Koekkoek, Slater

NHL Game Night: 11-25-16 Blue Jackets at Lightning

Thanksgiving hangover dooms Lightning.

CBJ-5
TB-3

Ben Bishop allowed 5 goals on 38 shots for the loss. You couldn't fault him on the first four goals, but the lack of concentration on Columbus' Third Period insurance marker was... troubling.

First Period
3:46 CBJ Wennberg (4), (Saad, Johnson)
8:35 CBJ Foligno (8), (Atkinson, Werenski)

Second Period
8:33 TB Kucherov (11), (Johnson, Palat)
9:02 CBJ Anderson (6), (Hartnell)
18:28 TB Garrison (1), (Filppula, Witkowski)

Third Period
3:37 TB Palat (4), (Kucherov, Hedman)
4:34 CBJ Saad (5), (Wennberg)
11:13 CBJ Atkinson (8), (unassisted)(SH)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

As was the case in Syracuse's game, a Lightning Thanksgiving hangover at home was predictable, but nonetheless unacceptable. Columbus flat out dominated a flat Lightning team in the First Period to stake a 2-0 lead, and with a crossbar and post thrown in, it could've been 4-0. The Lightning showed resiliency to battle back the rest of the game, but their defensemen as a group played the dumbest game they've probably played in years. Some of the turnovers and weak plays along the wall they made were just unbelievable for a group with the experience and pedigree of these players. Ultimately, a soft play in the corner by Garrison led to Saad's eventual game winner and an unbelievable turnover by Hedman on the PP led to Atkinson's insurance goal. Tack that on to about a half dozen idiotic mistakes by Nikita Nesterov and other turnovers by Coburn and Sustr that could've led to goals against versus a more skilled team, and you have a classic example of why I wouldn't be a good coach. Because, simply put, I'd be in jail right now for strangling the whole bloody lot of them. Idiotic. Dumb. Moronish. Brain dead. Imbecilic. Pathetic.

Get well soon, Anton Stralman, because I can't take another night of THAT.

Brayden Point was -1 in 12:42.

Luke Witkowski was -1 with his first NHL assist and 2 penalty minutes in 8:26.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 15:31. He and Witkowski might've been the only Lightning d-men tonight who didn't make a completely boneheaded mistake at some point.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-23-16 Flyers at Lightning

Lightning eventually lap overmatched Flyers.

PHI-2
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the victory. Both the goals he allowed were subpar short side goals and the first one, in particular, was an inexcusable softie. But, he ultimately staunched the bleeding at that second goal and made a spate of timely stops as the night rolled on to eventually give the team the chance to pull out the win.

First Period
19:57 TB Hedman (4), (Palat, Point)(PP)

Second Period
6:06 PHI Weise (2), (VandeVelde, Provorov)
19:05 PHI Provorov (1), (Read, Streit)

Third Period
13:28 TB Killorn (8), (Koekkoek, Namestnikov)
13:40 TB Callahan (2), (Point, Johnson)
18:45 TB Kucherov (10), (Filppula, Palat)

Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn were the game's first and second stars.

Really, this was a three act play with the common thread running throughout all of it that the Lightning just have an overall higher talent level than Philly that eventually broke through. The Lightning absolutely dominated the First Period despite a lack of crispness in their passing and handling of the puck. The Flyers looked really loose in the neutral zone and were allowing Tampa Bay a lot of speed and odd man rushes, and it seemed a matter of time before Tampa Bay would start running up the score. Philly allowed a late power play goal in the frame to fall behind 1-0 and really should've counted themselves lucky, because Mason had more than one fortunate save/bounce over the course of the evening. The Lightning got a little too fat/happy with themselves in the Second Period and let off the gas a little which allowed the Flyers to run up a large shot advantage in the middle frame although very few really scoring chances came with those shots. But, the Lightning eventually conceded the lead on the softie off the rush allowed to Weise and later Kucherov losing his man off a faceoff loss late in the period on Provorov's goal. The Third Period then became a reprise of the First Period, with the exception that the Lightning started to bear down and focus on their finishing. Three quick goals later Philly was doubled up and dispirited and Mason's luck had fully run out. It really was a matter of time. The Flyers were a hot mess defensively in the neutral zone all night long, and between that and a lot of turnovers under forechecking duress by their defense, a melt down looked inevitable. That's just a bad hockey team, defensively.

