they did.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:15 of ice time. He was also 60% on 20 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-29-18 Lightning at Bruins

Lightning can't overcome early mistakes and the referees to hold onto first place.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss. Dropped a pretty bad rebound in his crease on the first goal. Otherwise I have no big complaints, but that's a big situational save he needed to make.

First Period
19:02 BOS Schaller (12), (Wingels)
19:34 BOS Pastrnak (32), (Krug, Bergeron)(PP)

Second Period
1:44 TB Miller (21), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
11:59 BOS Bergeron (28), (Krug, Marchand)
13:54 TB Hedman (15), (Gourde, Girardi)
19:04 BOS Marchand (34), (Bergeron, Pastrnak)(EN)

The result and the fallout in the standings stings, but this felt like a turning point tonight. After 2-3 months of playing unfocused pond hockey and struggling to realign the team to get ready for the postseason, tonight was the first time the Lightning looked like they had really put their playoff faces on. It was a tight checking, physical game and the Lightning began paying a price in a way that they were laughably failing to do in the debacle against Arizona. Had some questionable officiating not interceded, the score of this game could've easily been flipped. The injustice of that officiating and the bitter taste of not getting a better result than the team deserved should carry over to Tuesday's return match in Tampa Bay. So, there's silver linings in this game, although the PK still looks horrible. I've never seen a four man box for a NHL team collapse down into what almost looks like a three man triangle at times so often. It's the gravest concern heading down the stretch into the playoffs.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots, but he got abused in the faceoff circles going 10% on 10 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-26-18 Coyotes at Lightning

Upstart Coyotes humiliate Lightning.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
10:45 AZ Murphy (1), (Martinook, Cousins)
17:22 AZ Chychrun (3), (Panik, Keller)(PP)

Third Period
10:28 AZ Perlini (17), (Strome, Connauton)
14:37 TB Kucherov (38), (Miller, Hedman)(PP)
19:52 AZ Keller (23), (Goligoski)(EN)

The Lightning got outshot 35-20 in their own barn by a young team that had nothing to play for but pride. 35-20? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Yeah, I guess Stamkos out day-to-day hurts the continuity, but c'mon. 35-20?

Now the scene turns to a high-stakes battle for control of the division against Boston on Thursday with the Lightning looking extremely mortal over the past couple of weeks. Put up or shut up time is fast approaching.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots and 2 hits in 7:37.

Anthony Cirelli was 47% on 17 draws in 17:53.

Adam Erne had 1 shot in 3:52.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-24-18 Lightning at Devils

Gritty Devils outlast Lightning.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the loss. I thought he dropped a pretty bad rebound in his crease on the first goal allowed and that ultimately was the margin in this one.

First Period
17:51 NJ Hischier (18), (Butcher, Mueller)

Second Period
10:59 NJ Palmieri (21), (Zacha, Hall)

Third Period
4:22 TB Palat (9), (Sergachev, Point)(PP)

New Jersey played last night so this game, on paper, should've been a schedule loss on paper for them. But they're trying to hang onto playoff position and they played a really high intensity, gritty game that the Lightning didn't match up to for 40 minutes. Between that and the fact Kincaid outplayed Vasilevskiy, the Lightning ended up on the wrong side of this one despite outshooting, outchancing, and outpossessing New Jersey for several stretches, especially in the Third Period.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots and 1 hit and was 54% on 13 draws in 14:04.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 9:43.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-22-18 Lightning at Islanders

Eighties night all over again.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 41 shots and still got a win.

First Period
2:09 TB Cirelli (3), (Coburn, Gourde)
2:35 TB Johnson (21), (Kunitz, Sergachev)
10:24 NYI Pulock (8), (Eberle, Tavares)(PP)
14:17 TB Hedman (14), (Point, Palat)

Second Period
2:43 TB Point (28), (Cirelli, McDonagh)(SH)
3:20 NYI Pulock (9), (Beauvillier, Eberle)(PP)
5:15 NYI Lee (37), (Bailey)
8:27 TB Miller (19), (Stamkos, Coburn)
11:22 TB Sergachev (9), (Gourde, Point)(PP)
18:20 TB Miller (20), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
1:35 NYI Lee (38), (Bailey, Tavares)(PP)
3:21 NYI Beauvillier (15), (Eberle)
4:36 NYI Beauvillier (16), (Boychuk, Barzal)

Brayden Point and J.T. Miller were the game's first and third stars.

