Koekkoek, Slater

NHL Game Night: 10-12-17 Penguins at Lightning

Bow down to your new blueline overlord.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 40 shots for the victory. It's been like watching a new age Grant Fuhr early in this season. The stats don't part your hair when you read them, but he makes the big saves to help the team get W's.

First Period
6:07 TB Koekkoek (1), (Kunitz, Stralman)
13:46 PIT Guentzel (2), (Letang, Rust)
19:59 TB Hedman (1), (Killorn, Kucherov)(PP)

Second Period
3:59 TB Stamkos (1), (Namestnikov, Killorn)(PP)
8:58 PUT Sheary (3), (Ruhwedel, Niemi)
9:49 TB Kucherov (4), (Coburn, Killorn)
14:24 PIT Rust (1), (Guentzel, Maatta)(PP)
17:55 TB Koekkoek (2), (Killorn, Johnson)

Third Period
10:01 PIT Hunwick (1), (McKegg, Kessel)

Slater Koekkoek, Alex Killorn, and Kikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

It wasn't the same tour de force performance that the Lightning put together against Washington, but the Lightning looked the better team 5 v 5 all night long against Pittsburgh and deserved the result tonight. Had they stayed out of the box consistently, they surely would've made this a lot easier on themselves, and even with some lapses of discipline there were several moments in the game it looked like it was teetering on the edge of the Lightning getting a 3 goal lead and making it a laugher. Against that team, that's impressive. Back-to-back wins against Washington and Pittsburgh are absolutely impressive, and leave little doubt the Lightning are legit early in this campaign.

4 games into the season, the Lightning have 6 points. 6 more points to collect in the next 6 games to make this a successful segment of the season.

Koekkoek had his first 2 NHL goals and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 9:44. The first goal, which was deflected by the Pens and a bit of puck luck, looked like it took a 200 pound gorilla off of Slater's back. The second goal looked like sheer exuberance as Koekkoek emerged from the box to patiently deposit a 3-on-1 chance on his backhand. Might be time to give him a game or two with a little more IT to see how he handles it.

Yanni Gourde had 3 shots and was 50% on 4 draws in 15:45. I liked that he was shooting the puck more. That will pay dividends in the long run.

Gabriel Dumont was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 8:59. He was also 33% on 9 draws. Skating's an issue. It just needs to be said.

Jake Dotchin was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 16:45. Little by little, he keeps rounding into form.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 in just 5:22 of ice time. Sheary snuck behind him off the bench to steal a goal, and it seemed like Sergachev didn't see the ice much after that. With Koekkoek playing a nice little game, I wouldn't be shocked in the Lightning gave Mikhail a game off to watch and re-center before throwing him back into the fire.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-9-17 Capitals at Lightning

Out of the ashes, Tampa Bay issues a statement.

TB-4 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory. The stat lines not pretty, but a handful of his saves had to be in order to allow the Lightning to keep contact and get the win.

First Period
16:42 WSH Backstrom (1), (Burakovsky, Oshie)
18:05 WSH Oshie (2), (Carlson, Backstrom)(PP)

Second Period
5:28 TB Killorn (1), (Point, Coburn)
7:49 WSH Oshie (3), (Backstrom, Kuznetsov)(PP)
18:09 TB Kunitz (1), (Stralman, Paquette)

Third Period
10:46 TB Kucherov (3), (Killorn, Stralman)

3:08 Point (3), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn were the game's first and second stars.

