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Cirelli, Anthony

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

Lightning get a glipse of how tall the mountain is.

BOS-3
TB-0

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.

OTT-7
TB-4

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.

NHL Game Day: 3-10-18 Canadiens at Lightning

The pre-postseason began today.

MTL-2
TB-3 (SO)

Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 29 shots before stopping 3 of 4 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. He was very good in this game and, while I don't get a vote in these things, I feel like he's clearly won the backup job in Budaj's absence and deserves to keep it.

First Period
4:10 MTL Lehkonen (6), (Hudon, Reilly)(PP)
13:43 TB Johnson (20), (Sergachev, Gourde)(PP)

Second Period
3:00 MTL Galchenyuk (16), (Hudon)

Third Period
13:43 TB Kucherov (34), (Stamkos, Miller)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
MTL- Drouin
TB- Point, Kucherov

Tyler Johnson and J.T. Miller were the game's first and third stars.

After a week or two of playing with an improvised, standby lineup the Lightning finally got to debut a healthy Ryan McDonagh this afternoon (even in 19:15 of hockey). So, after this game, Tampa Bay now has 13 games to tune up their lineup and get everyone settled into their roles ahead of the playoffs. Call this the pre-postseason. Today's pre-postseason contest featured a little bit of a flat, sleepy start for the Lightning against a shockingly bad on offense Montreal side that continues to struggle to find the back of the net. I don't know if it was planned that way, but if I was going to choose where to debut McDonagh to try to inspire confidence against a run of 80's hockey style scoring fests, this would've been the one to do it in. Overall the defense has been better the past couple of games with room yet to improve. One of the quiet contributors to that, in my opinion, has been the recall of Jake Dotchin from Chateau au Bow Wow. Bottom line: the Ligtning's issues on defense on the right side still exist so they need Dotchin to start playing like he did down the stretch of last season. It makes everything else slot out better for this team, especially if the Lightning (I hope) eventually swap Stralman onto McDonagh's pair in lieu of Dan Girardi who probably shouldn't be playing second pair minutes 5v5 in the playoffs at this stage of his career.

Other things I don't get a vote on: if there's a way for the Lightning to get out from under Killorn's contract to keep J.T. Miller on the team they should find it.

Tampa Bay hits 100 points with 13 games left to go in the campaigns. Many club records are about to go down and go down hard.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:45. He was also 17% on 6 draws.

Adam Erne had 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 3 hits in 9:49. At least one of those hits was of the "bone jarring" variety.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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

Lightning and Flyers tilt the pinball machine.

PHI-6
TB-7 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 43 shots before stopping both shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the SO win. It was 80's throwback day at Amalie Arena.

First Period
7:08 PHI Patrick (10), (Giroux, Voracek)(PP)
8:16 TB Stamkos (26), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)
14:30 PHI Voracek (14), (Patrick)
18:07 PHI Hagg (3), (Laughton, Provorov)

Second Period
5:57 TB Hedman (10), (Stamkos, Kucherov)
12:47 TB Girardi (4), (Stamkos, Hedman)
16:15 PHI Lehtera (2), (Weal, Filppula)

Third Period
1:06 PHI Provorov (12), (Filppula)
4:23 TB Miller (14), (Gourde, Point)
7:38 TB Stamkos (27), (Kucherov, Killorn)
10:03 TB Hedman (11), (Stamkos)
17:07 PHI Giroux (23), (Couturier, Provorov)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
PHI- NONE
TB- Point, Stamkos

Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman were the game's first and second stars.

No doubt this game shaved years off the coaching staff's collective life, but you have to give credit to this team for at least having the fighting spirit to battle back from a two goal Third Period deficit to eventually grind out a win. If this were post-McDonoagh debut I'd be a lot more upset, but given the team is still playing with a bit of an improvised lineup I'll take the "W" and the entertainment value, and let's keep it moving.

Now sitting on a ripe 94 points, the Lightning are just a win shy of hitting that unofficial 96 point mark that should clinch a postseason appearance. If they can clinch that mark in their next contest that gives them a stylish 15 games to get tuned up for a potential deep playoff run.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 9:24. He was also 29% on 7 draws.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 shot in 9:40.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-1-18 Lightning at Stars

Lightning win another wild one before heading home for a critical stretch at Amalie.

TB-5
DAL-4 (OT)

Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the OT win. Honestly should've had a regulation win the Dallas getting the tying goal on a play where Seguin pitchforked Domingue into the net with about 4 seconds left on the clock.