Some stretches of mental laziness and poor turnovers made this game way closer than it should have been. Cooper's going to be spitting mad. He should be.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:14. He was also 31% on 13 draws.

Adam Erne played 9:45. Had a horrible turnover near his own blueline that led to an Islanders goal. He should feel shame for that one.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-20-18 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Lightning score four unanswered to maul Toronto's young psyche.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for his team record-setting 41st win of the campaign. Kind of a middle-of-the-road effort, but I'm alright with that. I'd rather Vasiy save one or two of his otherwordly hot streaks for the postseason, if possible.

First Period
15:06 TOR Van Riemsdyk (32), (Marner, Carrick)

Second Period
1:29 TOR Van Riemsdyk (33), (Bozak, Kadri)(PP)
15:41 TOR Hyman (14), (unassisted)
16:40 TB Hedman (13), (Stamkos, Erne)

Third Period
1:24 TB McDonagh (4), (Gourde, Sergachev)
3:32 TB Kucherov (37), (unassisted)
9:14 TB Killorn (14), (Cirelli, Gourde)

Ryan McDonagh and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning found themselves sorely outplayed for the first 35 minutes of this game to fall behind 3-0 before turning on the afterburners and leaving Toronto in the jet fumes. It wasn't an awful First Period for the Lightning from the standpoint of a ton of turnovers or odd man rushes, but they were outpossessed and they really started to loosen up and give up turnovers that cost them mightily in the Second Period. Hope came in the form of some good work by Adam Erne to help manufacture Victor Hedman's goal to slice the deficit to two goals heading into the Second Intermission. And then it was just blood in the water. The Third Period was a total squash as the Lightning found their groove and just ran over the Maple Leafs on the way to the victory.

The Lightning's Jekyll and Hyde performance points to something that is simultaneously exciting and terrifying about this team: I don't think they're capable of winning a game 2-1. If they get a goal, they're getting three or four. Conversely, it feels like if they surrender a goal, they're giving up three or four, too. The swings of momentum caused by goals for and against for this team are dramatic in both the positive and the negative direction. That means they're never out of a game and they're capable of explosive outbursts, but we haven't seen sixty minutes of detail-conscious hockey in forever, and that's something that we need to see in the postseason.

Cirelli had a helper and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 17:19. He was also 64% on 11 draws. After looking overwhelmed in the circles early in his callup he's started to find his way in the circles of late.

Erne had a helper, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 11:01. He's a guy who can be a momentum changer right now because he is so strong on the puck and on the cycle. He's a guy who can help you start to tilt the ice in your favor if he gets the puck down low below the dots in the zone.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 3-18-18 Oilers at Lightning

Tampa Bay gets back to basics.

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Louis Domingue allowed 1 goal 30 shots for the victory. After a puckhandling miscue that gifted Edmonton their first goal, Domingue settled in to have an excellent game. He made a slew of solid situational saves in the First Period and first half of the Second Period that allowed the Lightning the time they needed to eventually build a lead and win the game.

First Period
0:14 EDM Rattie (2), (unassisted)
15:12 TB Hedman (12), (Point)

Second Period
2:24 TB Kucherov (35), (Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
11:34 TB Kucherov (36), (Stamkos, Miller)

Domingue, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

Less than 24 hours after being humbled by a Bruins team that just seemed to be more disciplined and better at the detailed basics of the game, Tampa Bay began its road to redemption and to regain its swag. It wasn't easy after falling behind early on a soft goal on a puckhandling gaffe, and certainly the defense was too loosey goosey in the opening 20-30 minutes of the game overall. But rather than trying to win another 80's style hockey game, the Lightning seemed resolved to win this one the right way and they simply got stronger and stronger in their team game as the contest wore on. They manufactured a goal off a faceoff. They got their power play functional again. The penalty kill actually didn't allow a power play goal. And they potted an insurance goal built on a relentless cycle that made Edmonton wither under the pressure. Yes, it's just Edmonton, but it's something the Lightning needed as a stepping stone as they continue this pre-postseason portion of the schedule.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot and was 56% on 9 draws in 11:41.

