Dotchin, Jake

NHL Game Night: 12-23-17 Wild at Lightning

Despite looking like a dental procedure, the Lightning head into the holiday break with a big win.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 22 shots he faced to give all of us the gift of holiday kittens. Enjoy.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
17:18 TB Girardi (2), (Point)
18:10 TB Johnson (9), (Dotchin)
19:07 TB Kucherov (24), (Namestnikov, Girardi)(EN)

Vasilevskiy, Dan Girardi, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. How in the blue hell Brayden Point didn't get a star for hand delivering the GWG is beyond me.

I wouldn't want to have to sit through too many more games like that, but tonight's victory was a positive from the standpoint that it showed the Lightning are capable of winning another style of game. The Lightning had complete control of the contest for the opening ten minutes of the First Period when the penalty bug bit them. The subsequent 50 or so minutes of hockey was an unending cacophony of special teams play as both teams paraded en masse to the penalty box. Did it make the game aesthetically displeasing? Sure. Did it make more than a few fans want to choke the refs? Probably. The good news is the struggling Lightning PK managed to blank six Wild power plays to get well after some disastrous play against the likes of Las Vegas in the last week. And, after a night that sometimes resembled a root canal a la the game against Ottawa when the team also couldn't hit the net to save their lives, Girardi's tap in goal off the excellent feed from Point may have been a floodgates moment that ends that particular malady less than six periods after it began. Good.

Tampa Bay heads into the holiday break with 54 points in 35 games. They need just four points in the next five games to clinch another successful 10-game segment of the season and if they can manage six of the next 10 points they'll be a full segment ahead of minimum pace to make the playoffs. Impressive.

Yanni Gourde had 1 shot in 13:02 and was also 36% on 11 draws.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +1 with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 17:11. Big rebound from a subpar Ottawa performance.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 15:20. He was all over the offensive zone like a rash at times.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-21-17 Senators at Lightning

Lightning get two points they earned the hard way.

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TB-4 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 21 shots before denying booth shooters he faced for the SO win. Puck luck bit him with the own goal by Girardi and the double deflection on the Brassard goal.

First Period
6:31 OTT Ryan (4), (unassisted)

Second Period
11:59 TB Johnson (9), (Kucherov, Hedman)
14:34 OTT Ceci (5), (Brassard, Claesson)
15:40 TB Gourde (11), (Conacher, Killorn)

Third Period
5:59 OTT Brassard (9), (Karlsson, Stone)(PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
OTT- NONE
TB- Point, Stamkos

Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov were the game's first and third stars.

The score doesn't reflect the degree to which the Lightning dominated MOST of the game. The opening 20 minutes were pretty fractured and saw a lot of the same breakout issues and turnovers that plagued the team over the prior four periods of hockey between Colorado and Las Vegas. They got pretty unlucky on the Girardi own goal, but honestly they probably deserved to be down after that opening frame. From there, the team really took off the remaining 40 minutes of regulation and had total control of OT. The finishing wasn't there tonight, but they outchanced Ottawa by a roughly 2:1 margin by the time the contest was over. In a perfect world they'd have wrapped it up in regulation, but ultimately the two points are the thing.

The Lightning have 6 games remaining in this 10-game segment of the season to collect 6 more points to make it a successful one. Good spot to be.

Yanni Gourde had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 hit in 12:52. Really went to the high traffic areas hard tonight and got rewarded.

Jake Dotchin had 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:42. Not going to lie: he was simply not good tonight. Some pretty heinous turnovers. Maybe that's a product of the flu bug, but that wasn't pretty.

Mikhail Sergachev had 1 shot in 20:38. Seems like he's spiking up over 20 minutes quite a bit lately, which is good to see.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-19-17 Lightning at Golden Knights

Lightning come up snake eyes in first trip to Sin City.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 36 shots for the loss. He was, in my mind, uncharacteristically average tonight in a game where the team in front of him really needed the bail out.

