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NHL Game Night: 10-6-18 Panthers at Lightning

Opening night Vasilarceny as the Lightning continue to torment PantherNation.

FLA-1
TB-2 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 43 shots and 2 of 2 shooters in the penalty shot session for the SO victory. The Lightning could've easily been down 3 or 4 goals coming out of a particularly terrible looking opening frame were it not for how sharp Andrei was from the word "go".

First Period
5:58 FLA MacDonald (1), (Trocheck, Huburdeau)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
10:45 TB Cirelli (1), (McDonagh)(SH)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
FLA- NONE
TB- Miller, Kucherov

Vasilevskiy and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars.

That was ugly as sin, but I'll take it. The Lightning looked rusty, out of sync, and just plain bad for the first 20 minutes of tonight's contest and were frankly lucky not to get blown out of their own barn. Vasilevskiy held them in it and they got progressively better over the course of the contest, but there were still far too many mental errors and old Lightning bugaboos for my taste. Turnovers. Players passing out of shooting opportunities in prime real estate around the slot and circles. Penalties in bad situations. It wasn't good. Chalk it up to the weirdness of opening night, but unless you're wearing #88, you shouldn't be happy with how you played tonight. They'll be no shortage of film for Jon Cooper to point to to teach them up after tonight's near debacle that thankfully wasn't.

If there was one silver lining, I think it was the team's response coming out of the First Intermission. I'm a little squeamish about the lack of changes to this roster and the potential for staleness that plagued this team two seasons ago when they missed the playoffs. I didn't get that complacency vibe from the team tonight. They knew they stepped in it in the First Period and they showed some resolve to try to correct their habits immediately. That's good to see from a team that now has to get back to the regular season grind of systematically trying to get 12 points every 10 game segment of the season. It's a grind that requires leadership and mental toughness, and they showed some of that tonight even though they didn't have their A (or even their C) game for a good portion of the night.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 13:50. Looked a hot runny mess in the First Period, like most of his teammates, and then got a lot better from there on out. Thought for sure he was going to score on one shift in the Second Period.

Anthony Cirelli had the big SH goal and 2 shots and 1 hit in 15:15 and was 57% on 14 draws. Played a good game and got rewarded for it with some puck luck on his goal.

Adam Erne had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 8:32. Mixed it up physically at times, but didn't have a ton of ice time to be more impactful with.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.