Game Results

Event tag that describes the results of a prospect's game

NHL Playoff Game Night: 8-31-20 Bruins v Lightning

In the deep waters of double OT, Victor Hedman finally drowned the Boston Bruins.

BOS-2
TB-3 (2OT)

Tampa Bay Wins the Series 4-1

Andrei Vasilevkiy allowed 2 goals on 47 shots for the victory. The difference between this being a short series and this being a razor thin difficult series was goaltending. We'll never know how Boston would've fared with Rask between the pipes, but Vasilevskiy ultimately was the difference maker in Game Four and Game Five that put this series on ice.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:21 TB Palat (5), (Shattenkirk, Coleman)
12:38 BOS Pastrnak (3), (Krejci, Bergeron)(PP)

Third Period
12:03 TB Cirelli (2), (Hedman, Point)
17:27 BOS Krejci (4), (Chara, Clifton)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Double Overtime
14:10 TB Hedman (5), (Shattenkirk, Point)

Victor Hedman and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and second stars.

My thought on this series was always that Boston's lack of depth was their Achilles heel and that the Lightning would eventually wear them out and finish them off. I did not expect that scenario to play out even under the adverse conditions that occurred tonight with Nikita Kucherov getting hurt in the Second Period and the Lightning being forced to play a game with just 10 forwards. For a time it looked like the script might be flipped on the Lightning with a numerically deeper Bruins team capable of tilting the ice, and they did that for about a 20 minute swath of play between midway through the Third Period and halfway through the first OT. After that, though, I could not believe what I saw as the Lightning really kind of took over the game for the final 24 minutes or so of play. The Lightning's forwards, to their eternal credit (and partly thanks to a very good puckmoving backline that supported them really well) managed to tilt the ice on the Bruins and eventually Boston wilted to the point Hedman finally finished them off. It's the script I expected at the beginning of the series, but not the way I expected it. Tampa Bay actually caught Boston is expected 5v5 goals by the end of the game and missed catching them in overall expected goals by a hair (3.82 to 3.78). That's just remarkable considering 10 forwards.

Kudos to NBCSN, btw, for throwing an Irish wake for the Bruins instead of giving credit to the Lightning for what they accomplished. If you're keeping score at home, between our 2018 playoff series and this one, the Lightning are 8-2 against the mighty Bruins. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it NBCSN, Jack Edwards, and any other media who refuses to accept that Boston is a structurally flawed one line team who can't match up to what Tampa Bay has built.

The next series is a different beast, with the New York Islanders looking like they may well be the opponent. The Isles are like Columbus on steroids, albeit possibly without the red hot goaltender. That series is going to require all hands on deck for Tampa Bay, so at this hour we live in hope Kucherov is just nicked up and will be ready to go for Game One. Tampa Bay is halfway up the mountain, but this year there's no doubt the bigger challenges are closer to the summit.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Playoff Game Day: 8-29-20 Lightning v Bruins

Opportunistic Lightning keep their foot on Boston's throat.

TB-3
BOS-1

Tampa Bay Leads the Series 3-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 30 shots in the game. He was the difference in the contest, in my opinion. He held off Boston's surge in the Second Period long enough for Palat to get the second goal and the power play goal on the Ritchie major penalty and that was all she wrote. The biggest gap in this series has been between Halak's quality and Vasilevskiy's.

First Period
8:59 TB Palat (3), (Point)

Second Period
12:29 TB Palat (4), (Cirelli, Kucherov)
18:04 TB Hedman (4), (Johnson, Kucherov)(PP)

Third Period
7:04 BOS DeBrusk (4), (Coyle, Grzelcyk)(PP)

Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars.

This was, although not a Picasso, a good game for the Lightning under the circumstances playing a desperate team. A very professional win. I was surprised how flat Boston came out with the Lightning holding the 2-1 series lead and Tampa Bay probably deserved more than a 1-0 lead with the way they played out of the gates. The middle frame, though, was one where the Lightning had to play opportunistic hockey to get the win. Boston had a power play to start the frame that gave them the momentum and they really dominated the first half of the frame forcing Vasilevskiy to make a handful of really strong situational saves. He asserted himself as the difference maker today buying the Lightning time until Halak gave away a bit of a soft goal from distance to Palat and then really put a tired and frustrated Boston team behind the eight ball. Nick Ritchie made Boston's situation more dire with a boarding major on Yanni Gourde, who thankfully wasn't hurt badly enough that he couldn't return for the final period, and Victor Hedman got some puck luck on a point shot to put the game away. Boston finally cracked Vasilevskiy after being awarded a third straight power play in the Third Period, but I have to say the Lightning played very well with the exception of maybe one shift the rest of the way to make the 3-1 lead stick.

