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NHL Game Night: 11-10-18 Senators at Lightning

Lax habits finally catch up with the Lightning.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
4:58 OTT Duchene (6), (White)
7:21 OTT Ryan (5), (Ceci)
8:49 TB Joseph (3), (Sergachev, Coburn)

Second Period
0:39 TB Hedman (3), (Vasilevskiy)(PP)
9:15 TB Coburn (3), (Killorn, Joseph)
14:32 TB Joseph (4), (Killorn, Cirelli)

Third Period
0:50 OTT Tkachuk (4), (unassisted)
8:41 OTT White (6), (Tkachuk, Ryan)
10:30 OTT Dzingel (8), (Duchene)
19:48 OTT Stone (7), (Duchene, Ryan)(PP)

Mathieu Joseph was the game's second star.

I said it recently: while it's been fun to watch the Lightning win games recently by asserting themselves for portions of games, this isn't a sustainable recipe for long term success. Eventually the slow starts and only playing sharp hockey in spurts for portions of games isn't going to cut it. Eventually, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and that's what happened against Ottawa. That's a young team that's gone through a lot of turmoil in the last year, including what happened recently, but you can't just expect them to dry up and blow away even when you get a 4-2 lead on them through 40 minutes. Those players are professionals and they have pride. The Lightning have got to match the intensity and commitment level of their opponents in those moments.

Joseph had 2 goals and 1 assist and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 10:29. Justifying my love for keeping Joseph on my fantasy team despite that slow statistical start.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot in 16:09. Koekkoek's received a reprieve with Anton Stralman getting nicked up keeping him in service, but with Hedman returning it begs the question what happens to Koekkoek once everyone's healthy. Does he go back to being a fairly regular scratch, or has he earned more appearances?

Danick Martel had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 3 hits in 12:06.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +3 with 1 shot in 12:56.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-8-18 Islanders at Lightning

Played half a game. Doubled up a division leader.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for the victory. Best player on the rink for either team, in my view.

First Period
3:40 NYI Bailey (4), (Nelson)

Second Period
5:58 TB Joseph (2), (Killorn, Stralman)
11:12 TB Miller (5), (Sergachev, Stamkos)

Third Period
8:43 NYI Bailey (5), (Pelech, Barzal)
18:34 TB Johnson (6), (Kucherov, Gourde)
19:50 TB Stamkos (6), (Miller, McDonagh)(EN)

Vasilevsky and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars.

That wasn't a great effort overall. Like the games against Montreal and Ottawa, you had the Lightning coming out very flat and almost disinterested in the First Period. Turned on the jets in the Second Period to take the 2-1 lead before coasting a bit too much toward the intermission. Then, in the Third Period, they just had a quick, three-way play highlighted by a very skilled setup by Kucherov and they win. They're just toying with teams at this point. It's not sustainable over the long run, but there's something amusing watching it happen night in and night out right now... especially knowing Victor Hedman's return to the lineup is imminent.

Mathieu Joseph had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 11:38. Excellent placement on the shot off the rush and used the defender as a screen.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 13:54.

Anthony Cirelli was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit and was 60% on 10 draws in 14:10. Worked himself into a breakaway opportunity that I wish he'd done more with to reward himself.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 5 hits in 14:10. Played chippy tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-6-18 Oilers at Lightning

Lightning crush upstart Oilers on national TV.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 35 shots for the victory. Strong game to help provide the backbone for a strong night by the team, overall.

First Period
4:40 TB Stamkos (5), (Kucherov)
19:34 TB Point (9), (Gourde, Johnson)

Second Period
12:32 EDM Strome (1), (Klefbom)
13:19 TB Gourde (7), (McDonagh, Point)
18:59 TB Kucherov (6), (Stamkos, Coburn)

Third Period
0:40 EDM Draisaitl (9), (Rattie, Nugent-Hopkins)(PP)
8:23 TB Kucherov (7), (Miller, Stamkos)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov, Vasilevskiy, and Steven Stamkos were the game's three stars.

Friendly reminder: the Lightning are doing all this without the services of the reigning Norris Trophy winner. There's another gear or two above this.

I doubt the NHL will do anything about it, but the cowardly attack by Milan Lucic on a rookie half his size has no place in the game. Pure scumbag sore loser garbage.

