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Peca, Matthew

NHL Game Night: 1-25-18 Lightning at Flyers

The Lightning's big dogs come to eat in Philly.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 37 shots for the victory. It stinks it's All-Star Break time and he has to perform in that 3-on-3 exhibition, because he's in the zone right now and streaking all of a sudden.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
0:25 TB Point (20), (Johnson)
9:56 TB Gourde (17), (Peca, Girardi)
17:29 TB Callahan (2), (unassisted)(SH)

Third Period
13:18 PHI Konecny (10), (Voracek, Giroux)(PP)
14:05 TB Namestnikov (17), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
17:11 TB Namestnikov (18), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Vasilevskiy, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars.

After figuring out how to win without Victor Hedman over the past couple of games the Lightning returned to kind of a tried and true formula tonight to get the big road win. Like many times this season, the team absorbed the home sides best punch in the First Period thanks to stellar goaltending by Vasilevskiy. Vasiy holds them in the game, then the skill forwards torment the opposition the remainder of the tilt. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Fun fact: thanks to the 3 game winning streak the Lightning have a chance to clinch a successful 10-game segment of the season with a win in their next game. They have 10 points through the first 9 games of this segment.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 17:12.

Jake Dotchin was a hefty +4 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:31.

Matthew Peca had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:28. He was good on the forecheck and dangerous a good swath of the night teaming up with Gourde before Yanni earned a promotion to the second line in the Third Period with Cooper reuniting the top group of Namestnikov, Stamkos, and Kucherov. The biggest stat of the night though was Peca going 87% on 15 draws against the best faceoff team in the league. They won't be able to send him down if he keeps that up.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-23-18 Lightning at Predators

Everything is good, all of a sudden.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals* on 33 shots for the OT victory. Why the asterisk? Because he got hosed on an uncalled goaltender interference where a Preds forward launched himself into Domingue's shoulder as Subban's shot arrived, turning him around in the net. Despite this injustice, Domingue played well with several ten bell saves in a First Period where the Lightning could've easily allowed 4 or 5 goals were it not for the exploits of the Dominguenator.

First Period
6:24 TB Kunitz (7), (unassisted)
7:28 NSH Ellis (3), (Josi, Sissons)(PP)
9:11 NSH Arvidsson (14), (Aberg, Irwin)
10:48 TB Namestnikov (16), (Stamkos, Kunitz)

Second Period
19:10 NSH Subban (11), (Ekholm, Joahnsen)(PP)*

Third Period
17:48 TB Stamkos (18), (Koekkoek, Kunitz)

Overtime
1:45 TB Gourde (16), (Namestnikov)

Yanni Gourde was the game's first star.

Take away the first 10 minutes of this game, and the Lightning were the better team tonight and they deserved the two points. Even without Hedman, they came into this game against the reigning Western Conference champs and they took two points the hard way, even after the Predators got gifted that bogus lead goal* at the end of the Second Period. After suffering some embarrassing debacles the Lightning have seemingly started to figure out how to compete without their stud number one defenseman and they will be a much stronger team for the experience once he returns.

NFL: "We created this really confusing reception rule that the refs, media, and fans can't possibly comprehend and creates frustration that tarnishes our brand and makes us all look like fools. No one will ever top the ignominy of our rule."

NHL looks at the crease: "Hold my beer."

If the rationale behind allowing that goal really was something to do with the blue paint of the crease, it's a horrible rule and it needs to be rewritten. The goaltender should have the right to come out and challenge the shooter and cut down the angle on a long shot. Domingue established his position and he was leapt into and spun around before the puck arrived. Textbook goaltender interference (heck, probably should've been a 2 minute minor, to boot) and it's unfathomable how that goal was allowed to stand. If that's a goal then it's open season on goaltenders because nothing is interference. Just go hog wild and Darcy Tucker-style start running netminders to your heart's content.

Thankfully, the Lightning overcame.

Slater Koekkoek was +2 with a helper, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in a hefty 18:34 of ice time. It was a quiet 18:34, which is good, right up until Koekkoek swooped into the zone as the late man and made a heck of a long diagonal pass to Stamkos for the big one timer to equalize late in the Third Period. That's what everyone has to be hoping from with Koekkoek: the total package for all 200 feet.