First Period
7:43 TB Stamkos (13), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)
19:13 TB Namestnikov (14), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
10:07 LV Neal (17), (Perron, Theodore)(PP)
18:21 LV Marchessault (12), (Perron, Theodore)(PP)

Third Period
4:42 LV Haula (13), (Theodore, Perron)(PP)
16:08 TB Hedman (4), (Stamkos)
19:57 LV Theodore (2), (Marchessault, Haula)(PP)

Whether tonight was because of a flu big running through the team, which led to Tyler Johnson and Jake Dotchin being late scratches, or a couple of long nights on The Strip, that was the Lightning's worst effort since the debacle in Boston. That they had any opportunity at all to steal a point after Fleury's gift of a soft goal at all was mildly remarkable. The team just played a very lightweight game. Soft passes and over-stickhandling leading to a bevy of turnovers coming out of their own end and they just didn't have the puck enough to merit a victory. How they managed 38 shots on Fleury I have no clue because it seemed like they barely had the puck and what little they did they were either turning it over, icing it, or chipping it up the boards just to relieve the pressure.

With that said, awfully ticky tack call on Coburn that led to the GWG. Gallant had a minor hissy fit on a prior call on Engelland that was an absolutely appropriate call and he was rewarded with the make up whistle. In the grand scheme, the Lightning probably deserved the result they got, but in that moment that call was mildly atrocious.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 8:50. Didn't have a great First Period. Didn't seem to see the ice much thereafter.

Yanni Gourde had 1 blocked shot and was 44% on 9 draws in 21:33.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 hit in 14:11. If he's ill, that's a fair excuse, but he was brutal tonight coming out of his own end. His turnover that led to his penalty that led to Vegas' third goal would've gotten a lot of rookies benched (if not demoted). There's a line where confidence with the puck bleeds over into utter stupidity. Sergachev leapt over that boundary a few times tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-16-17 Lightning at Avalanche

Lightning make garbage time more exciting than necessary.

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Peter Budaj allowed 5 goals on 37 shots for the win. I wasn't in love with a couple of goals he gave up in garbage time to make this one more interesting than necessary. He did really come through with some situational saves late in the game, but that wasn't a Picasso by Budaj. Dogs Playing Poker, perhaps.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
9:11 TB Kucherov (23), (Hedman, Gourde)
9:30 TB Stralman (3), (Johnson, Sergachev)
11:22 TB Hedman (3), (Kucherov, Dotchin)
13:21 TB Gourde (10), (Killorn, Conacher)
14:16 COL Landeskog (11), (Yakupov, Zadorov)

Third Period
2:29 TB Stralman (4), (Gourde, Point)
4:58 COL Landeskog (12), (Barrie, MacKinnon)
7:17 COL Landeskog (13), (Barrie, Rantanen)(PP)
9:22 COL MacKinnon (14), (Barrie, Landeskog)(PP)
11:32 TB Sergachev (8), (Palat, Stralman)
14:14 COL MacKinnon (15), (Zadorov, Landeskog)

Anton Stralman and Victor Hedman were the game's second and third stars.

I applaud the ruthlessness of the Lightning's Second Period performance to establish the three goal lead after 40 minutes. That's typically a death sentence for the team that trails and that was the case again tonight. I don't applaud the mix of sloppiness, iffy goaltending, and creative officiating that led to that wild and eventful Third Period. I just hope that final frame doesn't foreshadow some bad performances down the road. There's peaks and valleys over the course of a season, and the Lightning have been on a peak for the last little while.

Yanni Gourde had 1 goal and 2 assists and was +1 with 2 shots in 15:35. He was also 50% on 6 draws.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was a gaudy +4 with 3 shots, 5 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 17:37.

Mikhail Sergachev had the GWG and was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-14-17 Lightning at Coyotes

Halfway to the playoffs.

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AZ-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 33 shots for the victory. Fairly typical Vasilevskiy game. Made the odd situational save early to allow his team to run out to a lead and then handled his business through garbage time to the finish line.

