Koekkoek, Slater

NHL Game Night: 2-22-18 Lightning at Senators

We can neither confirm nor deny the Lightning abducted Erik Karlsson after the game.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory. Should've been 2 on 36, but a charity decision by Toronto reversed a goaltender interference call that originally waved off the first goal allowed in the Third Period.

First Period
9:31 TB Johnson (17), (Kunitz, Gourde)
14:54 OTT Dzingel (16), (Stone, Brassard)
16:26 TB Hedman (9), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)

Second Period
3:37 TB Namestnikov (20), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
19:59 TB Point (24), (Gourde, Killorn)

Third Period
8:11 OTT Borowiecke (Ryan, Ceci)
17:44 OTT Brassard (18), (Stone, Karlsson)(PP)

Vladislav Namestnikov and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and second stars.

Kind of a common game for the pre-deadline dog days of this season for the Lightning: built a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes and then sleepwalk through a lackluster garbage time before eventually snagging the two points. The Lightning keep doing just what they need to do in very workmanlike fashion. Very few of these games look like Picassos, but I'm not expecting any more masterpieces until maybe midway through March when the roster will be different and the team is tuning up for the postseason.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 7:49.

Adam Erne is -1 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 7:44.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-13-18 Lightning at Sabres

Time for a little soul searching.

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Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
6:25 BUF Baptiste (2), (Girgensons)
13:23 TB Gourde (22), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
1:16 BUF Reinhart (12), (O'Reilly, Rodrigues)(PP)
13:19 TB Namestnikov (19), (unassisted)
15:47 BUF Wilson (4), (Nelson, Antipin)

Third Period
3:41 BUF O'Reilly (18), (Okposo, Ristolainen)(PP)
11:36 TB Callahan (3), (Sergachev, Point)
19:52 BUF Reinhart (13), (O'Reilly)(EN)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

As a general rule, it's never as good or as bad as it seems... but losing to an Eichel-less Buffalo Sabres team that simply seemed to want the 2 points more than the Lightning sure does seem pretty bad. The frustrating thing is that the same mistakes keep going uncorrected. The faceoff circles remain a dumpster fire. The penalty kill remains ineffective. Etc. Etc.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in a paltry 6:26.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 1 shot in 11:58. He was also 62% on 13 draws, which was a rare bright spot in that department in this game.

Adam Erne was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:37. Thought he was pretty dangerous and active in this game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-5-18 Lightning at Oilers

Long road stretch ends with a thud.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss before giving way to Louis Domingue who allowed 2 on 9 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
1:48 EDM McDavid (18), (Strome, Klefbom)(PP)
9:42 TB Killorn (8), (Gourde)
17:24 EDM Draisaitl (13), (Strome, McDavid)(PP)

Second Period
2:33 EDM McDavid (19), (Draisaitl, Benning)
12:59 EDM Pakarinen (1), (Slepyshev, Letestu)

Third Period
1:54 TB Gourde (19), (Johnson)(PP)
6:55 EDM McDavid (20), (unassisted)
13:49 EDM McDavid (21), (Draisaitl, Cammalleri)

If you want to look at this glass half full, you might be able to explain this one away as a bit of a schedule loss. The Lightning were concluding an 8 game road trip and a stretch of 13 out of 16 on the road against a team that poses some unique athletic problems with their speed. That's especially true with young Mr. McDavid with the pace he brings to the game. With all that said, it's inescapable that the Lightning really have been pretty inconsistent over the past month or so and they've had bad habits creep into their game. When you're on the road so much sometimes practice time is scarce and the grind of constant travel leads to lack of focus. The good news is typically the Lightning get a more home-heavy schedule down the stretch of the year, traditionally, and that will allow them to get their game better tuned up for the ride into the postseason. That's good, because their game right now isn't good enough. Too many shots given up, too many chances, and too many odd man rushes surrendered. Improvement is needed for sure.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 4 hits in 13:19.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:03. He was also 62% on 21 draws. He's been above water on faceoffs, by my count, in all but one of his games in this callup thus far. Hence the ice time keeps increasing, because they need him out there.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-3-18 Lightning at Canucks

Lightning claim two road points in workmanlike fashion.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 33 shots for the victory. He was his usual outstanding self tonight, putting up the forcefield to allow the Lightning to craft a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes that they ultimately nursed to the finish line.

First Period
1:26 TB Kunitz (8), (Stralman, Kucherov)
5:52 TB Hedman (7), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Second Period
15:47 TB Gourde (18), (Sergachev, Peca)

Third Period
10:00 VAN Vanek (15), (Stecher, Boeser)
14:30 VAN Boeser (25), (Sutter)
16:26 TB Conacher, (unassisted)(PP)(PS)

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

The Lightning did exactly what you want to do in a road game against an inferior opponent: they jumped on them early to get out to the 2-0 lead, built it to 3-0 after 40 minutes with some opportunism and some good goaltending. And, once you've got a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes, that's typically a knockout. As proven again in this game, teams may pull to within a goal in that scenario (the so-called "false hope goal") but they rarely get closer.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot on goal in 12:51.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 15:10. With tonight's appearance, his 41st of the season, Dotchin has graduated from prospect status on the website.

Matthew Peca had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 17:53 of big ice time. He was also 65% on 20 draws, too.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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