If you're the Lightning, you've gone this far. You've got to put Boston away in five now that you've got the opportunity. You've outscored them 10-1 in the last two games, you have them down 3-1, their best goaltender left the team before the series and the guy they have in has been subpar, and they're a thinner and older team who has looked out of gas at several junctures in this series. If the Lightning pop in a goal or two early in Game Five, Boston might just pack it in. They have had the look a time or two in this series of a team teetering on it. The Lightning have forechecked them and forechecked them and the goaltending situation has been such that Boston has to work way harder than Tampa Bay does for their goals right now. If you're Tampa, you put the hammer down in that First Period in Game Five and ask the question of the Bruins. "Do you want to stay here and try to expend energy you probably don't have to try to come back and win three straight games or do you want to leave the bubble and go home to your families and play some golf?" The Lightning have them out in deep water now. Drop them in and drown them and go get ready for the Eastern Conference Final.

They have no answer for Brayden Point with the puck on his stick, by the way. None. They can't pry it from him and they can't keep up with him. Every shift's been a clinic.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 8-26-20 Lightning v Bruins

Lightning power play springs to life as Lightning seize control in the series.

TB-7
BOS-1

Tampa Bay Leads the Series 2-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 24 shots for the win. He wrapped himself in the soft embrace of a cuddly blanket of goal support.

First Period
12:46 TB Palat (2), (Sergachev, Kucherov)(PP)
13:01 TB Gourde (3), (Coleman, Cernak)

Second Period
2:14 TB Sergachev (1), (Kucherov, Point)(PP)
4:56 BOS Marchand (7), (Krug, Pastrnak)(PP)
8:35 TB Killorn (3), (Palat, Kucherov)(PP)
15:23 TB Point (6), (Killorn, Sergachev)
18:01 TB Killorn (4), (Gourde, Bogosian)

Third Period
3:58 TB Kucherov (4), (Point)

Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Mikhail Sergachev were the game's three stars.

If the Lightning have found a sustainable, functioning power play this series may be all over but the crying. I didn't think the Lightning came out all that strongly in the First Period after a pretty terrible opening power play that seemed to suck the energy out of them. Second power play, though, Halak let Palat score on a one timer from a somewhat lower percentage spot pretty far out at the RW circle and then the Lightning caught a break with a linesman picking a defender for a Gourde breakaway goal and the Lightning are up 2-0 against the run of play and the rout was on.

From there, the Lightning power play got rolling and the cumulative effect of their depth on a back-to-back night just wore Boston out completely. The Bruins teased getting back into it at 3-1 with a power play marker (stay out of the box, please) but they, as an essentially one line team, never mustered much of a serious threat to get any closer after that. They didn't have the horses or the juice. Alex Killorn's rebound goal on the power play chased Halak (4 goals on 16 shots, not great), albeit a delayed chase. I think Cassidy thought the backup Vladar might be a good candidate for one of those young goalie lightning in a bottle series-changing moments, but Brayden Point's breakaway goal welcomed him to soul crushing realities of the NHL as the goals continued to pile up. The cavalry ain't comin' Cassidy. Halak's all you've got, and he ain't been great. By the time Kucherov had poked a 2-on-1 goal through Vladar's five hole that looked like a training camp/Harlem Globetrotters special from the two stars, I half expected Vladar to get up and say, "um, maybe this NHL thing's just not for me after all." Poor young man was hung out to dry by an exhausted Bruins D against some very skilled players and was made to look very foolish as a result.

To go a step further, although I don't want to take the spotlight off Tampa Bay's fine performance, I thought Cassidy completely booted it with the last change advantage in this game. Boston had a matchup with the Marchand line against the Cirelli line that was paying out like a winning lottery ticket, but the Bruins either could not or just did not want to make that matchup tonight and it really allowed the Lightning to be even more effective at 5's and choke the life out of the Bruins. Indeed, tonight was the first night I think you can honestly say that the Lightning's staff completely outcoached the other team's to a clear degree.