Every man in that lineup up and down deserved a star. That was Lightning hockey, and it was Lightning hockey at a level I don't think we've seen in a regular season matchup against the Capitals in forever. Coming off an embarrassing performance in Sunrise, the Lightning outskated, outpossessed, and outplayed Washington for the bulk of 63 minutes of hockey, allowing them to overcome some negative puck luck in the First Period to get the job done. And, it wasn't just the top lines or the top pairs. Every man all the way down to the checking line got it done tonight. Cedric Paquette even played like a beast tonight. Kunitz. Callahan. You name it. This team had a different look in their eye coming out of, one would presume, some kind of team meeting this morning, and they wouldn't be denied tonight. This isn't hype, it's truth: if they play with that level of determination, attention to detail, and hustle every night, they're going to leave a lot of opposing teams in their wake as they plow through this season. The back checking pressure of the Lightning forwards in the neutral zone alone tonight... well, Nigel's going to need to smoke a cigarette while he puts this film together. It's that good.

7 games left in segment 1 of the campaign: 8 points left to go.

Slater Koekkoek played 3:09 as the 7th d-man. If you blinked, you missed him.

Yanni Gourde had 2 penalty minutes in 14:44. I need some more SOG's, Yanni.

Jake Dotchin had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 12:01. He's slowly rounding into form.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:40. Mixed bag. Egregious turnovers in the First Period. Darned near potted a regulation winner in the Third Period.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-30-17 Lightning at Predators

Lightning close preseason in style.

NSH-2 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the OT victory.

First Period
5:49 TB Killorn, (Stamkos, Kucherov)(PP)
10:46 NSH Salomaki, (unassisted)(SH)(PS)

Second Period
13:51 TB Killorn, (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
16:07 NSH Sissons, (Josi, Fiala)

1:02 TB Kucherov, (Stralman, Stamkos)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's first star.

Not going to say this game wasn't without its flaws, but after several mediocre performances against Florida, this team needed a result to cap the preseason. That's what they got tonight, via the play of their biggest guns.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 blocked shot in 13:48.

Yanni Gourde had 2 hits in 14:50.

Gabriel Dumont was -1 with 3 shots and was 80% on 5 draws in 8:25.

Jake Dotchin had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:48 in his preseason debut off suspension.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 20:33.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-26-17 Lightning at Panthers

Lightning fan snarky question of the night: Things Better Attended than a Panthers Preseason Game in Sunrise, FL? Go!


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period

Second Period
0:42 FLA Huberdeau, (Barkov)
5:57 FLA Huberdeau, (Barkov, Trocheck)(PP)

Third Period
7:35 TB Callahan, (Girardi, Namestnikov)
12:56 FLA Brickley, (Pysyk, MacKenzie)
18:57 TB Kucherov, (Point, Sergachev)
19:38 FLA Trocheck, (Barkov, Huberdeau)(EN)

Things are getting down to the nitty gritty now. This was pretty close to the opening night lineup with the probably exception of a couple of the forwards who played tonight and the absence of the suspended Jake Dotchin.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 15:12.

Alexander Volkov was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 15:14. He may very well be the old "last cut" of camp, which is surprising for a guy who had a very slim resume coming into this camp.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and 2 penalty minutes to go with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 19:50. IMO, the best scenario for the Lightning is for Sergachev to settle into a role where he plays a reliable ~18 minutes a night, and he looks like he may be capable of giving the team that.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Day: 9-24-17 Panthers at Lightning

Peca makes his case.


Petr Budaj allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:39 FLA McGinn, (McCoshen, Bjugstad)

Second Period
14:30 TB Volkov, (Peca, Killorn)
15:02 FLA Dadonov, (Huburdeau, Barkov)

Third Period
4:34 FLA Vrbata, (Hawrlyuk, Malgin)(PP)
12:44 TB Volkov. (Killorn, Peca)
18:55 FLA Huburdeau, (Petrovic)(EN)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Tonight's lineup looked to be a little closer to Tampa Bay's first choice defense playing with a more Syracuse-flavored forward corps.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in 17:05.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 17:14.

Brett Howden was 56% on 9 draws in 15:52.

Ben Thomas was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 17:44.

Matthew Peca had 2 helpers and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot and he was 30% on 10 draws. Peca's had a solid camp and preseason with his play in all three zones and seems to be making a serious challenge to make the big league squad.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot in 11:30.

