Erne, Adam

NHL Game Night: 12-29-18 Canadiens at Lightning

Erne's heroics save Lightning from another defensive holiday hangover.

MTL-5
TB-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 38 shots for the victory. This may be exciting hockey, but the coverage busts against the rush and off faceoffs aren't sustainable, and the team can't keep on counting on winning these 1980's-style high scoring games. Refocusing is needed across the board.

First Period
9:44 MTL Shaw (10), (Tatar, Kotkaniemi)(PP)
10:00 MTL Agostino (2), (Benn, Danault)
14:12 TB Gourde (11), (Erne, McDonagh)
17:07 TB Stralman (2), (unassisted)
17:35 MTL Benn (2), (Danault, Gallagher)

Second Period
7:55 TB Kucherov (18), (Hedman, Point)(PP)
8:33 TB Johnson (18), (Sergachev, Kucherov)
12:19 MTL Kulak (1), (Tatar, Danault)
13:11 MTL Shaw (11), (Lehkonen, Weber)

Third Period
9:36 TB Erne (5), (Stralman, Hedman)
18:58 TB Erne (6), (Gourde, Cirelli)

Adam Erne and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and second stars. One of these crazy, high scoring games you can excuse as an anomaly. Two in a row is an alarming trend. I'll just reiterate it: There needs to be a team-wide refocusing, because this isn't sustainable and it's not acceptable to be allowing this many goals a game.

With one more game to go in this 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning have already banked 14 insurance points on the year. They're more than a full 10-game segment ahead of playoff pace, meaning they could play just below sub-.400 hockey from here on out and still sneak into the postseason. That's great, mind you, but it's not an invitation for complacency.

Mathieu Joseph was -3 in his return from injury in 6:54 of ice time. Joseph is eight NHL appearances this season shy of graduation from prospect status on the site.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 14:04. He was also 54% on 13 draws. Cirelli will retire from prospect status on the site in just two more NHL appearances this year.

Erne had 2 goals and an assist and was +4 with 3 shots in 10:47. His game gave you a full display of what this young player can provide the team from the faceoff dots down in the offensive zone — big body who was tough to knock off the puck on the cycle. Got a defender on his back boxing him out with the big body in front to jab home the rebound on his first goal. And then you see the hand skills with the wicked release on one-time on the pass coming out of the corner top shelf with a near perfect shot. Keeping Erne healthy and continuing to develop him as a contributor as this regular season wears on ought to be a priority for the team, because he's got the kind of game that travels well at playoff time and they don't have a ton of guys in the organization like him.

Erik Cernak had 1 shot, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 18:28.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-27-18 Flyers at Lightning

Another wild and crazy affirmation of the 3-goal rule.

PHI-5
TB-6 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 33 shots for the OT win.

First Period
10:50 PHI Raffl (2), (Laughton, Sanheim)
13:56 TB Kucherov (17), (Johnson, Point)
19:12 TB Point (22), (Gourde, Stamkos)(PP)

Second Period
4:36 PHI Giroux (13), (MacDonald, Gudas)
12:23 TB Stamkos (21), (Kucherov)
14:54 TB Stamkos (22), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
19:51 TB Johnson (17), (Kucherov, Stamkos)

Third Period
1:33 PHI Weise (5), (VanReimsdyk)
4:21 PHI Hagg (4), (Giroux, VanReimsdyk)
8:38 PHI Provorov (4), (Voracek, Couturier)

Overtime
0:18 TB Killorn (10), (Cirelli)

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars.

I'm going to chalk the weird complexion of this game to it being the first one back from the Christmas break and try not to read too much into it, other than that the old rule held true. The team that holds a 3-goal lead anytime after 40 minutes of hockey seemingly wins 99.9% of the time, even if the other team manages to come back and tie it.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 16:36. He was also 39% on 18 draws.

Adam Erne had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 10:57.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-20-18 Lightning at Flames

Domingue shines late in Lightning comeback.

TB-5
CGY-4 (SO)

Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 37 shots before stopping 6 of 7 in the PS session for the SO win. His first goal allowed was a soft goal that trickled through and behind him for an eventual tap in and his rebound control was something he absolutely seemed to struggle with most of the night. But, with that said, he started getting stronger into the Third Period and then absolutely stood on his head in Overtime and the Shootout, including one three save sequence in OT that should be on the highlight reel he shows his grandkids someday.

First Period
3:38 TB Palat (4), (Point, Kucherov)
4:29 CGY Bennett (6), (Tkachuk, Hanifin)
7:50 CGY Monahan (21), (Lindholm, Gaudreau)
12:25 CGY Backlund (6), (Bennett)

Second Period
3:19 TB Stamkos (18), (Erne, Kucherov)
5:52 TB Killorn (9), (Gourde, McDonagh)

Third Period
15:35 TB Girardi (3), (Cirelli)
17:32 CGY Gaudreau (16), (unassisted)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Hedman, Miller
CGY- Monahan

Nikita Kucherov was the game's second star.