The Lightning sit at 23 points through 15 games. By my count they need just 1 point in the next 5 games to seal playoff pace through two 10-game segments of the season, and just 4 points in those 5 games to seal a successful segment #2 of the campaign (12 in 10). So, there's opportunity to run up some insurance points again, for sure.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 hits in 8:22. He was the recipient of the aforementioned Milan Lucic assault. Brave man to pick on a skinny rookie that's only 2/3 his size.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:53.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot and was 38% on 8 draws in 12:37.

Adam Erne had 2 shots and 3 hits in 14:38.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-4-18 Lightning at Senators

No one makes Brayden Point bleed his own blood.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the win. After getting shelled in Arizona and then quickly falling behind a couple of goals in this one, Domingue had to show some mental toughness under adversity. He, for the most part, sucked it up and pulled through.

First Period
4:55 OTT Ryan (4), (Stone, Chabot)(PP)
14:49 OTT Lajoie (5), (Dzingel, Boedker)(PP)

Second Period
0:38 TB Paquette (2), (McDonagh, Erne)

Third Period
3:04 TB Joseph (1), (Cirelli, Stralman)
15:16 OTT Ceci (2), (Tierney, Stone)
19:33 TB Point (8), (Johnson, McDonagh)(PP)

Overtime
0:14 TB Gourde (6), (Point, McDonagh)

Brayden Point was the game's first star after being bloodied taking one to the face, scoring the tying goal, and then less than a minute of running time later setting up the OT winner with some bravery taking it to the net. He and McDonagh both played really good games, and McDonagh is pulling off the near impossible task of filling Victor Hedman's shoes and doing it in style while the big man is out.

This game, in some ways, a bit like the contest last night in Montreal. The team came out and didn't have their A game and fell behind the eight ball as the penalty kill has started to see a bit of a market correction in recent play. They then asserted their dominance and slowly set about the task of trying to get some goals past Craig Anderson. Unfortunately, after tying the game and as the game got chippy, a moment of indiscipline led to a quick Ottawa goal and it looked like the Lightning's comeback bid would fall short. That's where McDonagh and Point's heroics kicked in. All in all, the Lightning outshot Ottawa 45-25, and those possession numbers are the ones that really get me most excited about the way the team's been playing lately.

Mathieu Joseph had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 12:20. Now that he's got one, we'll see if it's floodgates for the young speedster.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:54.

Anthony Cirelli was +1 with a helper, 4 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 13:23. He was also 73% on 11 draws.

Adam Erne had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 13:16. In general, you saw young guys stepping up at the tail end of a road back-to-back and providing some spark and secondary scoring when the team really needed it.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-3-18 Lightning at Canadiens

Lightning toy with Montreal like a cat toys with a mouse.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 35 shots for the victory. Really played solid at several moments of the game, most notably the first half of the First Period and the Second Period, when the team in front of him looked a little disinterested.

First Period
0:58 MTL Domi (7), (unassisted)
13:42 TB Stamkos (3), (Kucherov)
16:24 TB Miller (4), (Stralman)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:52 TB Stamkos (4), (Kucherov, Stralman)
15:57 TB Gourde (5), (Point, Stralman)

Vasilevskiy, Steven Stamkos, and Anton Stralman were the game's three stars.

Tonight was a pretty stark illustration of the talent gap between these two teams. Montreal played really hard tonight for sixty minutes and still got smoked by a Lightning club that, frankly, took half the game off. The First Period was a case study in what good teams can do to frustrate the efforts of upstart underdogs. The Lightning came out really flat and quickly were down 1-0 and getting dominated until Nicolas Deslauriers took an ill-advised boarding call. Stamkos scored just after the end of the expiration of that PP, as good teams do when you give them opportunities, and all of Montreal's hard work went squandered. Vasilevskiy played well in a lax Second Period to preserve the 2-1 lead the Lightning carried out of the opening frame, and then the Lightning decided to finish off the Habs and did so pretty clinically in the Third Period. #Habsband play Taps.

Mathieu Joseph had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 12:42.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 5 blocked shots in 14:34. Had another pretty good game tonight.

Anthony Cirelli had 3 hits and 2 blocked shots in 14:22. He was also 60% on 15 draws.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 3 hits in 11:23.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-1-18 Predators at Lightning

Details matter a lot against really good teams.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss. I didn't think any of the three goals were his fault. Ultimately he lost a duel with the reigning Vezina winner.

