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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.

AHL Game Night: 12-28-19 Crunch at Senators

Crunch embarrass themselves on way to surrendering snowman.

SYR-2
BEL-8

Mike Condon allowed 4 goals on 22 shots for the loss. Spencer Martin allowed the other 4 goals on 26 shots.

First Period
4:52 BEL Chlapik (4), (Murray, Abramov)(PP)
11:16 BEL Balcers (7), (Brown, Aspirot)
17:38 BEL Abramov (13), (Chlapik, Murray)(PP)

Second Period
2:12 BEL Balcers (8), (Aspirot)(SH)
10:25 BEL Abramov (14), (Batherson, Murray)
11:46 BEL Lajoie (1), (Kelly)
13:21 SYR Foote (3), (Volkov, Colton)(PP)
14:35 SYR Martel (11), (Foote, Smith)

Third Period
14:29 BEL Dougherty (3), (Formenton)(PP)
17:54 BEL Abramov (15), (Veronneau, Chlapik)(PP)

You know, there's just way too much talent on this Syracuse team to be as mediocre-to-terrible as they've been most of this season. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and Syracuse's talent hasn't had the proper work ethic, consistently, for much of this campaign. And, frankly, if they don't do some serious introspection and realignment of their effort level soon, they're going to miss the postseason. Unthinkable for a team with some of the established stars the team has.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-27-19 Devils at Crunch

Crunch cough up late lead to leave a point on the rink.

BNG-2
SYR-1

Spencer Martin allowed 1 goal on 30 shots before conceding to 1 out of 2 shooters in the penalty shot session for the SO loss. A team as talented as Syracuse is offensively should afford Mr. Martin a bit more goal support than that.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
8:50 SYR Barre-Boulet (12), (Smith, Martel)
17:02 BNG Bastian (4), (McLeod)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
BNG- Maltsev
SYR- NONE

Martin was the game's third star, eventually dropping the goaltending duel with long time NHL vet Cory Schneider.

This team is just really not in a position in the standings to be dropping points by not protecting leads late in games, and when you've got oodles of veteran AHL stars on your club up front, you gotta score more than one rinky dink goal on the last place team in the division. It's an organization-wide thing for most of this year: they should be better than this and it's hard to place a finger on exactly why they're not especially down in Syracuse. Up top (goaltending) the picture's a little clearer.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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