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NHL Game Night: 2-13-20 Oilers at Lightning

Lightning starting to look like an unbreakable machine.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory. Unbeaten in his last 20 starts. The man's going to mess around and win another Vezina.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:39 TB Maroon (7), (Gaunce, Schenn)
9:36 EDM Jones (3), (Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl)
13:01 TB Gourde (8), (unassisted)(SH)

Third Period
19:04 TB Paquette (5), (Point, Killorn)(EN)

Yanni Gourde and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and second stars. Gourde finally took his mojo back from Killorn. That's my guess, at least.

Granted, Edmonton's dealing with a rash of important injuries, too. But, with five regulars out of the lineup and Cameron Gaunce having to take a regular shift at forward (for crying out loud) the Lightning still looked poised and determined within their good hockey structure and habits en route to outshooting the Oilers 37-30 and winning their ninth in a row. They once again move to within a lone point of Boston for the league's top mark and show no signs of letting up.

Cameron Gaunce had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:13. At forward? Ordinarily, I'd be revolted at anyone not named Fredrik Modin being allowed the honor of wearing #33 for the Lightning, but he did it justice tonight.

Mitchell Stephens was +1 and 56% on 18 draws in 16:48. Once again, accepted the greater responsibilities and ice time well.

Alexander Volkov was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 10:43.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-12-20 Crunch at Devils

A Syracuse goaltender had a... wait, what?

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Scott Wedgewood stopped all 33 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Mine eyes have seen the glory. And Wedgewood's save percentage rises like the phoenix to .895 for the season.

First Period
0:13 SYR Walcott (7), (unassisted)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NO SCORING

Wedgewood and Daniel Walcott were the game's first and second stars.

That's got to be the one of the damndest things you'll see in a hockey game. One team scores 13 seconds into the contest and the rest of the game... nada. Syracuse was outshot 33-18 on balance, but Syracuse was like Tom Berenger in the movie Sniper. One shot, one kill, and Walcott got all the offense anyone needed for the win.

There's now a three team logjam at 53 points for fourth place in the North Division, although the Crunch are giving up games in hand to both Toronto and Laval. Still, somehow, back at two games above .500 Syracuse still has an outside chance at the postseason.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-11-20 Lightning at Penguins

Gourde eradicates the monkey on his back to deliver OT win against all odds.

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PIT-1 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 36 shots for the victory. Got about three more from his friend Red Iron tonight as well.

First Period
11:31 PIT Malkin (18), (Crosby, Letang)(PP)

Second Period
3:59 TB Sergachev (9), (Kucherov, Maroon)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
2:45 TB Gourde (7), (Point, Hedman)

Vasilevskiy and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and third stars. For Gourde, it was his first goal since late November. Floodgates, hopefully.

Color me impressed. The Lightning came into this night without the services of Steven Stamkos. By about midway through the contest they had also lost Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov to injuries. On the road. Playing against one of the four best teams in the Eastern Conference. And, they did not blink. They did not allow Pittsburgh to tilt the ice against them. They played a strong, structured game and eventually took the initiative after weathering the storm early in OT to get the win.

Mitchell Stephens had 4 shots in 17:35 tonight and was 27% on 15 draws. With injuries and fatigue on the back half of a back-to-back, Stephens had to play against the big boys tonight and, with the exception of the faceoff circles, he held his own. That bottom line had to take the test, and they passed it.

With the win, the Lightning move to within a point of Boston for both the Atlantic Division lead and the most points in the NHL. I'm not sure I want that President's Trophy again, but it's sitting there for the taking with the Lightning also boasting the league's best goal differential and tied with Boston for the lead in regulation wins.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-10-20 Lightning at Blue Jackets

Lightning return to the scene of the crime and earn an important psychological victory.

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CBJ-1 (OT)

Curtis McElhinney allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the victory.

First Period
2:29 TB Kucherov (26), (Sergachev, Point)

Second Period
3:44 CBJ Bjorkstrand (18), (Dubois, Bemstrom)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
0:31 TB Kucherov (27), (Hedman, Point)

Nikita Kucherov and McElhinney were the game's first and second stars.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that's the same Columbus team that the Lightning played in the playoffs last season and that this game was some sort of important rite of vengeance or redemption. It's apples to oranges. What I will tell you is that for the Lightning to go into Columbus and prove that they can beat a John Tortorella coach team playing a tight, grindy, hand-working John Tortorella style of hockey (and on a winning streak) absolutely does matter. That should be a little bit of validation for the style the Lightning have been continuing to master this regular season, and shows that they're capable of matching another team's willpower and work rate. And, that IS important.

Mitchell Stephens was -1 in 11:26. He was also 56% on nine draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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