First Period
6:02 NSH Turris (3), (Ekholm, Jarnkrok)
19:53 NSH Josi (3), (Johansen, Ellis)

Second Period
14:21 TB Koekkoek (1), (Killorn, Cirelli)

Third Period
16:42 NSH Jarnkrok (3), (Johansen)
17:36 NSH Salomaki (2), (Hartman, Turris)(EN)

Mathieu Joseph was the game's second star.

The better team was in the blue jerseys tonight. Even with Hedman out of the lineup the Lightning outshot/outpossessed Nashville by a 43-24 margin. But, tonight was another reminder that details matter against good teams and when they've got a goaltender playing well they only need you to make a handful of mistakes to steal a win. In that respect, although I don't think the intensity was quite to a playoff level, this was kind of like a low scoring, high stakes playoff game. Late in the First Period, all it took was for Steven Stamkos to switch off mentally for a second in defensive zone coverage and, boom, there's the GWG. So, I'd say the coaching staff got a handful of things to really harp on in video session, but the overall effort was good and the team shouldn't get too down on themselves.

Joseph was -1 with 4 shots and 3 hits in 13:39. He set up the only Lightning goal with some tenacious forechecking and had a couple of good chances on his own. His line was one of the two lines that was really playing extra well tonight.

Slater Koekkoek had a goal and 3 shots in 17:21. He's rounding into form nicely now that the rust has fallen off.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper, 2 hits, 1 blocked shot, and was 90% on 10 draws in 13:50. As noted, his line played really well tonight.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 11:59.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-30-18 Devils at Lightning

In the most desperate of moments, the Lightning deploy their secret weapon.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the victory. May all your days be blessed with goal support.

First Period
1:01 NJ Wood (1), (Vatanen, Mueller)
5:04 NJ Zajac (3), (Wood)
7:30 TB Coburn (1), (Point, Gourde)
13:30 TB Coburn (2), (Paquette, Erne)

Second Period
0:31 TB Point (7), (Gourde, Johnson)
6:33 TB Kucherov (4), (McDonagh, Stamkos)(PP)
8:08 TB Stamkos (2), (Kucherov, Point)(PP)
16:47 NJ Palmieri (9), (Hall, Butcher)(PP)

Third Period
3:40 TB Johnson (5), (Point, McDonagh)
5:02 TB Kucherov (5), (Miller, Stamkos)
5:51 TB McDonagh (1), (Point, Gourde)

Brayden Point, Braydon Coburn, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

Coming off a 7-1 defeat on the road the Lightning found themselves down 2-0 after struggling with early turnover issues. In the darkest hour and the bleakest night, the Lightning did the unthinkable. They pressed the red button. They deployed the secret weapon. The doomsday device. Braydon Coburn. And when the smoke cleared, and the damage was tallied and totaled, 8-3 Lightning.

The Lightning showed remarkable poise that a less experienced and talented team might not have shown coming off a big clunker and falling into a big early hole. It says a lot about the Lightning that they were able to crawl out of the gutter and they were able to do so by playing the right way. To get to 44 shots on goal even without Victor Hedman in the lineup is wonderful. Put aside the eight goals, because a lot of nights the goaltending in this league simply won't give you the payoff like that. 44 shots shows you the Lightning got their possession game rolling, and that's a recipe for sustainable success.

Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot and 4 hits in 14:23.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 3 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 15:11.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots and 2 hits in 15:12 and was 57% on 14 draws.

Adam Erne had a helper and 2 shots in 12:05.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-27-18 Lightning at Coyotes

Road weary Lightning run out of gas in the desert.

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Louis Domingue allowed 7 goals on 30 shots for the loss. I feel sick for the guy, because I'm sure he'd have crawled over broken glass to beat his old organization. The team in front of Domingue gave up way too many odd man rushes and shorthanded chances tonight and Arizona for plenty of puck luck, too. It's a witches brew that led to seven goals against.

