Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 3-23-19 Lightning at Blues

Two minutes worth of lapses cost Lightning in frustrating road trip finale.

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STL-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.

First Period
11:30 STL Thomas (8), (Dunn, Bozak)(PP)
12:08 STL Steen (8), (Sanford)
12:45 STL Tarasenko (29), (O'Reilly, Schenn)

Second Period
0:27 TB Killorn (17), (Cirelli)(SH)
7:24 TB Point (40), (McDonagh)
14:24 STL Schenn (15), (Tarasenko, Barbashev)

Third Period
4:46 TB Stamkos (39), (Miller)

Brayden Point was the game's third star.

That was a frustrating loss. St. Louis was clearly up for this game as a measuring stick contest and they came out hard on the Lightning, which the Lightning managed well until they allowed a PP goal allowed to snowball into a 3-0 deficit in a 75 second span toward the middle of the period. Shame on the Lightning for that. From the First Intermission on, though, you saw the complete domination of a very good Blues team that could've easily gotten a result for the Lightning but ultimately didn't. The team outshot St. Louis 42-26, out-attempted them 74-48, and outchanced them 23-14. They even narrowly won the faceoff battle 32-31 which doesn't sound impressive except for the fact the Blues are stocked with some faceoff aces, including Ryan O'Reilly. The Lightning did a lot of things right, but beyond that 75 seconds of mental lapses they can also point to a handful of other frustrations on the evening:

First, Ivan Barbashev clearly slashed McDonagh on the hands to create the turnover that led to the eventual GWG in the Second Period. No question about it, that infraction led to the scoring chance that Schenn eventually potted. Second, Nikita Kucherov hit three posts and missed a wide open net with the extra attacker on late in the Third Period. He could've easily had a hat trick in this game. Third, Steven Stamkos scored an apparent tying goal on the PP in the Third Period only to have it called back on review due to an offside. Annoying.

And so, hand-in-hand with a frustrating defeat is the bizarre narrative that again keeps cropping up out west that the Lightning are somehow vulnerable against the Western Conference style and "struggle" against the Central Division. Mind you, the Lightning will have to get to the SCF before that little pearl of wisdom rears its ugly head again, but it's still a damned disrespectful narrative given what the Lightning's record is this regular season.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-21-19 Lightning at Hurricanes

In spite of the scheduling, Lightning keep winning.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:20 TB Stamkos (38), (Hedman, Point)(PP)
9:51 CAR Neiderreiter (21), (Aho)
11:32 CAR Hamilton (14), (Svechnikov, Staal)
19:34 TB Johnson (27), (McDonagh, Kucherov)

Second Period
6:34 CAR Staal (8), (Teravainen, Pesce)

Third Period
3:35 TB Cirelli (17), (Stamkos, Hedman)
10:09 TB Callahan (7), (Hedman, Miller)
16:36 TB Point (39), (Stamkos, Miller)(PP)
18:55 TB McDonagh (9), (unassisted)

Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and third stars. The OG Lightning leaders keep showing up large as we head toward the playoffs.

After a somewhat physical game where the Lightning had to do a ton of defending less than 24 hours prior in Washington, I confess, this game screamed "schedule loss" to me. It would've been very easy for the Lightning to mail this one in with the President's Trophy wrapped up and Carolina fighting for their wild card lives, but the Lightning again found a way to scratch out another victory. It wasn't a Picasso, and halfway through the Third Period Carolina was outchancing Tampa Bay by about a 3:2 clip, but the Lightning power play again came through and doomed Carolina to the season sweep.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-20-19 Lightning at Capitals

Despite lackluster effort, Lightning take another one from the Caps.

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WSH-4 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 58 shots for the victory. He'd have gotten it in regulation if he hadn't allowed the short side goal late in the Third Period, but it's hard to be too tough on Vasilevskiy when he's turning aside that much rubber and that many quality chances.

First Period
7:32 WSH Eller (12), (Hagelin)

Second Period
1:19 TB Kucherov (36), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
2:12 TB Stamkos (37), (Miller)(PP)
6:45 TB Cirelli (16), (Joseph)
10:30 WSH Hagelin (5), (Eller)
13:40 WSH Oshie (22), (Ovechkin, Carlson)(PP)
15:01 TB Kucherov (37), (Stamkos, Palat)(PP)

Third Period
19:07 WSH Kuznetsov (20), (Backstrom, Oshie)

Overtime
3:01 TB Hedman (11), (Gourde)

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

That was a somewhat ugly win that showed no continuity with the last win with Washington other than the fact that the Lightning ultimately got the W yet again. Despite Washington losing a defenseman to what appeared to be an ugly injury in an altercation with Cedric Paquette and despite Washington shortening their bench to the extent you had players like Kuznetsov and Ovechkin playing over 25 minutes in the game, Washington looked the more determined and more energetic team for the bulk of the run of play. A lot of that was the Lightning's own doing, though, due to poor puck management. Two Washington goals could be directly traced to terrible turnovers by Alex Killorn in a role reversal from the heroics of his last outing against this team. So, I think the possession game snowballed out of control for Tampa Bay largely because they allowed it to by repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot with stupid plays in the neutral zone. The Lightning also, I thought, suffered from Washington having the matchup advantage on last change and the ability to get their big guns out against Jan Rutta's pairing.

If I'm Washington, I'm climbing up the walls because I did most everything right while trying to make a statement in a measuring stick game against a possible ECF opponent, and I still took the loss. If I'm Tampa Bay, I'm hanging my hat on the fact that I weathered arguably Washington's best punch and I still won and there's no way the ice time usage that the Caps had tonight would be sustainable in a 7-game series.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-18-19 Coyotes at Lightning

Lightning OG's clinch the club's first President's Trophy.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. And they better darned well credit him that SH assist in my fantasy league playoffs.

First Period
5:03 ARI Keller (14), (Dvorak, Panik)
6:54 TB Stamkos (36), (McDonagh, Miller)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:44 TB Hedman (10), (Cirelli, Killorn)
19:15 TB Cirelli (15), (unassisted)(SH)(EN)
19:51 TB Gourde (20), (Vasilevskiy)(SH)(EN)

The Lightning's old hands, Stamkos and Hedman, delivered the two goals needed in a tight checking game against a very positionally disciplined Arizona team. The sledding was tough and the Lightning really had to grind this one out in order to get the last couple of points they needed to cement the President's Trophy. And for Stamkos, he also passed Lecavalier for the top spot on the club's all-time goal scoring list.

The Lightning now in the rare and enviable position where they've already wrapped up the best record in the league with nine games to play. Let the other teams scratching for playoff position kill each other, I say.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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