Dumont, Gabriel

NHL Game Night: 11-9-17 Lightning at Kings

Lightning opens gates of hell in the First Period in Los Angeles. No Kings spared.

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Much maligned Petr Budaj allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the win. He made a critical save on Koptar early on in the game on a bang bang play that led to Kucherov's breakaway goal. That's making the situational save you need for the W.

First Period
9:27 TB Kucherov (16), (Stamkos, Koekkoek)
10:01 TB Killorn (2), (Girardi, Johnson)
10:35 TB Hedman (2), (Gourde, Palat)
11:29 TB Stamkos (8), (Killorn, Kucherov)(PP)

Second Period
17:31 LA Toffoli (8), (Kopitar, Muzzin)

Third Period
8:39 LA Fantenberg (1), (Brown, Laich)
12:59 TB Namestnikov (8), (Hedman, Kucherov)

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars.

Petr Budaj makes a big situational save, Kucherov scores on a breakaway at the other end, and the Lightning just erupt all over the Kings in a game that was over after less than a dozen minutes. The first 37 or so minutes tonight were just one long replay of the Second Period dominance the Lightning displayed against San Jose last night. Honestly, were it not for Quick, the Kings would've easily let up 8 or 9 goals tonight as the Lightning had something like 23 scoring chances through the first two periods. Quick almost gave the Kings a chance, but a well played replay challenge by Cooper and the Gang at the end of the Second Period helped the team maintain a 3 goal advantage through 40 minutes and it was off to garbage time for the second night in a row. And, to all a good night.

Things that'll make your mind explode: Namestnikov's on a pace for about 39 goals. Not a typo.

Tonight's victory means the Lightning are within an eyelash of clinching their second successful 10-game segment of the year. After collecting a stylish 17 points in 10 games to start the year, they have 11 points in this second segment with 3 more games to play. So, with 1 more point they'll have nabbed the 12 in 10, and anything after that is just more insurance points in the bank. It's a beautiful thing.

Slater Koekkoek had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot in 6:22.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and he was 60% on 5 draws. As always, the Stamkos line provides the bulk of the firepower, but the Palat/Point/Gourde line sets the pace for the Lightning.

Gabriel Dumont had 3 shots and 2 hits and was 63% on 8 draws in 9:56 as he jumped in to replace an injured Ryan Callahan in the lineup.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 16:45.

Mikhail Sergachev had 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:01.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-2-17 Rangers at Lightning

Flat Lightning manage a point.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy put on a command performance, especially in the First and Third Periods, allowing just 2 goals on 35 shots for the OT loss. His individual wins streak was snapped, but that's no reflection on how well he played tonight.

First Period
18:34 NYR Kreider (4), (Zibanejad, Skjei)

Second Period
11:00 TB Gourde (3), (Hedman, Point)(SH)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
1:19 NYR Miller (3), (Shattenkirk)

Vasilevskiy was the game's first star.

New York played tonight with a lot of focus and succeeded in making this into a grinding, tactical kind of game. The Lightning, on the other hand, looked a little flat at the start of the game and fatigued at the close of it. New York did a good job on their film study choking off the Lightning breakout in the First Period, and the Lightning didn't really make any adjustments until the middle frame. They looked, for a moment, to have broken through and taken over the game when a disallowed Alex Killorn goal went in the net, but incidental contact by Dumont waved it off and the Lightning seemed to weaken steadily after that.

Was that a goal? I don't think Dumont's minuscule contact impeded Lundqvist from making a save. But, he did make contact and it appeared Dumont drifted into the paint of his own volition, and I think that was the determining factor for the refs. Cooper used to talk about "inviting" the refs to make a call by your positioning. That's a case where, if Dumont is mindful of the blue paint, I don't think it's an issue.

Had to watch the MSG feed tonight and all Ron Duguay's outfit was missing was a tiger named Montecore. What the hell was going on there?

Six games to go in this segment of the season. At least seven more points left to collect.