First Period
1:02 TB Point (26), (Miller)
11:05 DAL Seguin (33), (Benn, Radulov)(PP)

Second Period
8:13 DAL Seguin (34), (Klingberg, Lindell)
9:20 TB Cirelli (1), (Hedman, Kunitz)
13:53 TB Killorn (12), (Paquette, Cirelli)
16:08 TB Stamkos (25), (Miller)

Third Period
1:50 DAL Ritchie (5), (Dickinson, Elie)
19:56 DAL Janmark (17), (Seguin, Faksa)

Overtime
4:19 TB Conacher (8), (unassisted)

Cory Conacher was the game's first star after scoring the winning goal coming down the right wing one on one for a backhander where he then batted the rebound out of mid air over Bishop's shoulder while sliding into the boards for the winner. An improbable goal for an improbable pair of opponents.

It was another gritty win for this group playing a makeshift lineup a la two games ago against the Maple Leafs. This one was keyed in large part by the energy and strong play by newcomer J.T. Miller and the NHL debut of young Anthony Cirelli. With the Lightning now on 92 points they move to within a mere four points of that magic 96 point threshold we look at as what you need to clinch a playoff berth.

So, with that said, the Lightning are about to go home for eight straight games at Amalie. My guess is they'll get Kucherov back from being out for two games with an upper body injury and we'll see the Lightning debut of McDonagh. So, this homestand is going to be critical not so much from a standings standpoint, but from the standpoint that the coaching staff has a lot of work to do to figure out the ideal pairings and roles for their newly constituted roster. One thing I loved tonight: they put Miller on the Point line. Miller's an Erik Cole style power winger with speed. Putting him with Point creates space for Brayden, and Point only needs a sliver of daylight to break open a game.

Cirelli's NHL debut featured 1 goal, 1 assist, and a +2 rating on 1 shot and 2 hits in 8:14. He was also 38% on 8 draws. He showed good speed and, above all, very good positioning and awareness for the full 200 feet of the rink. You just see the smart two-way game right away.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 hit in 13:19. Got caught spectating on Dallas' third goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 2-28-18 Crunch at Marlies

Crunch clip division leading Marlies to keep the streak hot.

SYR-4
TOR-3 (OT)

Eddie Pasquale allowed 3 goals on 47 shots for the victory.

First Period
15:55 TOR Smith (22), (Johnsson, Timashov)

Second Period
0:23 SYR Cirelli (13), (Joseph, Dumont)
5:19 SYR Cirelli (14), (Thomas, Dumont)

Third Period
2:35 SYR Yan (10), (Dumont, Bodie)
9:27 TOR Borgman (2), (Smith, Liljegren)
19:27 TOR Mueller (14), (Smith, Johnsson)(PP)

Overtime
0:43 SYR Joseph (10), (Pasquale)

Anthony Cirelli and Gabriel Dumont were the game's first and second stars. Mathieu Joseph had the end to end rush for the GWG, as well.

Syracuse escaped the deadline with no subtractions while also gaining the services of Gabriel Dumont off re-entry waivers just before the deadline. They now have a five point lead on third place in the North Division and are seven points back of the Marlies for the top spot.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-26-18 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Before the new acquisitions come, Tampa Bay plays a wild one for the fun of it.

TOR-3
TB-4 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 30 shots before stopping all 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. Stopped a Third Period penalty shot. Stopped an OT breakaway. Was a one man kill on a Second Period 5-on-3 PK. No complaints here.

First Period
1:41 TB Kunitz (11), (Sustr, Stamkos)
8:49 TOR Van Riemsdyk (26), (Hainsey, Rielly)
9:52 TOR Marner (17), (Gardiner, Zaitsev)

Second Period
3:52 TB Johnson (18), (Gourde)
15:18 TB Erne (2), (unassisted)

Third Period
5:27 TOR Bozak (10), (Marner, Rielly)(PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- NONE
TB- Point

Yanni Gourde and Adam Erne were the game's first and third stars.

Fun game. Wild game. The Lightning entered the game without the services of the departed Vlad Namestnikov with new acquisitions McDonagh and Miller still en route. Toronto was without the services of Austen Matthews, which was quickly balanced by the departure of Nikita Kucherov with an upper body injury. So, the script got thrown out early and this just ended up being a fast, physical, intense hockey game. Lots of goalmouth thrills. Lots of near misses. Some intrigue when Tyler Johnson left the game taking a refs skate to his leg, dropping Tampa Bay to just 9 forwards at one point. Crazy. Ultimately Vasilevskiy was the difference, with an assist to the all-powerful Espo Rule.

Brayden Point is pure filth in the shootout.

By my math, the Lightning need just about 7 points more to punch their ticket for the postseason.