Jake Dotchin had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 17:03.

Matthew Peca had 2 hits and was 50% on 10 draws in 13:03.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-22-18 Lightning at Blackhawks

Just when they need it the most, Vasiy delivers the kittens.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy snapped out of a little mini-slump with a 40 save shutout victory. Like a giant awaking from a slumber, Vasilevskiy just got stronger and stronger as the game wore on. Look out, he may go on another hot streak now.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
17:14 TB Kunitz (6), (Dotchin, Point)(SH)

Third Period
18:26 TB Gourde (15), (unassisted)

Vasilevskiy and Chris Kunitz were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning rebounded from a couple of debacles with a team win that flowed from the goaltending brilliance of young Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy didn't look completely solid in the First Period but the Lightning PK really picked up the slack with a key kill of a 5-on-3 that invoked and once again validated the old Espo Rule. From the Second Period on it was all Vasilevskiy until Kunitz got a break on an uncalled hand pass that eventually ended up as a shorthanded goal down in the Chicago zone. Gourde pounds home a late insurance goal on a one timer on the back of more Vasilevskiy brilliance and it's a gigantic win for a team that's been limping toward the All Star break.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 21:23. Big minutes. Big Jake is now just 5 games from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Matthew Peca was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:03 and he was also 67% on 6 draws. He won the faceoff on the sequence that led to Gourde's insurance goal and then made a strong play along the wall to pressure the defender to help the puck squirt to Gourde for the one time goal. He showed good speed. Slick hands at times. Good start to this callup.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 1-15-18 Devils at Crunch

Dominguenator keeps his conditioning stint perfect.

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Louis Domingue stopped all 17 shots he faced for the shutout victory in light work to keep his perfect goose egg in this conditioning stint. Domingue runs his season save percentage in the AHL up to a stylish .921.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
1:43 SYR Stephens (12), (Volkov, McBain)(PP)
7:32 SYR Tammela (1), (Masin, Bournival)

Third Period
1:12 SYR Masin (6), (Peca)

Dominik Masin, Matthew Peca, and Jonne Tammela were the game's three stars.

With 16 points on his campaign, Masin has now more than doubled his points output from last season in 32 less games. He's also gone from -4 a season ago to a hefty +16 rating thus far this year. Peca, who may be the quiet favorite to be the next callup from the Crunch, is now riding a seven game points streak and has been brutally consistent most of the campaign. At the other end of the spectrum of great stories, Jonne Tammela (The Cobra!) comes off of three knee surgeries and pots his first AHL goal in his third game back.

Syracuse moves to within three points of second place Rochester with a game in hand and within five points, straight up, of North Division leader Toronto.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 1-7-18 Crunch at Bruins

Comeback Crunch sweep the weekend.

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Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the victory.

First Period
0:17 SYR Bournival (10), (Erne, Thomas)
12:51 PRO Beleskey (3), (Cave, Cross)
14:31 SYR Peca (8), (Joseph, Walcott)

Second Period
4:36 PRO Cehlarik (5), (Karlsson, Cross)
12:50 PRO Bjork (2), (O'Gara, Karlsson)(PP)

Third Period
3:48 SYR Stephens (10), (Verhaeghe)
7:26 SYR Erne (10), (Lynch)

Adam Erne and Matthew Peca were the game's first and third stars. Both Erne and fellow winger Mitchell Stephens potted their 10th goals of the season. Stephens has 4 goals in the past 3 games and appears to be yet another forward throwing their resume on Steve Yzerman's desk for a second half cup of coffee with Tampa Bay.

With the win, at this hour, the Crunch have clearly separated from the pack behind them and sit on an island in third place in the North Divison 6 points up on Laval and 8 points up on Utica. They sit a full 7 points behind second place Rochester and 9 back of first place Toronto, although they hold a game in hand on the Americans and two games in hand on the Marlies.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Opinion: Lightning at the Halfway Mark

Forty games into a historic 2017-2018 season, let's take a moment to pause, step out of the moment, and take stock of where the club is. Sitting halfway through the campaign expectations for the team, which missed the postseason just a year ago, are sky high for good reason. Not only is the Lightning atop the NHL standings a full 13 points ahead of the pace they need to be in order to make the postseason, but the team leads a bevy of organizational and individual statistical categories.

