Lightning put on a clinic against young Oilers.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. It was a lighter night for Bishop, in terms of workload, punctuated by a handful of important situational saves.
4:26 TB Palat (12), (Kucherov)
0:16 TB Palat (13), (Johnson, Kucherov)
10:17 EDM Pakarrinen (1), (Klefbom, Larsson)
0:49 TB Kucherov (22), (Stralman, Johnson)
19:59 TB Namestnikov (8), (Kucherov)(EN)
Big ups to the rare time a Jon Cooper coaching challenge actually worked to nullify an Edmonton Third Period goal after a super-sloppy 4-on-4 sequence where the team gave up possession way too easily in that situation.
Jake Dotchin had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 21:30.
Gabriel Dumont had 1 hit and was 75% on 4 draws in 8:41.
Drouin Magic sends the Lightning to the mile high pay windah.
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the OT victory. Obviously, as with Vasiy last night, you'd have loved one more situational save to seal a regulation win, but the deflection goal at the end of regulation was pretty freakishly unlucky.
18:18 TB Point (8), (Killorn, Hedman)
10:09 TB Namestnikov (7), (Filppula, Boyle)
2:46 COL Rantanen (13), (Comeau, Duchene)
19:18 COL Duchene (16), (Barrie, MacKinnon)
2:27 TB Drouin (17), (unassisted)
This was a weird game. Both teams are struggling and I thought the game was a little bit sluggish all night long. The Lightning carried the balance of the play and after the soft goal surrendered to Namestnikov they had ample opportunity to get the put-away goal and build a 3 goal advantage headed into the final frame. But, they failed to do so and Colorado got some puck luck to eventually tie the game late in regulation. They Jonathan Drouin made a play that forced veteran Lightning beat writer Erik Erlendsson to burn the internet down with profanity. Good times.
Looking at the team's diagnostic goals, it was another productive night at the office for Brayden Point potting his 8th goal and further cementing his partnership with Drouin. With an offseason working on his upper body strength and his shot, you can probably think about inking Point onto a line with Jonathan and Kucherov on Stamkos'. That's good stuff.
Jake Dotchin was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 3 hits in 20:01.
Gabriel Dumont had 1 hit in 8:27 and was 50% on 6 draws.
Lightning see the second point stolen by Roussel's deal with the devil.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss. I'd have liked to have seen him less deep in his net on the third goal and squarer to the shooter. Other than that, I don't think he had much of a chance on the goals against, although you'd obviously have liked to have seen him make one more big situational save to secure the second point somewhere along the way.
3:07 TB Hedman (9), (Boyle, Dotchin)
11:59 TB Johnson (17), (Point, Hedman)(PP)
12:50 DAL Roussel (9), (Hamhuis, Seguin)
18:50 DAL Roussel (10), (Seguin, Eaves)
9:46 TB Hedman (10), (Johnson, Palat)(PP)
4:40 DAL Roussel (11), (Seguin, Sharp)
3:47 DAL Ja. Benn (20), (Eakin)
Victor Hedman was the game's second star.
In normal circumstances, I'd probably have been alright with the game tonight. Kudos to the coaching staff for having the team ready to go tonight. I expected them to be flat coming off their "bye week", but other than Nikita Kucherov being MIA tonight I was generally happy with the effort level. They dominated large swaths of the game and only a bizarre night where Antoine Roussel played way above his abilities really pushed this game past regulation. Unfortunately, giving the Lightning's situation in the standings, every point lost pushes them that much closer to the golf course.
As I've said before, the remainder of this season is really an important diagnostic period for the Lightning to see how much they can trust some of their young guys to take bigger roles next season. Vasilevskiy's performance was a bit of a push tonight, but I thought Brayden Point was dynamite tonight. He's forming really nice chemistry with Jonathan Drouin and that gives the Lightning a lot more roster flexibility in considering potential trades.
Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +1 with 2 hits in 18:22. This might've been his best game in the NHL. He found himself defending in open ice a couple of times against the Stars' top line and handled the pressure well.
Gabriel Dumont had 2 shots and 3 hits and was 33% on 6 draws in 9:42.
Lightning head into their "bye week" in style.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 33 shots for the win. If you want to know why the Lightning have gone on a little run here recently, look no farther than the crease where they've started to get quality starts consistently from both Bishop and Vasilevskiy.
12:05 TB Point (7), (Drouin)
17:02 TB Boyle (13), (Hedman, Dotchin)
2:11 TB Palat (11), (Point, Sustr)
11:15 WPG Trouba (5), (Byfuglien, Wheeler)
19:24 TB Hedman (8), (Palat, Paquette)(EN)
The Lightning may end up regretting having to take this bye week, because they've gotten some momentum for the first time since early in the season.
With 57 points through 56 games, the Lightning now need 39 of 52 remaining points to hit the magic number of 96 points. That's still a .750 pace, which is why you shouldn't be surprised if some selling begins this week.