Now we move into the final 19 games of the year with the Lightning coaching staff having the considerable challenge of integrating McDonagh and Miller into the squad. The Lightning came into the trade deadline needing a faceoff man, a right handed D, and some PK help. You could argue they've addressed all three to varying degrees, but it's going to fall on Bowness, in particular, to make some oddly fitting pieces all work. I think, most obviously, the Lightning PK will be way better following these deals and soon they'll get Ondrej Palat too, which will also help. That's the most obvious hole that got filled today. The RHD spot is a little more iffy. The Lightning have a very solid #1 and #2 LHD situation, and I suspect with Hedman as the clear top pair guy, McDonagh can get his time trimmed down from the 23-24 minutes he was playing in New York to more reasonable levels in the regular season that'll keep him fresher and healthier. Problem is, the only RHD they have you can absolutely trust is Stralman. The coaching staff will surely also tell you Girardi, as a well-seasoned vet, is dependable, but I would tell you only on well-managed levels of ice time. So I'll just throw this out there: time to move Sergachev to RHD and have him play his off hand. It's not an odd thing for European players, and particularly Russians, to do. It makes for better passing and shooting angles for an offensive-minded d-man. I think it's worth an experiment. Whatever the Lightning choose to do, with Hedman and McDonagh in the fold they now can be assured of having a #1 caliber d-man on the rink 45-50 minutes out of every 60 minute game. That doesn't stink. Last, faceoffs. Welp, here's where the fix is probably the shakiest. Miller is 54% on draws this year, which is nice, but he's just 49% for his career. It might be an addition by subtraction situation, though, because Namestnikov might well have been the worst faceoff man the Lightning had.

The loss of Howden and Hajek in the deal isn't insignificant, but it's also not a death knell for the Lightning prospect system. They have excellent centermen like Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Cirelli performing well in Syracuse and with Dominik Masin quietly having a whale of a season for the Crunch, the situation at LHD still looks good, too.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 shots in 7:49.

Erne had a goal and was +2 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 14:57. He played a heck of a game on a strong forechecking line with Gourde and Johnson. Very strong on the puck and on the cycle.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-27-18 Marlies at Crunch

Johnsson's natural hat trick sinks Crunch.

TOR-4
SYR-2

Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the loss.

First Period
2:57 TOR Mueller (9), (Moore, Rychel)(PP)
16:05 SYR Cirelli (9), (Joseph, Archambault)

Second Period
6:23 TOR Johnsson (18), (Valiev)
10:14 TOR Johnsson (19), (Kapanen, Holl)
13:44 TOR Johnsson (20), (Kapanen, Holl)

Third Period
19:04 SYR Volkov (12), (Stephens, McBain)

If you're looking for silver linings, Anthony Cirelli maintained a five game point streak since returning to the lineup from injury.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-26-18 Senators at Crunch

Crunch's young guns continue to roll on.

BEL-2
SYR-5

Connor Ingram allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the victory. He's 8-2-1 since taking over as Syracuse's starter with Domingue up top in Tampa Bay.

First Period
1:56 SYR Cirelli (8), (Joseph, Bodie)
15:28 SYR Tammela (3), (Bodie, Volkov)

Second Period
1:09 SYR Archambault (3), (Cirelli, Joseph)

Third Period
0:52 BEL Burgdoerfer (4), (Hogberg)(PP)
4:03 SYR Thomas (3), (Bodie, Tammela)
6:04 BEL Burgdoerfer (5), (McCormick, Doornbosch)
17:02 SYR Stephens (16), (unassisted)(EN)

Mathieu Joseph, Anthony Cirelli, and Mat Bodie were the game's three stars. Jonne Tammela (The Cobra!) chipped in his first multi-point game of the campaign, as well.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-19-18 Marlies at Crunch

Erne-less Crunch drop key game against division-leading Marlies.

TOR-4
SYR-1

Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the loss.

First Period
2:25 TOR Moore (6), (Mueller, Rychel)(PP)

Second Period
4:30 TOR Smith (18), (Kapanen, Liljegren)(PP)
10:08 SYR Stephens (14), (Cirelli, Yan)(PP)
15:54 TOR Greening (9), (Marchment, Moore)

Third Period
16:41 TOR Johnsson (16), (Moore)(PP)(EN)

Mitchell Stephens was the game's second star after scoring his team-leading 14th goal of his rookie pro campaign.

Syracuse got Anthony Cirelli and Dennis Yan back in the lineup, but with Adam Erne still nicked up the Syracuse attack continued to sputter tonight against the division leaders from Toronto.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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