Talk Lightning hockey with fans and staff at the BP Message Boards and follow us on Twitter!

NHL Game Night: 12-31-19 Lightning at Sabres

Comeback win puts Tampa Bay on the precipice of crawling out of early season hole.

TB-6
BUF-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the win. Goal support is good.

First Period
19:03 BUF Sheary (6), (Lazar)

Second Period
2:12 BUF Johansson (6), (Sheary, Scandella)
7:00 TB Palat (12), (Johnson, Sergachev)(PP)
8:12 BUF Vesey (5), (Johansson, Sheary)
9:56 BUG Eichel (25), (unassisted)(SH)
13:57 TB Killorn (14), (Point, Kucherov)(PP)
16:55 TB Johnson (8), (Palat, McDonagh)

Third Period
6:20 TB Shattenkirk (6), (Johnson, Cirelli)
8:08 TB Killorn (15), (Maroon, Paquette)
19:57 TB Cirelli (9), (Killorn, Stamkos)(EN)

Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and third stars. We're moving closer to a reality where Alex Killorn may break 20 goals. #EndOfDays

You know, the Lightning really took off when they decided to finally stop beating themselves tonight. This was a game where the puck management was sloppy and the defensive zone coverage was sloppy and the effort just lacked polish. And, because of that, they fell into a three goal hole halfway through the game. Credit them for not panicking and just resolving to try to get a goal or two before the intermission, which they got, to give themselves a chance. This was one of those games where it wasn't a Picasso, but sometimes Dogs Playing Poker will have to do.

The standings impact of tonight's win was very big as they now have 46 points through 38 games. Go at least .500 over the next two games and they'll pull into the midway point of the campaign right where they need to be on playoff pace. In fact, with the Panthers wetting the bed against the Fighting John Tortorella's of Columbus tonight, the Lightning technically pulled into playoff position tonight, but the competitive standings at this time of year are really less important than the points pacing.

Carter Verheaghe was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 7:40.

Mitchell Stephens was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 7:42. He was also 29% on 7 draws. A rare bad night in the circles for the rookie.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-31-19 Crunch at Devils

Rough patch continues for the Crunch.

SYR-3
BNG-5

Spencer Martin allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
3:24 SYR Conacher (11), (Gaunce, Smith)(PP)
13:03 BNG McLeod (5), (Bastian, Baddock)
17:48 BNG Mermis (3), (Schnarr, Zetterlund)(PP)

Second Period
7:30 BNG Melchiori (3), (Baddock, Merkley)

Third Period
2:12 BNG Street (12), (Groleau, Merkley)
8:42 SYR Smith (11), (Walcott, Volkov)
11:29 SYR Joseph (2), (Foote, Smith)(PP)
19:59 BNG Bastian (5), (McLeod, Baddock)(EN)

Gemel Smith was the game's second star.

Syracuse got the false hope goal tonight after falling into a three goal hole early in the Third Period, but there's a reason why I call it the false hope goal.

Syracuse is now winless in their last three games as they continue to languish in the bottom third of the North Division.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-29-19 Red Wings at Lightning

Patient Lightning outlast/outclass Wings.

DET-1
TB-2

Curtis McElhinney allowed 1 goal on 20 shots for the victory. Played well with situational saves when required.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:10 TB Palat (11), (Shattenkirk)
17:54 DET Fabbri (10), (Hronek, Athanasiou)

Third Period
5:33 TB Point (15), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)

Brayden Point and McElhinney were the game's first and third stars.

After lighting into the team last night, I'll give them some praise for their poise tonight. I feel like this is a game where, earlier in the season, they'd have gotten impatient and found a way to shoot themselves in the foot. They were outshooting Detroit by a roughly 2:1 margin and clearly held the edge in chances the final 40 minutes of the contest but they weren't finishing chances or getting the puck luck they got against Montreal. It would've been easy to show some immaturity and press and cough up chances coming the other way, but the Lightning pretty much stayed within their system and eventually worked their way into the PP winner.

Now they're sitting on 44 points through 37 games, which means if they get 4 of the next 6 points they're back on playoff pacing and I can quit feeling dread for a little while. They really need to bear down and get that game on New Year's Eve against Buffalo and put themselves in good shape to close out this 10-game segment of the year.

Mitchell Stephens was -1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 9:20. He was also 80% on 5 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-28-19 Canadiens at Lightning

Lightning get away with murderously bad First Period.

MTL-4
TB-5

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 43 shots for the win.

First Period
2:08 MTL Kotkaniemi (4), (unassisted)
10:00 MTL Domi (10), (Suzuki, Petry)
19:01 TB Killorn (12), (McDonagh, Stamkos)

Second Period
1:34 TB Stamkos (14), (Hedman, Killorn)
4:56 TB Stephens (1), (Hedman, Vasilevskiy)
12:00 TB Killorn (13), (Cirelli, Hedman)
12:13 MTL Chiarot (5), (Gallagher, Danault)

Third Period
0:55 TB Cirelli (8), (Hedman)
18:32 MTL Weal (4), (Tatar, Gallagher)(PP)

Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, and Steven Stamkos were the game's three stars.

Um... there's going to be a real temptation to look at the outcome of this game and the game control the team had the final half of this contest and feel a lot more content about tonight's effort. But, honestly, that was embarrassing, and if it weren't for some serious puck luck in the Second Period the Lightning could've very easily have gotten blown out of this game. It's inexcusable to come out in any game so flat that you get outshot 18-0 before you can even manage your first bid on goal in the First Period. The complete lack of effort by the Lightning in the first 15 minutes or so of this contest was just so wildly unacceptable that, had I been in Julien BriseBois' shoes, I'd be skipping demotions and firings and gone straight to summary executions. For a team that knows it's been mediocre to start this year and that has been strutting around telling reporters they're quietly confident about going on a streak to put that out on the ice tonight to start the game was an inconceivable display of gutlessness. And, frankly, no outcome is going to make me forgive what I saw. That's horrible. This team? This organization? The complacency that I see from Tampa Bay down to Syracuse right now? Who the blank to these guys think they are that they can come up that short in the effort department for a period or a game? Hell, with these teams behind the eight ball a bit, I shouldn't see that kind of loafing for a shift, let alone see another team run up a 18-0 advantage before firing a shot back in anger. It's pathetic. It's not good enough. Puck luck helped you slip the hangman's noose tonight? Cool. Your habits and your attitude still aren't good enough right now. Fix. Them.

Having managed to cheat death/dodge the bullet tonight, the Lightning still need 6 of the next 8 possible points to pull into the 40 game mark on playoff pace. They don't have a heck of a lot of margin for error right now, is my point.

Mitchell Stephens potted his first NHL goal on 3 shots in 8:43. He was also 40% on 5 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Syndicate content