Let's pump the breaks on prematurely planning a Stanley Cup championship parade, though. There's still half of the regular season and the postseason left to play, and as good as the team is, it's not without blemishes. How General Manager Steve Yzerman addresses those blemishes (or doesn't) and how any potential changes alters team chemistry (or doesn't) will have a lot to say about whether the team lives up to its perceived potential. So, with all of that in mind, let's look at how the team got here, what its weaknesses are, and what might happen next.

AHL Game Night: 12-31-17 Crunch at Senators

Syracuse ends 2017 with plenty of fireworks.

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Connor Ingram stopped all 29 shots he faced for his second career shutout. With Domingue up top, Ingram's had a nice start to his tenure as the #1 for the Crunch. Budaj's injury may not be as serious as originally feared, but for however long he has to mind the store Ingram's doing it with style so far.

First Period
15:18 SYR Peca (7), (Verhaeghe)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
2:25 SYR Stephens (7), (Yan, Thomas)
6:31 SYR Volkov (9), (Cirelli, Bodie)
14:22 SYR Volkov (10), (Bournival, McBain)(PP)
17:34 SYR Stephens (8), (Yan, Walcott)

Ingram, Alexander Volkov, and Matthew Peca were the game's three stars. Volkov with four goals in the two weekend games and Peca caps December with 5-10-15 in 13 games. Needless to say, these are two guys sliding their resumes on Yzerman's desk for a potential recall.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12/27/17 Marlies at Crunch

All Yan does is score.

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Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the win. Sweet goal support.

First Period
3:10 TOR Johnsson (11), (Kapanen)
4:22 SYR Yan (4), (Volkov)
10:53 SYR Yan (5), (Peca, Spencer)
15:04 TOR Mueller (7), (Timashov)
19:30 SYR Joseph (7), (Peca)

Second Period
1:45 TOR Gauthier (3), (Greening, Rychel)
17:46 SYR Lynch (8), (Yan, Stephens)(PP)
18:12 TOR Aaltonen (5), (unassisted)

Third Period
3:48 SYR Erne (9), (Joseph, Verhaeghe)(PP)

Dennis Yan and Matthew Peca were the game’s first and third stars. Yan got in his first game in four weeks and dropped 2-1-3 to raise his season scoring to 0.50 points a game, which is such a Dennis Yan thing to do. He has a very particular set of skills. Peca now has a personal seven game points streak with 3-9-12 in that span, as he lines up his case for a potential NHL cup of coffee.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-1-17 Rocket at Crunch

Five straight wins gets Syracuse back to .500.

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Louis Domingue allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory. His save percentage since joining the Crunch has now gotten to a stylish .923 mark after tonight's effort.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
5:58 SYR Erne (2), (Cirelli, McBain)

Third Period
1:56 SYR Peca (3), (Stephens, Thomas)
16:42 LAV Terry (11), (Taormina, Petti)(PP)

Matthew Peca, Domingue, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

Syracuse has risen from the basement of the North Division to a three-way tie for third in the division in winning percentage.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-25-17 Crunch at Penguins

Streaking Crunch run it to 3 in a row.

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Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the victory.

First Period
1:39 SYR Walcott (1), (Verhaeghe, Cernak)
2:58 WBS Tiffels (1), (Quinney, Johnson)
7:39 WBS Blueger (3), (Haggerty, Johnson)
17:28 SYR Verhaeghe (3), (Bodie, McBain)(PP)

Second Period
10:56 SYR Bournival (7), (unassisted)(SH)
16:50 SYR Peca (2), (Erne)

Third Period
7:15 WBS Corrado (2), (Simon, Thomas)

Carter Verhaeghe and Matthew Peca were the game's first and second stars. After going 19 games without a goal, Peca now has a goal in two of his last three tilts. He also has a gaudy 6 points over that three game span.

Syracuse moves to 2 games under .500 with the victory. If they can get their record back to level, then the push to get back into playoff contention can begin.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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