Yanni Gourde had the lone goal and 3 shots and 1 hit in 20:12. Maybe the best Lightning forward tonight.

Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot and 1 hit and was 25% on 4 draws in 5:30.

Jake Dotchin had 2 shots and 2 hits in 17:38, but made some head scratching decisions moving the puck tonight. Like, press-boxable head scratching.

Mikhail Sergachev had 1 shot in 16:32. He, himself, made a pretty press-boxable turnover in the Third Period in his own right.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-30-17 Lightning at Panthers

Heyyyyyy, there goes a snowmaaaannnnn!

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 23 shots for the victory. Vasilevskiy sets a franchise record with 9 straight winning starts on a night when he was off his game. His first goal allowed was a short side softie that allowed Florida to avoid getting run out of their building early on. Fortunately, he got the sweet elixir known as goal support.

First Period
2:48 TB Point (6), (Coburn, Girardi)
4:55 TB Kucherov (13), (Stamkos)
10:31 FLA Ekblad (3), (Huberdeau, Barkov)
14:40 TB Stamkos (5), (Hedman, Killorn)(PP)
19:07 FLA Barkov (4), (Dadonov)

Second Period
5:32 FLA Huberdeau (5), (Barkov, Dadonov)
7:17 TB Palat (Point, Gourde)
9:38 TB Gourde (2), (Sergachev, Palat)(PP)
15:41 TB Namestnikov (5), (Kucherov, Hedman)

Third Period
5:32 FLA McGinn (3), (Bjugstad, Vrbata)
9:02 TB Stamkos (6), (Dotchin, Namestnikov)
11:29 FLA Dadonov (6), (Huberdeau, Barkov)
19:41 TB Stralman (2), (unassisted)(EN)

Steven Stamkos and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and third stars. I think they broke into the stash in the Miami Dolphins offensive line coach's office on that Vasilevskiy selection, history making aside, but I digress.

I thought the Lightning could've very well crushed Florida in this game (even more so than hanging 8 goals on them) if Vasilevskiy plays his normal game. I think the soft goal threw Florida a lifeline and they always play Tampa Bay like it's their championship. And, honestly, the Governors Cup often is the most prestigious thing they have a chance to play for, sadly enough. I can only imagine the difficulty for Tampa Bay having to get up for a game against a motivated little brother in an empty building. It's got to be challenging. For that reason, I can't muster much in the way of concern trolling about the 5 goals allowed. Take the win. Rub it into Florida's face that they still stink on toast. Move on to better things.

Real talk, though, folks: the attendance tonight in Sunrise should be a league-wide scandal. Remember when I made fun of the attendance in Raleigh the other night? Sunrise said, "Hold my beer." If there were 3,000 people in that building I'd be surprised, and probably a third of those were Lightning fans. This is a joke. How does the NHL allow this to continue? I can't fathom how Bettman and his cronies can possibly believe this is better for the league than selling out an 18,000 seat barn in Quebec City every night. I mean, Jesus, the Lightning and Panthers nearly scored one goal for every man, woman, and child in attendance at tonight's game. It's pathetic. It's sad. It's indicative of a franchise that needs to mercifully get the Old Yeller treatment. Just move it already. It's not like anyone in Miami will notice.

Real talk #2, folks: I was subjected to the horror of the Panthers broadcast on Center Ice tonight and I'm fairly certain you could prop Potvin up in front of a banana for a microphone at public skate night at the practice rink and he wouldn't know the difference anymore. Not that I don't find the guy slurring Vasilevskiy's name a half dozen times in a night charming, but at a certain point it's time to send grandpa to the old folks home for his own good. At least Chief had brown liquor as an excuse. Not sure what Potvin's is.

With seven games to go in this second segment of the season, the Lightning now have eight more points to collect.

Yanni Gourde had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 with 2 goals and 3 blocked shots in 18:30. He's the heart and soul of the forecheck on his line at evens and he's become the nice little PK ace, too.

