NHL Game Night: 12-29-18 Canadiens at Lightning

Erne's heroics save Lightning from another defensive holiday hangover.

MTL-5
TB-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 38 shots for the victory. This may be exciting hockey, but the coverage busts against the rush and off faceoffs aren't sustainable, and the team can't keep on counting on winning these 1980's-style high scoring games. Refocusing is needed across the board.

First Period
9:44 MTL Shaw (10), (Tatar, Kotkaniemi)(PP)
10:00 MTL Agostino (2), (Benn, Danault)
14:12 TB Gourde (11), (Erne, McDonagh)
17:07 TB Stralman (2), (unassisted)
17:35 MTL Benn (2), (Danault, Gallagher)

Second Period
7:55 TB Kucherov (18), (Hedman, Point)(PP)
8:33 TB Johnson (18), (Sergachev, Kucherov)
12:19 MTL Kulak (1), (Tatar, Danault)
13:11 MTL Shaw (11), (Lehkonen, Weber)

Third Period
9:36 TB Erne (5), (Stralman, Hedman)
18:58 TB Erne (6), (Gourde, Cirelli)

Adam Erne and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and second stars. One of these crazy, high scoring games you can excuse as an anomaly. Two in a row is an alarming trend. I'll just reiterate it: There needs to be a team-wide refocusing, because this isn't sustainable and it's not acceptable to be allowing this many goals a game.

With one more game to go in this 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning have already banked 14 insurance points on the year. They're more than a full 10-game segment ahead of playoff pace, meaning they could play just below sub-.400 hockey from here on out and still sneak into the postseason. That's great, mind you, but it's not an invitation for complacency.

Mathieu Joseph was -3 in his return from injury in 6:54 of ice time. Joseph is eight NHL appearances this season shy of graduation from prospect status on the site.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 14:04. He was also 54% on 13 draws. Cirelli will retire from prospect status on the site in just two more NHL appearances this year.

Erne had 2 goals and an assist and was +4 with 3 shots in 10:47. His game gave you a full display of what this young player can provide the team from the faceoff dots down in the offensive zone — big body who was tough to knock off the puck on the cycle. Got a defender on his back boxing him out with the big body in front to jab home the rebound on his first goal. And then you see the hand skills with the wicked release on one-time on the pass coming out of the corner top shelf with a near perfect shot. Keeping Erne healthy and continuing to develop him as a contributor as this regular season wears on ought to be a priority for the team, because he's got the kind of game that travels well at playoff time and they don't have a ton of guys in the organization like him.

Erik Cernak had 1 shot, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 18:28.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.