Dotchin, Jake

NHL Game Night: 12-28-17 Canadiens at Lightning

Patient Lightning outlasts punchless Habs.

MTL- 1
TB- 3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the victory. It says everything about where he has progressed in his career that beating Carey Price in a goaltending duel is a non-story.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:40 MTL Gallagher (15), (Hudon, Morrow)(PP)
19:48 TB Stamkos (14), (Kucherov, Hedman)

Third Period
0:30 TB Point (15), (Johnson, Palat)
4:45 TB Stamkos (15), (Namestnikov, Palat)(PP)

Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov were the game’s three stars.

As with the Minnesota game, the Lightning found themselves tonight having to maintain poise and patience in a low scoring game where chances were finding iron more than paydirt. There’s going to be plenty of games like this to come in the postseason, so it’s good for the team to continue getting comfortable playing in and winning a few games like this. Ultimately, the Lightning got the big swing with goals in the last minute of the Second Period and first minute of the Third Period... mental bugs that Montreal surely has to be sore about. Then, unlike the Minny game, the Lightning enlisted Espo’s Rule as an ally with Stamkos’ hiccup quick finish on the insurance marker.

Yanni Gourde was 70% on 10 draws in 13:04. It’s a thin stat line, but gosh a faceoff percentage like that is a real breath of fresh air to see.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 17:08. It was a very poised performance by the entire D in Stralman’s absence, albeit against a Montreal team that couldn’t find its offense with GPS and a seeing eye dog at the moment.

Mikhail Sergachev was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 18:49. A stat line like that isn’t glamorous, but I’ll happily take that most every night for the rookie. The gaudy offensive numbers are the bonus. The quality, well-rounded minutes are what you need.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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.

MIN-0
TB-3

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.

OTT-3
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.

TB-3
LV-4

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.

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