Jake Dotchin had a helper and 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 17:14. Dotchin with the puck in open ice is a bit of an adventure. Keep it simple, young man.
Gabriel Dumont had 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, 1 blocked shot, and was 50% on 8 draws in 11:58.
Everything but the getaway for a night of Vasilarceniy.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 38 shots before conceding to just 1 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO loss.
14:31 MIN Niederreiter (18), (Granlund, Pominville)(PP)
17:16 TB Point (6), (Garrison, Killorn)
Vasilevskiy was the game's second star.
Brayden Point graduated from prospect status on the website in style with a goal. He was also +1 with 1 shot and he was 20% on 5 draws in 15:43.
Jake Dotchin had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:19.
Gabriel Dumont had 1 hit and was 44% on 9 draws in 10:09.
When Kucherov got his mojo back.
Ben Bishop turned aside all 28 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Got help from his horseshoe to usher back in a night of U. of Maine Justice.
7:46 TB Drouin (16), (unassisted)
6:55 TB Kucherov (20), (Namestnikov, Sustr)
11:02 TB Dumont (1), (Brown, Hedman)
18:18 TB Kucherov (21), (Namestnikov, Witkowski)
13:08 TB Coburn (2), (Drouin, Vermin)
Nikita Kucherov, Bishop, and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's three stars. After struggling to regain his usual form for more than a month, Kucherov showed signs of getting back to his hold self in the last game against Anaheim. I'm happy to say the indications from that game were real and that Kucherov looks like he might be ready for a strong stretch run. As for the much maligned Namestnikov, he needs more nights like this because he's playing for his job in Tampa Bay at this point.
Do these back to back wins mean the Lightning suddenly have a chance to stride back into the playoff chase? Well, to comfortably make it in at 96 points, they'd need 42 of a remaining 56 points. Is a .750 winning clip realistic? There's your answer.
Brayden Point was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:49. He was also 29% on 7 draws. Point's next game will be his 41st of the season and he will graduate from prospect status on the website.
Luke Witkowski had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 8:25.
Jake Dotchin was +1 with 5 hits in 14:00.
Gabriel Dumont had his first goal in a Lightning jersey and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:42. He was also an uncharacteristic 17% on 6 draws.
Joel Vermin had a helper and was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 10:29.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of a losing streak being snapped!
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 16 shots before conceding to 2 of 4 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. Stat line isn't great, but he made some key situational saves over the course of the game to eventually get the victory.
8:14 ANH Montour (1), (Silfverberg, Kesler)
9:48 TB Drouin (15), (Johnson, Kucherov)
10:56 TB Killorn (16), (Kucherov)(PP)
4:02 ANH Getzlaf (8), (Bieksa, Kesler)
ANH- Silfverberg, Kesler
TB- Point, Kucherov, Boyle
Styles make the fight, and the quicker Tampa Bay Lightning drew a good matchup against a more plodding, big Anaheim team on the back end of a back-to-back situation. Tampa Bay didn't squander that advantage, playing with far more hustle than they did in the previous two contests. Clearly Jon Cooper challenged his guys to show some heart after the travesty of the past couple of outings, and it showed. More importantly, they actually got the payoff.
Brayden Point was -1 with 1 shot in 16:29. He was also 60% on 5 draws. He played well on some shifts with Drouin, which is something to watch going forward, in my opinion. And, he remains cash money all night in the Shootout.
Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:08. This was probably his best game at the NHL level thus far. Again, styles make the fight, and these Anaheim players aren't necessarily the speedsters who will give Dotchin trouble. He was assertive physically in separating guys from the puck and starting the breakout thereafter throughout the night.
Gabriel Dumont had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 6:00 even. He also was 83% on 6 draws.
Joel Vermin had 2 hits in 6:45.
Dumpster fire continues to rage unchecked.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss. He had one goal he probably needs back that went in off his glove. I can't fault him the rest, considering the drive by defense we saw most of the night. Still, it's a step backward after a string of quality starts by Vasilevskiy.
3:39 TB Johnson (16), (Kucherov)
6:33 OTT Stone (17), (Smith, Ceci)
11:03 OTT Turris (18), (Hoffman, Karlsson)(PP)
2:53 OTT Hoffman (18), (Turris, Stone)(PP)
7:46 TB Point (5), (Boyle, Palat)
9:22 OTT Stone (18), (Karlsson, Brassard)
19:35 OTT Kelly (4), (Karlsson)(EN)
Brayden Point was the game's third star. He's one of the players who needs the most vetting coming down the stretch of this lost season. He's responded well so far, and if he shows he's up to the task of playing center at the NHL level he may make Tyler Johnson expendable. Johnson, despite the goal he scored tonight, continues to make some very questionable decisions with the puck that are just infuriating to watch. He was a very good north-south player who has suddenly turned into an Old Marty St. Louis-style backward passing pain in the buttocks/liability, without the garbage time points.