Adam Erne played 8:20.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-17-18 Bruins at Lightning

Lightning get a glipse of how tall the mountain is.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss. The Lightning could've used at least one more big situational save to at least give themselves a chance in the game, but there's not a lot of blame you can heap Vasiy's way in this travesty.

First Period
3:07 BOS Pastrnak (28), (Krug, McQuaid)
10:54 BOS Backes (12), (Krug, Marchand)(PP)

Second Period
12:33 BOS Riley Nash (14), (Rick Nash, Krug)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Boston's been arguably the best team in hockey over the past couple of months while the Lightning have been skating by with some bad habits on talent alone. Tonight those chickens came home to roost and the Lightning have to confront a pretty daunting fact: they have a ton to do over the next dozen or so games to get ready for the playoffs or they risk getting bounced hard when they get there. Boston was actually playing without four of their regulars, and then lost David Backes to a leg laceration to boot, and still completely humiliated the Lightning with a clinical victory that highlighted the differences between the two sides.

Boston has a structure, their players understand their roles, and they play that structure and those roles with discipline. They don't shirk their responsibilities. The Lightning coaching staff has a structure, but these players don't always seem to accept their roles and they don't play with discipline. Too many times you see forwards flying the zone and hanging their defensemen out to dry. Too many times you see the resulting turnovers and the Lightning's inability to sort out defensive zone coverage in those moments. They can't win faceoffs. Their penalty kill is a disaster.

People treated the McDonagh acquisition as if it was the panacea. It likely wasn't. People are already making Ondrej Palat's return the new panacea. It won't be either. The only elixir for what we saw tonight was for these players to recommit and buy into the structure and their roles and to begin to play that structure and those roles with greater discipline. It's just that simple, and conversely, just that complex.

Anthony Cirelli had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 10:47. He was also 60% on 5 draws.

Adam Erne had 2 shots, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:27. He was, perhaps, the only silver lining in this otherwise appalling game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-13-18 Senators at Lightning

Lightning come up snake eyes despite Miller's hat trick.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 29 shots for the loss before Peter Budaj came in and allowed 1 goal on 4 shots the rest of the way. Vasilevskiy was just snake bitten and Budaj looked extremely rusty in relief.

First Period
4:19 TB Miller (16), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
7:47 OTT Paajarvi (7), (Pyatt, Pageau)
10:47 OTT Dzingel (20), (Gaborik, Ceci)(PP)
11:24 OTT Pyatt (7), (Ceci, Borowiecki)

Second Period
2:03 TB Miller (17), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
7:18 OTT Gaborik (9), (Dzingel, Burrows)(PP)
13:44 OTT Hoffman (20), (Burgdoerfer, Duchene)
16:26 TB Miller (18), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
18:30 OTT Karlsson (8), (unassisted)

Third Period
3:46 OTT Hoffman (21), (Karlsson, Duchene)
12:44 TB McDonagh (3), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

J.T. Miller was the game's second star.

Jon Cooper was decidedly less charitable to his players after the game, citing poor defensive coverage, turnovers, etc., but I'm willing to just accept this was one of those unlucky nights where you get rolled by a string of bad bounces despite putting 46 shots on a team and scoring 4 goals. Flush it. Burn the tape. Get ready for Boston.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 12:43. He was also 33% on 9n draws.

Adam Erne was -1 with 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:11. He lost his fight pretty decisively when McCormick tied up his arm at the outset of the fight and left Erne pretty vulnerable throughout the bout.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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