First Period
11:30 TB Namestnikov (13), (Stamkos, Kucherov)(PP)
12:11 TB Point (14), (Palat, Johnson)

Second Period
6:11 TB Kucherov (22), (Hedman)
11:28 AZ Keller (12), (Stepan, Perlini)(PP)

Third Period
0:31 TB Johnson (8), (Point, Stralman)

Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

That was men against boys. It was a 4-1 game, and that's with Antti Raanta playing a pretty darned good game. It could've been a lot worse for Arizona. The Lightning got 46 shots on goal and a slew of scoring chances. Arizona just doesn't have the level of organization and confidence to deal with the speed, skill, and precision of this Lightning team. They had no chance. None. It's a far cry from the Lightning's trip to the desert a year ago that seemed to all but bury the team's playoff hopes about 50 games into the campaign or so.

The win tonight kicks off the fourth 10-game segment of the season with a win. Good start. And, it happens to give the Lightning 48 points, which puts them halfway to the minimum 96 points you target to make it to the postseason comfortably. Again, it's a remarkable contract to where this team was the last time they were in Arizona a year ago.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 16:21.

Yanni Gourde had 3 shots and was 40% on 10 draws in 16:26. He's traded spots with Johnson moving down to third line center.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 21:48 of big time ice time. That's a nice number. Dotchin being able to eat minutes just makes the Lightning so incredibly good.

Mikhail Sergachev was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 4 shots, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 17:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-12-17 Lightning at Blues

Vasilevskiy spooks Blues, then releases the kittens.

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STL-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 32 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Pure Vasilarceny. Tampa Bay got loose at times in the final 40 minutes of the game giving up way too many odd man rushes, but you saw the Vasilevskiy phenomenon in effect. World class snipers like Tarasenko trying to cut it too fine pulling shots wide of the net left and right because Vasiy had crawled up into their heads and built a condo. The really great goaltenders do that. Vasiy is on his way.

First Period
19:15 TB Point (13), (Johnson, Killorn)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
13:37 TB Kucherov (21), (Sergachev)
19:38 TB Johnson (7), (Point, Hedman)(EN)

Vasilevskiy and Brayden Point were the game's first and second stars.

I'm not going to tell you that was the Lightning's most picturesque win. But, it's illustrative of how a really good team with skill and goaltending manufactures a road win even when they're not all the way on their A game.

The Lightning's win tonight completes the team's third 10-game segment of the campaign, which was another success. Now sitting at 46 points this year, the Lightning have banked a staggering 10 insurance points heading into segment four of the season, and they're just two points away from hitting the halfway mark of the minimum they need to comfortably make the postseason. It's all lovely and impressive, and they'll get until the next morning skate to enjoy it, because after that the mantra is clear: flush it and move on. Twelve in ten? Now do it again.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 blocked shot in 10:36. Not surprising that in a close game the staff curtailed his ice time.

Yanni Gourde had 1 hit and was 56% on 9 draws in 15:07. He's one of the guys who didn't have his most effective night tonight.

Jake Dotchin had 3 shots and 6 hits in 18:32 in a heavy game that favored his style of play. The ice time numbers are trending in a good direction.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 blocked shots in a pretty hefty 21:30. He had some turnover issues tonight, so it wasn't a clean game, but his possession numbers have been pretty strong the past few games. Tonight, although he only got 2 shots through, he had 10 total attempts to lead the team. That's some fancy stat-age for you all.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-9-17 Jets at Lightning

Lightning play really well and eventually get the payoff.

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TB-4 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the win. He had long stretches of inactivity so it was hard to stay sharp, but I'm sure he's thanking his stars his guys bailed him out after that soft third goal.

First Period
1:21 WPG Copp (4), (Lowry, Tanev)
18:57 TB Gourde (9), (Point, Johnson)(PP)

Second Period
16:39 TB Sergachev (7), (Johnson, Palat)
18:02 Connor (10), (Morrissey, Wheeler)

Third Period
7:02 WPH Ehlers (13), (Trouba, Laine)
8:51 TB Kucherov (20), (Dotchin, Stamkos)

Overtime
0:36 TB Point (12), (Stralman)

Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev were the game's first and third stars.