Gabriel Dumont was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 3 blocked shots in 14:43. He was also 47% on 17 draws. I'm still not sure I'd call him an NHL'er, but I'll co-sign how he thumped Barkov and then suckered McCoshen into a minor penalty in the Third Period. All it lacked was giving an air kiss to McCoshen as he skated off.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 16:41.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 13:44.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-21-17 Penguins at Lightning

This feels different.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 29 shots for the victory. He's been lights out all season, but lately he's been putting together the stats to match. Really want to terrify an opposing NHL GM? Remind them Vasiy's only 23 years old. You're welcome.

First Period
1:36 TB Kucherov (9), (Hedman, Stamkos)(PP)
14:16 TB Stamkos (3), (Namestnikov, Kucherov)(PP)
19:59 TB Gourde (1), (Coburn, Point)

Second Period
0:30 TB Point (4), (Palat, Gourde)
5:58 TB Stralman (1), (Sergachev)
7:12 TB Kucherov (10), (Stamkos, Killorn)

Third Period
10:32 TB Sergachev (3), (Stamkos, Namestnikov)(PP)
18:18 PIT Guentzel (3), (Rust, Letang)(PP)

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

I wasn't able to watch the game, so rather than comment on the particulars of this game I want to frame the performance of these first nine games of the campaign and offer some overall perspective.

The Tampa Bay Lightning missed the playoffs by one point last season partly because of injuries, partly because of a bizarre goaltending situation, but probably most of all because the team just didn't seem to have the maturity to approach every game with the necessary urgency. After several years of success, the club seemed to think its bona fides alone were necessary to win hockey games, often discarding good habits and taking shortcuts on the way to being dead last in the Eastern Conference in February before a late season charge nearly punched their postseason ticket. Fresh off that disappointment the Lightning rebuilt their leadership council this season with Stamkos and Ryan Callahan returning from injury and Dan Girardi and Chris Kunitz added into the mix in free agency. Still, through the first two games against the Florida Panthers, this team didn't look like it had learned its lesson as it headed into a games against league royalty like Washington and Pittsburgh that looked like colossal landmines on the schedule.

Seven games later the Lightning are 7-1-1-0. This feels different.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you tonight's drubbing of the defending Stanley Cup champions alone means the Lightning are ready to hoist the hardware themselves. Certainly, an objective observer will point out Antti Niemi hasn't exactly cloaked himself in glory in either of his encounters with the Lightning this year. But, with wins against a bevy of other quality opponents and a team that seems to have found a steely eyed determination and cold blooded professional, it's hard not to consider the Lightning as one of the early season contenders from the East. The only times I've seen this from the Lightning were the second half of the '03-'04 season when that team followed their leadership council of Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor all the way to a Stanley Cup, and the 2011 playoff run where Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis applied what they had learned from that run and came within an eyelash of winning it all before going down in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals to Boston. The current Lightning core never quite seemed to have the maturity and experience to fully grasp the level of intensity it takes to really and truly be great in all three zones day in and day out. Close, at times? Sure. But, it took the embarrassment of last season and the realization they've probably reached about the midpoint of their Stanley Cup window to get to this point. Now, they look like a team willing (and fully able) to do what it takes. This feels different, and I like it.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 hit in 11:15.

Yanni Gourde had 1 goal, 1 assist, and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 4 shots. He was also 33% on 9 draws. It was just a matter of time. If he's putting up 4 shots a night, he's a 20 goal scorer this year, I think.

Gabriel Dumont had 2 shots and 2 hits in 12:18. He was also 38% on 13 draws.

Jake Dotchin was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 3 hits in 12:52.

Mikhail Sergachev had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 16:56. Now we're getting close to the workload I think he needs to get to for the Lightning to really hit the higher end of some of its season's goals. When you're in a game that has nearly 40 minutes of garbage time, clearly there's no better time to let a young horse like Sergachev get plenty of reps. He did well with them, I see.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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