First Period
6:55 ARI Oeseterle (1), (Richardson, Hinostroza)
8:51 ARI Keller (5), (Demers, Galchenyuk)
12:57 ARI Stepan (1), (Perlini, Goligoski)

Second Period
8:26 ARI Hinostroza (3), (Goligoski, Raanta)
11:48 ARI Grabner (1), (Richardson)(SH)

Third Period
8:59 ARI Grabner (2), (unassisted)(SH)
9:27 TB Erne (1), (Johnson, Gourde)(PP)
12:50 ARI Panik (1), (unassisted)

The Lightning ran out of gas on this road trip that's spanned five games and several time zones in the Third Period in their last game against Las Vegas. After a decent initial push in the first five minutes tonight it was clear pretty quickly they had nothing left to give. It didn't help that the team was without Victor Hedman who is down for at least a week after getting rocked pretty hard in the Vegas game, but that's not why the team lost. It just probably exacerbated the problems in a game that you kind of feared might be a "schedule loss" coming into it. Fortunately, the Lightning did well enough on the trip that a single night of buzzard's luck won't kill them, provided they can rebound when they get back on home ice.

The team finished their first ten game segment of the season with 15 points, giving them three insurance points as they role into the second ten game segment of the year. At least twelve in ten, now do it again.

Mathieu Joseph had 4 shots and 4 hits in 13:30.

Slater Koekkoek was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 15:27. I'm not going to judge a guy one way or the other who hasn't seen game action since the preseason now that we're ten games into the season.

Anthony Cirelli was -2 with 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:47. He was also 43% on 14 draws.

Adam Erne drew back in with Ondrej Palat also out hurt, and he had a goal and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 15:00. With the game out of hand, the coaching staff seemed to feed Erne some extra minutes (Koekkoek too), so that may have some utility down the road. I'd like to say Erne's goal was some sort of silver lining in the black cloud, but the truth is it was a goofy bounce you almost feel bad taking credit for.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-26-18 Lightning at Golden Knights

Lightning treat the team from the Silver State like silver medalists on Nevada Day.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the win. He was only beaten on a play where he was completely screened and a clean faceoff loss that led to an unchallenged shooter from the high slot. Otherwise, impeccable.

First Period
3:05 TB Johnson (4), (unassisted)
5:31 VGK Theodore (1), (Carpenter)
16:36 TB Point (6), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Second Period
4:47 TB Miller (3), (Killorn, Sergachev)(PP)

Third Period
1:47 VGK Karlsson (3), (Tuch)(PP)

Tyler Johnson was the game's first star.

I suspect this game was one the Lightning were very interested in putting their best foot forward in after being swept by Vegas last season and blowing the lead last time they were out west to play this team. The Lightning manufactured a solid road win with a mix of a couple of greasy goals and a great play off the rush by the Stamkos line. One shot in the Third Period is concerning and you hate to go that far into the shell protecting a lead in the final frame, but at the end of the night they had the W in hand.

The Lightning now sit on 15 points through 9 games, meaning they've already banked 3 insurance points moving forward. 7 straight games with at least a point is a great look for the team, and they've seemed to get progressively better as the road trip has worn on.

Mathieu Joseph had 2 shots and 3 hits in 11:58.

Anthony Cirelli had 3 blocked shots and was 40% on 10 draws in 13:57.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 10-24-18 Lightning at Avalanche

Kittens in Colorado.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 22 shots he faced for the victory. He had to play really well in the First Period and then saw his workload curtailed the final 40 minutes as the defense stepped up.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
6:24 TB Kucherov (3), (Stamkos)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and third stars.

Tampa Bay weathered Colorado's best punch in the First Period, with an assist from the video coaches spotting an offside that led to a reversal of a potential goal. They got outshot 11-4 in the opening frame, but rebounded to outshoot Colorado 20-11 the rest of the way. That's impressive given Colorado's offensive firepower and how they've become somewhat of a stylish team for pundits looking at the Western Conference.

The victory moved Tampa Bay to 13 points collected in their first 8 games, clinching a successful opening 10-game segment of the campaign with at least one insurance point to spare and a couple of more games to pick up additional insurance points. What you gain now counts as much as what you gain in March, and the games in March tend to be a lot more difficult to win. So, early season success is always a good recipe for punching your postseason ticket.

Mathiru Joseph had 1 shot in 10:44. Nearly had his first NHL goal drawing iron in the opening frame.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 hit in 12:15 and was oddly 0-for-4 on faceoffs.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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