I think both teams treated this one like a measuring stick, and if that's what it was then I'd say the Lightning have to feel pretty good about it. That's not just because of the result, but because this was a game where the Lightning were able to nullify Winnipeg's size and speed and really controlled the balance of the play. The Lightning held Winnipeg to just 11 shots through 40 minutes and just 20 shots on the entire evening. That's a pretty astonishing stat given Winnipeg's firepower and lends credence to the view that Amalie Arena has become one of the real fortresses in the NHL this season. Still, the Lightning had some adversity in this game falling behind on a bad early shift, giving up a goal late in the Second Period on a pretty wicked deflection, and then giving up the lead in the Third Period on a pretty soft goal. And, again, this team showed its resiliency.

What a novel concept winning an offensive zone faceoff to manufacture Kucherov's tying goal in the Third Period. Lather, rinse, repeat. Please.

Tampa Bay's win gives them 12 points in this 10-game segment, making it 3 for 3 successful segments on the year. The Lightning get one more game in this segment to try to build up their cache of bonus points from 8 points to a possible 10.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 11:36. It was a mixed bag. I thought he made some decent plays in the offensive zone but got caught flat footed once or twice defensively. He can fly, but I don't think he adjusted to Winnipeg's speed as quickly as his teammates did.

Yanni Gourde had the power play goal and was -1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot. He was also 50% on 10 draws. He played a really strong game. He's arguably the team's best forechecker and when he can get some shots on goal like he did tonight, I think he's such a valuable player.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 18:05. Coming off the injury you might've expected them to bring him into the lineup slowly, but 18 minutes is a fairly big number. He makes a difference for the Lightning because when he can fill this much time he helps regulate Girardi and Stralman's ice time and gives them a chance to play roles they can help the team the most in.

Sergachev had a goal, 3 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 19:23. He obviously scored a filthy turnaround goal. Just to go on a skate like that in the offensive zone and try that took some chutzpah for a rookie. But, on top of that, 19:23 of ice time is a really nice number. If he and Dotchin are giving this team 18+ quality minutes moving forward, it makes Yzerman's deadline shopping list a lot less pricey.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-29-17 Lightning at Bruins

Tampa Bay's most putrid effort of the campaign.

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BOS-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the loss. Wasn't his fault. Other than maybe Paquette, there's no one else on the team I can honestly claim played like anything more than hot runny garbage.

First Period
7:27 BOS McAvoy (3), (Pastrnak, Marchand)
17:13 BOS Nash (2), (Heinen, Marchand)

Second Period
5:59 BOS Krug (4), (Spooner, McAvoy)
10:53 TB Sustr (1), (Coburn, Kunitz)

Third Period
2:10 TB Stamkos (11), (Kucherov, Sergachev)(PP)

It's a totally justifiable thing to point out this was Tampa Bay's 4th game in 6 nights as an explanation of why the team didn't seem to really have it's legs. The problem I had tonight is the Lightning seemed to have internalized that excuse and used it as a rationale for a pretty heartless exercise in going through the motions. The first 40 minutes of that game was awful. Shiftless. Lethargic. Unthinking. Unfeeling. Uncaring. And, really, that's a shame because they managed to sleepwalk to a 3-2 decision and may have been able to steal a point or two with an honest effort. And, that would've been a really sweet way to break up the pro-Bruins pep rally that NBCSN decided to throw on their airwaves tonight. Opportunity lost.

Halfway through segment three of the season the Lightning have only secured 4 points in 5 games. That means they'll have to win 4 of their next 5 just to have a successful 10 game segment to not dip into their insurance point stash. The team's struggles seem to have hit right about when Jake Dotchin went on IR, and my goodness did Dan Girardi stink out loud tonight, especially on the eventual GWG. Get well soon, young Jake.

Yanni Gourde had 2 hits in 10:23. I'm going to speculate his ice time got slashed because he's one of the ones who had a subpar effort level tonight.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and 2 penalty minutes with 2 hits in 16:30.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-18-17 Islanders at Lightning

Lightning rally gives false hope after flat start.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the rare loss. I think he might want the second goal back, which appeared to go through him, but in fairness to him the defense was pretty rancid tonight.

