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Stop a Goalie Controversy Before it Starts

As far as Lightning prospect watching goes, outside of a Calder Cup it’s hard to top the past week.

Our top-rated prospect, Jonathan Drouin, was finally freed, taking the left wing spot on Tampa Bay’s top line next to Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan. Drouin was also promoted to the top power play unit, though “promoted” could be interpreted as a reply to an S.O.S. signal that didn’t include red lights.

Then there’s 19-year-old goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Our No. 2 prospect made his NHL debut with a stellar performance in Philadelphia, allowing an early, no-chance deflection goal. On Saturday, Vasilevskiy put on a cape and turned in one of the best goaltending performances in Lightning history, stopping 45 of 47 shots in an eventual 3-1 loss to the Islanders. Lightning skaters had the best seats in the house for Vasy’s show and did their fair share of watching.

The BoltProspects Podcast, Volume 12

This week's edition of the BoltProspects Podcast (now on Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:

· Analyzing Vasilevskiy's debut
· Taylor Hall trade rumors
· Interview with Syracuse captain Mike Angelidis
· BP Mailbag (More on TB goaltending future, KHL fallout, Artem Sergeev status update)
· TB prospect World Juniors preview

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to TBLPowerPlay.com.

Previous BP Podcast editions:

This Week in TampaCuse: 12-25-14

A few bits of news and random thoughts from the land of in-laws:

1. Lightning defenseman prospect Anthony DeAngelo’s place on USA’s World Junior team was made official today when USA cut injured defenseman Steve Santini (Devils). This is big news considering DeAngelo wasn’t even invited to USA’s summer camp in Lake Placid due to character concerns. DeAngelo’s two-way game continues to mature without losing offense. He leads the OHL in scoring by a defenseman despite playing fewer games than most of his competition.

KHL Game Day: 12-24-14

Magnitogorsk 3 vs. Ekaterinburg 0
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, SO, 41/41, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 34 GP, 23-4-4, 4 SO, 1.68 GAA, .939 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin turned aside all 41 shots he faced to lead Magnitka to a 3-0 Christmas Eve triumph over Ekatrinburg. Ex-Jackets pick Sergei Mozyakin had 2 goals and 3 points in the victory.

Bratislava 4 vs. Nizhnekamsk 6
Jaroslav Janus, Bratislava, Loss, 32/37, 5.04 GAA, .865 sv%
Season totals: 22 GP, 6-11-5, 2 SP, 2.75 GAA, .896 sv%

Ex-Syracuse Crunch Dan Sexton had a pair of goals to help Nizhnekamsk defeat Slovan Bratislava 6-4. Ex-NHLer Ladislav Nagy had a goal in defeat for Slovan.

NHL Game Night: 12-23-14 Penguins at Lightning

Christmas done Triplets style.

PIT-3
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the victory. Tonight was light work until Third Period garbage time, which was a welcome relief after the volume of shots/chances he faced on Long Island.

First Period
6:54 TB Johnson (11), (Kucherov, Palat)
19:56 TB Johnson (12), (Palat, Hedman)

Second Period
0:52 TB Kucherov (14), (Carle, Filppula)
2:37 TB Johnson (13), (Kucherov, Palat)
10:15 PIT Hornqvist (13), (Klinkhammer)

Third Period
9:55 PIT Kunitz (10), (Malkin)
18:29 PIT Letang (8), (Hornqvist, Malkin)

Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars. Like Jon Cooper's top line reindeer bringing a sleigh full of winning.

This was a very important win for a number of reasons. One, it showed the thing that happened on Long Island was an aberration. Two, it allows the team to feel good headed into the Winter Break and they can start after the break with a pretty fresh slate. Third, it helped them bury the long losing streak they've had against Pittsburgh, which is a team they'll likely see over the next few years as a playoff adversary. True, the Pens were depleted. True the Pens were tired. I'm not under any delusions that the Lightning bested the Penguins' most fearsome lineup tonight. But, it's something positive to build on, and they did have Crosby, Malkin, and (for a little while) Fleury on the rink.

When the Lightning come back from break, the first 5 things they need to work on are: power play, power play, power play, power play, and power play. It's bad right now. Absolutely terrible. Time for the coaching staff to take some egg nog down into Cooper's laboratory and white board something fresh, because what they're doing right now is an atrocity masquerading as a travesty.

With 4 games to go in this 10-game segment, the Lightning sit 7 points shy of the 12 they would want per segment, but just 2 points shy of the spot they need to be at the end of the 4th segment (48 points) thanks to the insurance points they've squirreled away. 7 out of 8 possible points is tough, but you'd like to see the Lightning get at least 5 or 6 out the 8 possible points so they don't burn off too much of what they have in the bank in case another rainy day pops up.

Cedric Paquette had 1 shot and 2 hits in 13:29. I thought he played his role really well tonight.

Jonathan Drouin was -2 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:04. I'm not a huge fan of the Drouin/Stamkos/Connolly combination that was put together by Cooper tonight, because I'm not sure I see a lot of puck retrieval on that line unless Stammer does it.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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