Here's where the Lightning can do a lot to advance their championship ambitions. Boston has to throw the kitchen sink out in Game Four to try to avoid falling back 3-1 in the series. Just like against Columbus, the Lightning have an opportunity to shorten this series and save energy and avoid the potential for injuries in the process if they come out with a high energy level and take care of business Friday. Stay out of the box. Scramble your D zone faceoffs against Bergeron. Keep forechecking that Boston defense into the dirt. You started to see the effects of it for the first time tonight. The Lightning got them out in that deep water and they started to drown. Don't let up and throw them a life preserver.

Speaking of which, Tampa Bay won 55% of their draws tonight. If the Lightning are holding their own in special teams and in the faceoff circles, Boston is so very doomed.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Playoff Game Night: 8-25-20 Bruins v Lightning

Lightning remain Overtime warriors to even razor thin series.

BOS-3
TB-4 (OT)

Series Tied 1-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the win. I would argue to you he had the first goal pinned under his knee and their should've been a whistle before Ritchie pitchforked his pad, but I digress.

First Period
3:14 BOS Ritchie (1), (Bjork)
12:42 TB Coleman (2), (Bogosian, Goodrow)

Second Period
14:33 BOS Marchand (5), (Pastrnak, Krug)(PP)
15:28 TB Kucherov (3), (Shattenkirk, Point)

Third Period
10:40 TB Coleman (3), (Hedman)
16:02 BOS Marchand (6), (Kuraly, Pastrnak)

Overtime
4:40 TB Palat (1), (Gourde, Maroon)

Blake Coleman and Ondrej Palat were the game's first and second stars.

In retrospect, that game was a bit of a classic. Nerve-inducing for the partisans, but had to be wonderful hockey for the sidewalk fans. You have two teams that, to this point, haven't been able to nullify the other team's strengths. Tampa Bay continued their play from the second half of Game One and dominated the play at 5v5 with their depth. Boston, which is an overglorified one line team, trying to ride their power play, faceoff prowess, and opportunistic counters to the win. But for a broken stick (and slow whistle) on Boston's first goal and a slow line change by Brayden Point that cost the Lightning a goal on an offside on a review this might've been a 4-2 regulation win for Tampa Bay, but as it is it was a seesaw battle. Thankfully the Bruins squandered their chance to drop the Lightning squarely behind the eight ball, and tomorrow's game is a chance for the Lightning to completely tilt the momentum of the series in the span of 24 hours.

The good? The Lightning are the better hockey team overall. Brayden Point has been a one man army on the top line and the Lightning's third line with Gourde and Coleman are killing whatever opponents you put in front of them. I'd also argue to you that, even with McDonagh out hurt, the Lightning D-corps was clearly the better of the two, and that's how you outshoot a team 40-25 in a contest and outpossess a team by an even wider margin. Also, if you look at the expected goals graph, lets just say the Lightning imposed their will in OT when the chips were down in an impressive way and leave it at that.

The bad? The Lightning's power play continues to look flaccid, although there was a glimmer of hope on their last PP where they finally had some decent puck movement.

The ugly? I don't know what is possessing Jon Cooper to put the Killorn/Cirelli/Johnson line out against the Bergeron line at even strength but they're getting murdered. It was usually a five man unit with Sergachev's pair also seeing a lot of time against that line and he didn't cloak himself in glory in that matchup either. Boston has last change the next two games so the Lightning will have a harder time dictating the matchup, but man I didn't like their selection of matchup when the coaching staff did have their choice. The Bergeron line left goals on the table tonight against that group and they were lucky to only take the single minus.

Boston's best chance in this series was to go for a quick knockout, and they booted their first shot at that tonight. Tomorrow's game will be critical, and the longer this series goes the better Tampa Bay's chances because of their depth. Boston's defense is already starting to look like they're withering a bit under Tampa Bay's forechecking pressure and it's only Game Two. Chara, for instance, looked every bit the 70-something year old man he is against the Lightning's speed and tenacity. The Lightning just have to keep doing what they can to nullify Boston's strengths and taking Boston's D out into deep water where, eventually, they will drown them. Stay out of the box. Scramble your D-zone faceoffs against the Bergeron line. And for the love of God, stop putting out that line against the Bergeron line. Put a line out that actually manages the puck like they aren't simultaneously drunk and stupid.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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