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NHL Exhibition Game Day: 7-29-20 Lightning v Panthers

COVID-19 pandemic or no COVID-19 pandemic...

TB-5
FLA-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 26 shots he faced for the shutout victory. He was extremely sharp, and having a sharp goaltender might be the single most critical element a team needs for success in this bizarre postseason tournament format.

First Period
13:42 TB Point (1), (Palat, Kucherov)
19:55 TB Point (2), (Shattenkirk)

Second Period
1:53 TB Kucherov (1), (Sergachev, Point)(PP)
5:13 TB Schenn (1), (Palat, Gourde)

Third Period
9:12 TB Kucherov (2), (Point, Palat)

This game turned out to be a pretty nice tune up for the Lightning heading toward their round robin encounters against better competition. The team did look sluggish much of the First Period, with a few notable exceptions like Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde, and got into some penalty trouble which allowed Vasilevskiy to see some action early and often. Late in the period the Lightning managed to get a couple of goals against the run of play including the game opener off a pretty horrendous Panthers turnover in their own corner. There will be teachable moments on that first 20 minutes of tape, but the team wasn't made to pay and once they got the early PP marker in the Second Period the rout was on. Confidence and special teams are also at a premium in this tournament coming off a prolonged stoppage and, with the exception of some early harrowing moments on the PK, I thought the Lightning did well in those areas.

If I were a Panthers player, my morale would be in the toilet knowing the Lightning did that to my team without franchise cornerstones Stamkos and Hedman in the lineup. Just sayin'.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot and was 55% on 11 draws in 12:35.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-10-20 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Lightning can't overcome depleted defense, anemic start, and special teams mistakes.

TB-1
TOR-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the loss. He did his part to give the team a chance, stopping 16 shots in the opening frame alone. He deserved better goal support tonight.

First Period
12:42 TOR Nylander (31), (Tavares, Marner)(PP)

Second Period
15:22 TB Palat (17), (Kucherov)

Third Period
3:38 TOR Matthews (47), (Marner, Matthews)(PP)

Vasilevskiy was the game's third star.

Really hard to see this Tampa Bay club battle back from a horrendously flat First Period to get to even footing only to lose the game on one bad positional decision by Erik Cernak on a Third Period PK. It didn't help the Lightning failed to bear down on the chances they had including three breakaways and a wide open Palat chance from the slot that found crossbar. All that said, putting the First Period debacle aside, to be able to play the way they did on balance in the final 40 minutes without Victor Hedman isn't a horrible sign. I never really felt Toronto was all that threatening at even strength in the final two frames. They desperately need their cornerstone defenseman back, though.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 3-8-20 Lightning at Red Wings

Flat Lightning see streak of supremacy over Detroit come to a close.

TB-4
DET-5 (SO)

Curtis McElhinney allowed 4 goals on 28 shots before allowing 2 of 3 to convert in the PS session for the loss. His positioning was pretty terrible all game long and after being pretty solid most of the year he's hit a cold streak that's pretty concerning of late.

First Period
10:11 DET Fabbri (15), (Bertuzzi, Mantha)

Second Period
11:11 TB Point (24), (Johnson, Kucherov)(PP)
14:57 TB Verhaeghe (9), (unassisted)
19:45 DET Larkin (19), (Mantha, Bertuzzi)

Third Period
1:41 DET Mantha (16), (Larkin, Bertuzzi)(PP)
4:24 DET Bertuzzi (20), (Mantha, Larkin)
5:55 TB Point (25), (Gourde)
11:19 TB Maroon (9), (Schenn, Gourde)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Sergchev
DET- Larkin, Fabbri

Brayden Point was the game's third star.

The Lightning came out flat as a pancake after last night's emotional game against the Bruins even despite McDonagh's return to the lineup. They overcame that, though, and looked solidly in control in the Second Period until a puck luck bounce off McDonagh with 15 seconds to go in the period knotted things 2-2. Between the soft goals and puck luck bounces at both ends, it was a weird game, but the bottom line for me is that, with more competent goaltending, this is a game the Lightning should've won comfortably.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-7-20 Lightning at Bruins

Shorthanded Lightning beat up and beat down Bruins.

TB-5
BOS-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 38 shots for the victory.

First Period
5:08 TB Cirelli (16), (unassisted)(SH)
6:10 TB Sergachev (10), (Gourde)(SH)

Second Period
6:50 TB Paquette (7), (Bogosian, Coburn)
14:50 BOS McAvoy (5), (Coyle, Grzelcyk)
18:37 BOS Kuraly (6), (McAvoy, Kase)

Third Period
1:08 TB Killorn (26), (Sergachev, Point)(PP)
6:37 BOS Pastrnak (48), (Krug, Marchand)(PP)
18:58 TB Kucherov (33), (unassisted)(EN)

Mikhail Sergachev and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and third stars.

The Lightning won despite losing Victor Hedman to injury and being outshot 38-25 in the contest. How? Grit. Two fights. Lots of rough stuff. This is starting to look more like Phil Esposito's black and blue lunchpail Lightning than the finesse offensive juggernaut of the past stretch. Heartening to see as the Lightning motor through their march schedule toward playoff time.

Mitchell Stephens had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 3 hits in 10:21. He was also 40% on 5 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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