Talk Lightning Hockey with fans and staff at the BP Message Boards and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

NHL Game Night: 1-2-15 Lightning at Penguins

Disengage safety. Point at foot. Pull trigger. Repeat.


Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 10 shots before being pulled for Evgeny Nabokov who allowed 2 on 18 shots the rest of the way for the dreaded back door loss. If there was a silver lining out of this game, it might have been that Nabby looked like an NHL goaltender in relief tonight.

First Period
1:56 PIT Kunitz (12), (Letang, Crosby)(PP)
6:50 PIT Ebbett (1), (Malkin, Despres)
13:39 PIT Malkin (17), (Ebbett, Rust)
15:11 TB Boyle (7), (Palat, Carle)

Second Period
12:48 TB Hedman (4), (Johnson, Palat)
17:07 PIT Ehrhoff (3), (Bennett, Crosby)

Third Period
11:18 TB Killorn (9), (Stralman, Hedman)
11:52 PIT Downie (6), (Crosby, Spaling)
19:55 PIT Downie (7), (Letang, Crosby)(EN)

I have some complaints with some shady things that happened in this game, but ultimately the Lightning shot themselves in the foot in this game. Stralman allowed his pocket to be picked on the very first shift of the game that led to a minor penalty and a power play goal, and the team instantly fell behind the eight ball. Stamkos made a turnover at the Lightning blueline on the third goal to put the team down 3-0 in the First Period, which is a crusher you try to avoid, and then two Lightning defenders get beat behind the net on a 50/50 puck by Crosby leading to Downie's insurance goal less than a minute after Killorn drew it to 4-3.

Now, the shady stuff still needs to be mentioned. On the second Penguins goal, Malkin hits the post and the Pittsburgh arena folks decide to blow the goal horn and fire up a strobe light on Bishop's crease as Ebbett comes in to score on the ensuing chance. Later, on the Ehrhoff goal to help Pittsburgh re-establish a 2 goal lead after Hedman pulled it to 3-2, you had a situation where a Pens stick was actually stuck in Stralman's visor before the rush that led to the goal and the ref actually came over to help Stralman and didn't make a call. Lunacy. Both of those plays were minor league/bush league quality stuff, and then we later got to witness Crosby rear naked choke out Connolly on a goal mouth scrum and get away with nothing called, just to add insult to injury. None of the above incidents are why the Lightning lost, but they're troubling examples of why you feel like the Lightning have to be THAT MUCH BETTER against a league darling like the Pens to realistically have a chance to win. It's shameful, really.

The same things keep happening night after night that end up being the difference between winning and losing and I don't see them improving consistently. The brain fart turnovers by veteran players just can't continue to happen. Details matter against quality teams like Pittsburgh. The power play (0-for-3 tonight) continues to come up dry at key points of the game and the guys who are supposed to be the team's best skaters (Stamkos and Callahan) continue to struggle to find the scoresheet consistently. When you sprinkle in that the team still is trying to figure out how Drouin fits into the puzzle, it's a maddening mystery soup right now. If these things start to get corrected, it's easy to see this team becoming a juggernaut. If they don't, it's just as easy to see how this thing could start to go pear-shaped.

With the loss, the Lightning finish the 4th 10-game segment of the season with 11 points, 1 point shy of the 12 point minimum target. They entered with 5 insurance points, fortunately, so they still have 4 insurance points heading into segment 5. The team's at a bit of a crossroads right now, though, and this is why Jon Cooper gets paid the big bucks.

Cedric Paquette was -2 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:39. He was on the ice for the Stamkos turnover goal and that abomination Ehrhoff goal, so I can't be too mad. Still, I keep wondering if and when a shakeup gets made if Paquette may end up having to go down to make way for Namestnikov.

