Koekkoek, Slater

NHL Game Night: 11-19-18 Lightning at Predators

Ferocious comeback bid falls just short.

TB-2
NSH-3

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss. I thought he was a little deep in his net on the second Nashville goal off the rush, and when two really good teams meet, the margin can be that razor thin sometimes.

First Period
5:10 TB Hedman (4), (Point, Cernak)
15:19 NSH Turris (5), (Jarnkrok, Ekholm)(PP)

Second Period
6:43 NSH Forsberg (13), (Ekholm, Johansen)
10:16 NSH Johansen (4), (Smith, Josi)

Third Period
3:25 TB Kucherov (8), (Point, McDonagh)

At the end of the night, the Lightning just didn't have enough possession for the first 40 minutes of this game to break down Rinne. Against a very good goaltender, you need a volume of shots and chances and the Lightning did not have that in the first two frames. It's even more important when you're having to ride your backup with Vasilevskiy out: a good offense really will be the best defense for the Lightning right now.

Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:53.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 9:37. Blink and you'd miss him.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:45. But, he was also 22% on 9 draws tonight.

Adam Erne had 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:28. I get that he's not completely flawless with his decision making in the Lightning's half of the net, but his offensive game looks like it's really coming to a boil now. He gets second unit power play time, and that's nice, but I think he's even more effective at even strength and I wonder when he'll get a spot opportunity on a higher line. I think he's ready for it.

Erik Cernak had his first NHL point on a helper, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 10:22.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-10-18 Senators at Lightning

Lax habits finally catch up with the Lightning.

OTT-6
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
4:58 OTT Duchene (6), (White)
7:21 OTT Ryan (5), (Ceci)
8:49 TB Joseph (3), (Sergachev, Coburn)

Second Period
0:39 TB Hedman (3), (Vasilevskiy)(PP)
9:15 TB Coburn (3), (Killorn, Joseph)
14:32 TB Joseph (4), (Killorn, Cirelli)

Third Period
0:50 OTT Tkachuk (4), (unassisted)
8:41 OTT White (6), (Tkachuk, Ryan)
10:30 OTT Dzingel (8), (Duchene)
19:48 OTT Stone (7), (Duchene, Ryan)(PP)

Mathieu Joseph was the game's second star.

I said it recently: while it's been fun to watch the Lightning win games recently by asserting themselves for portions of games, this isn't a sustainable recipe for long term success. Eventually the slow starts and only playing sharp hockey in spurts for portions of games isn't going to cut it. Eventually, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and that's what happened against Ottawa. That's a young team that's gone through a lot of turmoil in the last year, including what happened recently, but you can't just expect them to dry up and blow away even when you get a 4-2 lead on them through 40 minutes. Those players are professionals and they have pride. The Lightning have got to match the intensity and commitment level of their opponents in those moments.

Joseph had 2 goals and 1 assist and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 10:29. Justifying my love for keeping Joseph on my fantasy team despite that slow statistical start.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot in 16:09. Koekkoek's received a reprieve with Anton Stralman getting nicked up keeping him in service, but with Hedman returning it begs the question what happens to Koekkoek once everyone's healthy. Does he go back to being a fairly regular scratch, or has he earned more appearances?

Danick Martel had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 3 hits in 12:06.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +3 with 1 shot in 12:56.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-8-18 Islanders at Lightning

Played half a game. Doubled up a division leader.

NYI-2
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for the victory. Best player on the rink for either team, in my view.

First Period
3:40 NYI Bailey (4), (Nelson)

Second Period
5:58 TB Joseph (2), (Killorn, Stralman)
11:12 TB Miller (5), (Sergachev, Stamkos)

Third Period
8:43 NYI Bailey (5), (Pelech, Barzal)
18:34 TB Johnson (6), (Kucherov, Gourde)
19:50 TB Stamkos (6), (Miller, McDonagh)(EN)

Vasilevsky and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.

That wasn't a great effort overall. Like the games against Montreal and Ottawa, you had the Lightning coming out very flat and almost disinterested in the First Period. Turned on the jets in the Second Period to take the 2-1 lead before coasting a bit too much toward the intermission. Then, in the Third Period, they just had a quick, three-way play highlighted by a very skilled setup by Kucherov and they win. They're just toying with teams at this point. It's not sustainable over the long run, but there's something amusing watching it happen night in and night out right now... especially knowing Victor Hedman's return to the lineup is imminent.

Mathieu Joseph had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 11:38. Excellent placement on the shot off the rush and used the defender as a screen.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 13:54.

Anthony Cirelli was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit and was 60% on 10 draws in 14:10. Worked himself into a breakaway opportunity that I wish he'd done more with to reward himself.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 5 hits in 14:10. Played chippy tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-6-18 Oilers at Lightning

Lightning crush upstart Oilers on national TV.

EDM-2
TB-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 35 shots for the victory. Strong game to help provide the backbone for a strong night by the team, overall.

First Period
4:40 TB Stamkos (5), (Kucherov)
19:34 TB Point (9), (Gourde, Johnson)

Second Period
12:32 EDM Strome (1), (Klefbom)
13:19 TB Gourde (7), (McDonagh, Point)
18:59 TB Kucherov (6), (Stamkos, Coburn)

Third Period
0:40 EDM Draisaitl (9), (Rattie, Nugent-Hopkins)(PP)
8:23 TB Kucherov (7), (Miller, Stamkos)(PP)

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

Friendly reminder: the Lightning are doing all this without the services of the reigning Norris Trophy winner. There's another gear or two above this.

I doubt the NHL will do anything about it, but the cowardly attack by Milan Lucic on a rookie half his size has no place in the game. Pure scumbag sore loser garbage.

The Lightning sit at 23 points through 15 games. By my count they need just 1 point in the next 5 games to seal playoff pace through two 10-game segments of the season, and just 4 points in those 5 games to seal a successful segment #2 of the campaign (12 in 10). So, there's opportunity to run up some insurance points again, for sure.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 hits in 8:22. He was the recipient of the aforementioned Milan Lucic assault. Brave man to pick on a skinny rookie that's only 2/3 his size.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:53.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot and was 38% on 8 draws in 12:37.

Adam Erne had 2 shots and 3 hits in 14:38.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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