At this point, we're watching the sad shell of a team that already appears to be going through the motions and anticipating their offseason tee times. I'm seeing players in position defensively but not making the extra effort to close out opposing shooters. I'm seeing board battles routinely lost by the team's best defenseman, Hedman. I'm seeing numerous mental mistakes at both bluelines with the puck by players who are just playing unfocused, careless hockey. At this point, it's clear the leadership of this team has evaporated and I've written off the chance of this team waking up until, maybe, Stamkos returns from injury. Get ready for a savagely bad next dozen or so games, at least.
Lay Down for Liljegren?
Make #2 for Makar?
Point had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 13:18. He was also 29% on 7 draws. He's been the silver lining in the past two very dreary games.
Luke Witkowski had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 10:58.
Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 19:09.
Gabriel Dumont was -1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 8:14.
Lightning go meekly into that good night.
Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the loss. His inability to make situational saves cost the Lightning dearly in this one. Short of showcasing Bishop for a trade, I don't see much purpose in feeding him starts moving forward. Vasilevskiy got rolling a little before the All-Star Break. The Lightning need to make sure of what they have in Andrei.
8:41 TB Killorn (14), (Hedman, Johnson)
18:08 BOS Bergeron (12), (McQuaid, Marchand)
19:59 BOS Krejci (12), (Marchand, Miller)
4:46 TB Killorn (15), (Hedman, Johnson)
7:51 BOS Chara (4), (Miller, Beleksey)
12:23 BOS Vatrano (6), (Krejci, Miller)(PP)
17:56 TB Point (4), (Hedman, Dotchin)
Alex Killorn was the game's second star.
The Lightning played a really solid first half of this game to build a 1-0 lead, and then waved the white flag of surrender for the final thirty minutes. What you witnessed was a Lightning team that lethargically gave away a couple of goals with sleepy play late in the Second Period and then played back on their heels most of the Third Period. And, even when they fell behind 3-2, they had a chance to turn the momentum of the game when Tyler Johnson did the unthinkable and passed out of a breakaway. Let me reiterate that: Tyler Johnson passed out of a breakaway. I just... what do you say about that. He passed... out of a breakaway?
Brayden Point had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:47. He also was 33% on 6 draws. You could make an argument he was the Lightning's best player in his return afer missing about a month due to injury. He's now 4 games from graduation from prospect status on the website.
Jake Dotchin had a helper, his first NHL point, and was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 20:25. Re-read that minutes total. There's no more resounding an indictment of the Lightning right side defenseman situation that that.
Gabriel Dumont was +1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 10:34. He was also 67% on 9 draws. He's been hot fire in the faceoff circles and shown a lot of hustle in his checking line role.
Lightning waste inspired performance by young Vasilevskiy.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for the OT loss. I feel sick for the kid, because he absolutely deserved the win tonight and had no chance on the two goals he allowed. The good news is that, with back-to-back quality starts, he's starting to answer some questions in the affirmative about his ability to be the starter. And, make no mistake about it, the mere fact he was given back-to-back starts is no coincidence. The Lightning are in full evaluation mode now with the season pretty much out of hand.
9:55 FLA Jokinen (5), (Trocheck, Yandle)(SH)
11:33 TB Kucherov (19), (Drouin, Killorn)(PP)
1:49 FLA Marchessault (14), (Yandle, Jokinen)(PP)
Vasilevskiy was the game's third star. Well deserved.
Prior to the game defenseman Nikita Nesterov was dealt to Montreal for a 23-year old minor league depth defenseman (Jonathan Racine) and a late round draft pick. Moving Nesterov should be viewed as the team giving up on a young defenseman whose anemic offensive production never really balanced out his defensive deficiencies, which simply weren't improving.
As for the game, the Lightning played a pretty emotionless, antiseptic game in the First Period. But, as the Panthers acted like the classless lumberjacks they always do, the intensity level came up and the team played a fairly even game with a reasonable work rate. Still, we're not seeing certain players like the Triplets play as well as you'd like to see them right now in this evaluation period. Tyler Johnson ultimately wore the goat horns for taking a penalty following a terrible turnover in OT. That's not good from one of the guys on this roster who I honestly believe is being scrutinized to determine his long term role (or lack thereof) in the organization.
Jake Dotchin had 4 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 17:20. Mixed bag. I detected at least one bad turnover and his lack of foot speed and experience probably contributed to his two interference calls. That said, he did make some nice plays in all three zones, too. The issue I have with Dotchin is that, with his skating being what it is (and this probably goes with Witkowski, too), I have a hard time seeing him as more than a Band-aid. Can he be an NHL'er in a 6th/7th defenseman role? Perhaps. But, on an elite club like the Lightning should be?
Gabriel Dumont had 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 7:27. He may be small, but he sure did beat the stuffing out of McKegg tonight.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.