Jonathan Drouin was -1 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:54. He, also, was on the ice for the Stamkos turnover goal. I really wish the coaching staff would figure out a role for Drouin and a set of linemates and stick with it. The kid's skill level is off the charts. He makes stick handling moves with the pace and violence of a boxer's punches, and his playmaking abilities are very evident. There's just no continuity with how he's being used, though, and he's the kind of player where I think linemates need to get used to him because of what a high-level setup guy he is.

Box score and extended statistics from

Liiga Game Day: 1-2-15

HPK 2 vs. Pelicans 5
Saku Salminen, HPK, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 20 GP, 2-3-5, +1, 2 PIM

Ex-Coyotes pick Tyler Redenbach had 1 goal and 3 points to lead Pelicans to a 5-2 victory over HPK. Saku Salminen played 13:34 in defeat for HPK.

Vasilevskiy Named CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month

(AHL release) The American Hockey League announced today that Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Syracuse Crunch has been selected as the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December.

Vasilevskiy was 4-0-1 with a 1.17 goals-against average, a .962 save percentage and two shutouts for the Crunch in December, while also shining in his debut National Hockey League stint with Tampa Bay.

Vasilevskiy recorded his first career AHL shutout on Dec. 6, making 34 saves in a 2-0 win over Rochester, and followed that up with a 26-save whitewash at Springfield on Dec. 10. Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 30 shots as the Crunch defeated Hershey, 4-1, on Dec. 12, and was then recalled by Tampa Bay, where he earned the win in his NHL debut on Dec. 16 at Philadelphia. Vasilevskiy returned to the Crunch and won his fifth consecutive AHL decision on Dec. 26, stopping 31 shots in a 3-2 overtime win vs. Albany, and then made 30 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss at Springfield on Dec. 28. In addition to allowing just six goals on 156 shots in the AHL, Vasilevskiy went 3-1-0 in four appearances with the Lightning during December, posting a 1.76 GAA and a .937 save percentage in the NHL.

The BoltProspects Podcast, Volume 13

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

· The emergence of Sustr and Barberio
· World Junior snub
· BP Mailbag (Early 2015 TB draft strategy … 2017 Stanley Cup Game 1 line rushes and D pairs … On the trade block … Kunyk’s place in the organization)
· Junior prospect’s turnaround

Click here to listen

To listen on Lightning Radio, go to

Juniors Game Night: 12-31-14

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Victoriaville Tigres 3 @ Sherbrooke Phoenix 4 (SO)

C Cameron Darcy, SHR: 2-0-2, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 11/23 FO, 1 Hit, *Second Star*
With Sherbrooke: 6 GP, 7-7-14, -3, 4 PIM
With Cape Breton: 21 GP, 1-13-14, -6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 28 GP, 8-20-28, -9, 18 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 65 GP, 35-47-82, +3, 51 PIM

Darcy extended his point streak to eight games and goal-scoring streak to four games. He has seven goals in the last four games, all wins for Sherbrooke.

Rimouski Oceanic 2 @ Quebec Remparts 3 (OT)

W Adam Erne, QUE: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 13/22 FO, 1 Hit
Season totals: 32 GP, 22-25-47, +20, 40 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Quebec won its fourth straight game, defeating Rimouski in overtime after blowing a 2-0 lead.

Ontario Hockey League

Plymouth Whalers 6 @ Windsor Spitfires 4

W Cristiano DiGiacinto, WSR: 1-0-1, E, 4 PIM
Season totals: 30 GP, 12-9-21, -12, 57 PIM
2013-14 totals: 50 GP, 17-11-28, +8, 101 PIM

One game after scoring eight goals against the Whalers, Windsor allowed six en route to a tough, 6-4 home loss. DiGiacinto has a three-game goal-scoring streak. His goal with under six minutes left in regulation cut Plymouth’s lead to 5-4. The Whalers added a late empty-netter.

Notes: The following players remain out of their respective lineups:
Brayden Point (Moose Jaw), with Team Canada for the World Junior Championships
Anthony DeAngelo (Sarnia), with Team USA
Dominik Masin (Peterborough),with Team Czech Republic

Syndicate content