Brayden Point had 2 helpers, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 13:35. Made a really good look to Callahan on the goal on a quick change turnover to give the Lightning the eventual game winner.

Luke Witkowski was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 7:36. Played a rough and tumble game. He took some big hits and he handed out some big hits.

Slater Koekkoek had a helper and was +2 with 1 hit in 7:32. Took a big pop in the First Period that may have contributed to his diminished ice time. Eventually, though, his jumping into the rush was a key part of Killorn's equalizing goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-21-16 Lightning at Predators

Silver linings in road trip ending loss.

TB-1
NSH-3

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the loss. Things could've gotten out of hand were it not for several quality stops from Ben.

First Period
4:25 NSH Arvidsson (6), (Josi, Ellis)

Second Period
9:55 NSH Subban (4), (Ellis, Ribiero)(PP)
12:35 NSH Subban (5), (Forsberg, Ellis)(PP)

Third Period
19:10 TB Johnson (7), (Kucherov, Hedman)

It wasn't like Nashville ran the Lightning out of the rink, and with a couple of bounces Tampa Bay could've stolen some points from this one. But, on the 5th game of a road trip with a depleted lineup against a quality team, the Predators obviously carried the balance of the play. They staked themselves to the early lead and controlled pretty much the entire First Period. Tampa Bay made a nice push back in the Second Period, but once they started getting into the box midway through the frame Nashville got the power play goals they needed to put the game away.

All of that was really subtext though for a game that was ultimately marred by some pretty borderline dirty play. I guess that's what they do out in the Western Conference, whether it be slashing guys in the ribs behind the play or crosschecking a guy into the dasher boards to bloody him. You really began to lose track of the number of times Nashville stepped over the line in this game before J.T. Brown finally took the law into his own hands by first destroying Roman Josi with his head down behind the net on one play and later losing his mind and pummeling Ryan Ellis half to death for elbowing him from behind about 4 minutes thereafter. Sprinkle in some big hits from the likes of Cedric Paquette and you can point to, at least, a quality physical response from the team even if they didn't get the result on the scoreboard. That's a teambuilding win, in a way, that you can treat like a silver lining.

Tampa Bay finishes the second 10-game segment of the year at 25 points, meaning they're 1 point ahead of the pace they needed to be on track for the playoffs. On to the next one: 12 in 10, do it again.

Brayden Point had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 10:32.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:27.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 11-19-16 Lightning at Flyers

There will be kittens on Graduation Day.

TB-3
PHI-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 32 shots he faced for the shutout in a commanding performance that allowed the Lightning to overcome a 32-18 shot deficit. Vasilevskiy's win was his 41st NHL decision, officially graduating him from prospect status on Bolt Prospects. And, given how well he's played over the past couple of games, we can't help but feel like Andrei's doing a lot to validate our graduation methodology at the moment. He's clearly all grown up now.

First Period
14:25 TB Johnson (6), (Killorn, Filppula)(PP)

Second Period
7:40 TB Palat (3), (Namestnikov)

Third Period
4:26 TB Drouin (3), (Palat)

Vasilevskiy, Ondrej Palat, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

It's very heartening to see the Lightning make such a seamless readjustment to their game in light of the injuries to Stralman and Stamkos. They needed to adopt a more low-scoring game that relies in part on goaltending and attention to defensive detail. This road trip has seen a return to a lot of the basics that have made the Lightning successful over the past three years, along with some slump-busting by the likes of Tyler Johnson and Palat and the return of Jonathan Drouin from injury. In other words, a lot of the pieces that would have been prerequisites I would have named off for weathering the storm and being met.

Today's victory clinches a successful second 10-game segment of the season, and the Lightning have already secured 1 insurance point with 1 more game left in the segment. This is good. Without Stamkos, the Lightning likely won't be as consistent in the goal scoring department. So, having insurance points socked away will be important for when the team hits speed bumps along the way to March/April.

Brayden Point had 1 hit in 4:16. The low ice time came from a very nasty cut he took on his lip that required a significant amount of stitches. If women do indeed dig scars, Brayden Point is about to become a stinking matinee idol.

Luke Witkowski had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 9:06.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 hits in 10:45.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Syndicate content