Remarkable resilience from the Lightning to turn this one around and get two points with their backup netminder in and falling down 3-1 early after a flat start. I don't know if it was lack of familiarity with Calgary and what they do, the altitude, the travel, or a combination of those factors, but the Lightning just didn't look themselves in the First Period and it might've been easy for some other teams to pack it in after giving up three quick ones. The Lightning regrouped and came out storming in the Second Period to draw even and eventually got the full two points. Loved the effort and the resolve, with the same caveat as the Vancouver game: if the power play could've broken through this would've been a far less drama-filled affair.

Danick Martel had 2 shots in 9:07.

Anthony Cirelli was 50% on 16 draws in 15:02.

Adam Erne had a helper and was +1 with 3 hits in 9:00.

Erik Cernak had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 16:35. Not gonna mince words: that was an uncharacteristically rough performance by Cernak in terms of puck management.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-18-18 Lightning at Canucks

Lightning prevail in late night fight.

TB-5
VAN-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 38 shots. And, although the final score looks comfortable, he was called on to make some key stops when the game narrowed to 3-2 in the Third Period to preserve the victory including a monumental breakaway opportunity.

First Period
8:40 TB Kucherov (15), (Point)
9:17 VAN Motte (5), (Stecher, Virtanen)
11:07 TB Paquette (8), (Martel, Erne)

Second Period
8:37 TB Erne (4), (Paquette, Girardi)

Third Period
5:46 VAN Tanev (2), (Roussel)
17:22 TB Stamkos (17), (Johnson, Hedman)
18:17 TB Palat (3), (Kucherov, Stralman)

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

Obviously this was a game that got out of control in the nastiness department. Canucks fans are going to point to Danick Martel's hit on Stecher as the flashpoint of the game, but the reality is Roussel started the snowball down the hill by running Kucherov after Nikita scored a goal. From there we had the ugliness of Stecher getting laid out on a hit by Martel and Martel getting jumped by two Canucks who held him while he was bloodied by a Gudbranson sucker punch. This was all sandwiched between a hockey game where the Lightning failed to put the Canucks away with multiple unsuccessful power play opportunities to establish a 3-goal advantage and quell any Vancouver uprising for good. They eventually got the win, but I'd have preferred they piled the dirt on Vancouver's grave much sooner.

Regarding the Martel hit, I'm going to stipulate ahead of time it was a borderline play. I haven't seen an angle of the hit from the front so I'm not sure if when Martel raised his arm and elbow he did or didn't catch Stecher's head on the follow-through. So, there may yet be discipline for Martel. With that said, the Vancouver reaction to the play was laughably overwrought. To hear them tell it, 5'9" Danick Martel is some kind of cross between Tom Wilson, Ronnie Lott, and John Wilkes Booth. The exaggeration of the play and the casting of Martel as a headhunting assassin who went straight in to try to decapitate Stecher is a work of pure fiction. First, the initial contact was shoulder to shoulder. Any claim Martel was deliberately trying to land a headshot with intent to injure simply doesn't jibe with reality. Indeed, if you review the tape, Martel makes the hit (which he also claimed he felt was a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit) he immediately starts digging at the puck in Stecher's skates to retrieve the puck. Not the act of a headhunting assassin admiring their handywork through the scope of the rifle. Just sayin'. Second, yes Martel hits Stecher a fraction of a second before the puck arrives at Stecher's feet. In slow motion. So, in reality it's a bang-bang play where, in real time, the puck arrived at pretty much the exact moment of the contact. In that regard, I think you can even make a really strong argument that the interference call that was given to Martel wasn't correct. So then, the third element is Martel's follow through, which I'll stipulate to you I haven't seen clearly shown one way or the other to have contacted Stecher's head or not. You put that all together, and I think you can make another strong argument that had Stecher not been concussed (and, sadly, players can get concussed on completely legal shoulder-to-shoulder hits, too) there wouldn't have been any minor penalty issued in the game at all, let alone something to soothe the Canucks' plaintiff cries for a five-minute major for a phantom, premeditated head shot. It's a shame Stecher got hurt. I don't wish that upon any player (not even Brad Marchand). But not every hit that leads to a concussion is automatically a premeditated head shot with intent to injure. Sometimes, as in this case, a hard hockey play can lead to a guy getting his bell rung. It's the nature of the beast. Just is. And if Stecher had popped right back up, we would've been talking about Martel issuing a hard hit in a chippy game and turned the page about a minute after it happened.

And if you're going to try to crucify Jon Cooper for fist-bumping his player for standing up for himself after having gotten sucker-punched for issuing a hard hit in a chippy game, then I think that's a little overwrought too. I can only assume the run on fainting couches at local Vancouver furniture shops was pretty epic this morning.

Danick Martel had a helper and was +2 with 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 6:57. Very impactful effort for a guy who was a surprise to dress after Callahan got nicked up. Beautiful spinning behind the back assist on Paquette's goal and, unless I see different evidence that what I've been shown, answered the bell with some physical play in a chippy game, which is no small thing for a 5'9" waterbug. I just hope the league office actually reviews the video evidence when looking at the matter and doesn't decide, "Here's a borderline NHL'er and we can really make an example out of him," without reviewing the facts fully.

Anthony Cirelli was 50% on 12 draws in 15:22.

Adam Erne had a goal and an assist and was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:55. Nice tip on his goal and the Canucks did not have the depth to keep up with Tampa Bay's fourth line all night.

Erik Cernak was -1 with 2 shots, 5 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 19:03, spelling Coburn for a night.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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