First Period
0:51 NYI Ladd (4), (Tavares, Ho-Sang)
10:25 NYI Lee (10), (Tavares, Bailey)

Second Period
7:09 NYI Nelson (6), (Chimera, Pelech)

Third Period
1:05 NYI Lee (11), (Bailey, Barzal)(PP)
3:13 TB Gourde (5), (Point, Koekkoek)
3:26 TB Palat (5), (Point, Vasilevskiy)
16:24 TB Gourde (6), (Palat, Girardi)
19:38 NYI Tavares (14), (Cizikas, Bailey)(EN)

Yanni Gourde was the game's second star.

The Lightning were flat and looked unprepared for the game and the Islanders jumped on them and got the goal on the opening shift. The Lightning responded by opening up too much to try to get goals and ended up surrendering too many odd man rushes and found themselves behind the eight ball. They eventually got down 3 goals after 40 minutes, and as I've said many a time, it feels like 99 times out of 100 that's a death sentence for the team trailing in pro hockey. You may get within one, but you eventually lose and it happened again tonight.

The Lightning finish the second 10-game segment of the season 8 points ahead of playoff pace. Good news is, ending on a loss, I don't think anyone's got to warn the Lightning to get complacent. Segment three starts tomorrow with a record of 0-0-0. Twelve in ten: do it again.

Slater Koekkoek had a helper and was +2 with 1 hit in 9:01.

Gourde had a pair of goals and was +1 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:23.

Jake Dotchin was -3 with 2 shots in 12:18. Not going to sugar coat it: he stunk tonight. Getting beat like a dog out of the corner by Nelson on the third goal ultimately was the kill shot goal for the Islanders. He didn't cloak himself in glory with his play in this one.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:37. Had a lot of scoring chances in this game and was dynamic offensively.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-16-17 Stars at Lightning

Lightning pummel ex-mate Bishop in his return to Tampa.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. The typical formula applied. He made a handful of important situational saves early in the game, allowing the Lightning the time to start pulling away in the Second Period.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
0:47 TB Stamkos (9), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)
3:34 DAL Faksa (4), (unassisted)
4:51 TB Sergachev (5), (Killorn, Johnson)
11:20 TB Point (8), (unassisted)(SH)

Third Period
3:57 TB Stamkos (10), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)
8:18 TB Dotchin (2), (Sergachev, Stamkos)
13:52 TB Kucherov (17), (Hedman, Stamkos)

Steven Stamkos, Mikhail Sergachev, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

Impressive showing by the Lightning. They showed no rust at all in the first game from a road trip, outskating and outpossessing Dallas by a significant margin in the First Period. The game got a lot more even in the Second Period as the Lightning took a few penalties, but the Lightning's special teams paid off with a PP and SH goal in the frame, and that allowed them to start to pull away. At 5 on 5, there's few teams that seem to be able to touch this team. On the power play, they're lethal. And, on the penalty kill, the injection of players like Point and Gourde have added a lethal element that gives teams very little respite. Some team or two is going to get their act together over the course of the season and lay down their marker as a potential contender, but right now the league is looking like the Tampa Bay Lightning and then everyone else so far this year.

With the victory, the Lightning stand at 32 points through 19 games, meaning with 1 game to go in the second 10-game segment of the year the Lightning have already banked 8 insurance points. Remarkable.

Yanni Gourde was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 21:33. He was also 40% on 5 draws.

Jake Dotchin had his second NHL goal and was +1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:21. Thought his goal was maybe a touch on the soft side, but he had a scoring chance earlier in the game where I thought he might've been a little luckier on the outcome, so these things even out.

Sergachev had a goal and an assist and was +3 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 14:16. His goal was kind of a lucky shot that deflected on a long point shot off a Dallas defender and went straight into the top corner. This is why Cooper preaches shooting the puck. The helper on Dotchin's goal was nothing fancy, but kind of epitomized how he played all night, using his mobility to support the play in all three zones.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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