Anthony Cirelli was -3 and 54% on 13 draws in 16:03.

Adam Erne was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 16:37.

Alexander Volkov had a pair of goals and 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:25. He's played well throughout camp and the preseason. His first goal was a wraparound which might've been a bit of a soft goal gift that Florida's netminder should've gotten to. His second goal was pretty much a tap in driving to the net on a nice backhand feed by Killorn. He'll be an interesting player to watch in Syracuse this season.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 23:46. The ice time doesn't lie. The Lightning have big league plans for young Sergachev.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-20-17 Lightning at Hurricanes

Junior Lightning strike back in Carolina.


Petr Budaj allowed 2 goals on 20 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Michael Leighton who allowed 1 goal on 12 shots the rest of the way for the back door win.

First Period
6:33 TB Erne, (Brown, Dumont)
12:37 CAR Wallmark, (Lindholm, Necas)(PP)

Second Period
2:29 TB McGinn, (Stephens)
4:28 TB Sergachev, (Point, Conacher)
9:25 CAR Ryan, (Miller, Hanifin)

Third Period
12:02 TB Katchouk, (Cirelli, Howden)
18:24 CAR Aho, (Skinner, Linholm)(PP)

Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars. Nice to see a younger Lightning lineup pull out a game on the road against a Carolina lineup that included more of their first choice players in front of their home crowd. These back-to-back games, if anything, have helped confirm the quality of the Lightning's prospects as many of these players move into their seasons in the junior and minor league ranks.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 19:01.

Boris Katchouk had the GWG and was +1 with 1 shot in 12:52.

Libor Hajek had 1 shot in 17:47.

Brett Howden had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:19. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Cal Foote was -1 with 1 shot and 5 blocked shots in 18:36.

Matthew Peca had 2 shots and 1 hit in 17:28. He was also 43% on 7 draws.

Mitchell Stephens had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:10.

Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 9 penalty minutes, 4 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:01. He was also 17% on 6 draws. His penalty minutes game for a brawl started after boarding a Hurricanes opponent.

Adam Erne notched his second of the preseason and was +1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:54. It will be tough, waiver eligibility being a concern, for Erne to make the Lightning out of camp. That said, I feel he gives the team a dimension it lacks as a creative power forward and from a pure hockey standpoint, he'd be on my first choice 23-man roster.

Erik Cernak was +3 with 2 shots, 7 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 20:27. The stay-at-homer's dream box score.

Sergachev had a goal and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 22:16. I'm not shocked. He's the real thing. I don't believe a 30+ point season is a reasonable expectation for Sergachev as a rookie, if he makes the squad, but I do believe he can be a solid minutes eater in his premiere campaign if the team keeps him in Tampa Bay.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Lightning Give Slater Koekkoek One-Year Extension

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000 today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Koekkoek, 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, played in 29 games with the Lightning in 2016-17, recording four assists. He also skated in 48 contests with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, notching two goals and 13 points. Koekkoek also appeared in 22 Calder Cup Playoff games and registered a goal with seven points as the Crunch reached the finals.

The Winchester, Ontario native has played in 41 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, and recorded five assists. He has also skated in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games and dished out one assist in those contests. Koekkoek has played in 180 career AHL games, all with the Crunch, recording 12 goals and 54 points. He has appeared in 25 career Calder Cup Playoff games and registered a goal and eight points.

Koekkoek, 23, was drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 6-13-17 Crunch at Griffins

Crunchning Death Star runs aground in Grand Rapids.


Grand Rapids Wins the Series 4-2

Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.

First Period
14:09 SYR Gourde (8), (Conacher)

Second Period
0:18 GR Ford (8), (Nosek)(PP)
7:51 SYR Taormina (5), (Bournival, Lynch)
11:50 GR Callahan (6), (Street)
18:10 SYR Gourde (9), (Masin, Taormina)

Third Period
3:50 GR Bertuzzi (9), (Frk, Nosek)
12:41 GR Frk (5), (Lashoff, Nosek)

Yanni Gourde was the game's third star.

It's a painful way for the season to end. The Crunch were 20 minutes away from forcing a somewhat improbable Game Seven encounter before the wheels finally came off. It's been a special team and a special, likely one-off, moment in time for Syracuse. The Crunch are likely to have a youth movement next season, particularly at forward. This veteran laden team will likely move along to the NHL, in a few cases, or to other teams/leagues in quite a few others. The big upside of this run for the Tampa Bay Lightning? In my opinion, it's a lot of quality minutes in pressure situations played by defenseman prospects like Slater Koekkoek, Jake Dotchin, Dominik Masin, and Ben Thomas.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-17-17 Marlies at Crunch

Five unanswered goals, and the Crunchning Death Star sets course for the Eastern Conference Finals.


Syracuse Wins the Series 4-3

Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 17 shots for the victory. Sweet, sweet goal support!

First Period
6:26 SYR Dumont (3), (Thomas, Brodeur)
17:37 TOR Griffith (2), (Moore, O'Reilly)
18:57 TOR Leipsic (4), (Oleksy)

Second Period
11:03 TOR Johnsson (6), (Kapanen)
13:30 SYR Taormina (2), (Peca, McGinn)
15:14 SYR Erne (3), (Conacher, Taormina)(PP)

Third Period
0:08 SYR Peca (4), (Dotchin, Koekkoek)
18:19 SYR Conacher (4), (Gourde, Condra)
19:29 SYR Gourde (2), (unassisted)(EN)

Matthew Peca, Gabriel Dumont, and Jake Dotchin were the game's three stars.

Syracuse's playoff life was in doubt for about a three and a half minute span of the Second Period tonight. Down 3-1, the team looked to be in potentially dire straits. Then the comeback started, and five goals later the Crunch had made their statement. This team may just win it all. How'd they do it? After leaning heavily on their veterans for most of this run, the Crunch youth have started to chip in on the scoresheet, making an unbelievable deep team even more lethal.

Matthew Peca is starting to build a legacy in these playoffs as a big goal, big game player. If you're wondering how we celebrated his game winning goal, assisted by fellow Bolt Prospects Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek: Chad had to go take a cold shower, I smoked a cigarette, and Tim demanded the misses, "Now go fix me a sammich!" We were happy/excited.

Syracuse will play the Providence Bruins for the AHL Eastern Conference crown. Providence was actually the fourth seed in a very deep and very talented Atlantic Division. It'll be a very tough series for the chance to advance to the organization's third Calder Cup Final of the Yzerman/BriseBois regime.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 5-13-17 Marlies at Crunch

Crunchning Death Star thrives on imperial home ice.


Syracuse Leads the Series 3-2

Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory in the kind of bounceback game you need from your goaltender in playoff time after the odd rough outing (which happens in a long playoff run).

First Period
8:26 TOR Oleksy (1), (Findlay, Clune)
11:24 SYR Peca (3), (Condra, Racine)

Second Period
3:18 SYR Vermin (4), (Conacher, Gourde)
9:25 SYR Lynch (1), (Walcott)

Third Period
1:35 SYR Racine (1), (Gourde)(SH)
16:22 SYR Dumont (2), (Condra, Bournival)(EN)

McKenna, Slater Koekkoek, and Gabriel Dumont were the game's three stars.

With the chips down the Syracuse Crunch brought their best effort to the rink tonight in an absolutely critical Game Five tilt in a tied up series. Mind you, this series should be over right now were it not for the Crunch's late game collapse in Game Three, but that contest is water under the bridge at this point. Now Syracuse gets Jake Dotchin back from suspension heading into a potential closeout game. It's never easy to finish off a good opponent on the road at playoff time, but champions typically find a way.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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