Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 1-12-19 Lightning at Sabres

Kucherov takes over Third Period and buries Buffalo.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the win. He was overpushing pretty badly against odd man rush attempts and it burned him a couple of times, but goal support is a beautiful thing. I will give him credit, though, he made a couple of key ten bell saves in the Second Period to allow the Lightning to stay fully in the game.

First Period
0:26 TB Point (29), (Kucherov, Johnson)
5:47 BUF Reinhart (10), (Skinner, Dahlin)
19:50 BUF Thompson (6), (Girgensons, Sobotka)

Second Period
7:50 TB Palat (6), (Sergachev, Hedman)

Third Period
5:54 BUF Scandella (3), (Pominville, Sheary)
6:17 TB Kucherov (22), (Stamkos)
14:44 TB Stamkos (24), (Kucherov, Hedman)
18:41 TB Callahan (5), (Cirelli, Killorn)(PP)

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

Lightning games have gotten somewhat formulaic at this point. They haven't really played a First Period of note in a while, and tonight's flat start was nothing new. They hang around in a tied game or even trailing by a goal here or there. And then they either flip the switch and blow a team off the ice or simply wear a team out in the final frame. Tonight's game had the extra feature of Nikita Kucherov absolutely taking over the game in the Third Period. He's a very good player, but I could make an argument this was Kucherov going to another gear tonight to help put the Sabres, who are now outside the playoffs looking in, away.

A word of note about the controversial Third Period officiating. First, Buffalo fans crying about the officiating need to recognize they outpaced the Lightning in power plays awarded 4-1. Call me crazy, but I know Buffalo isn't as pure as the driven snow and I know there were several missed calls Buffalo got away with. Second, on the Sergachev and Larsson dust up in the Third Period, recognize there was an uncalled slew foot moments before Sergachev snapped a hit Larsson in the mush. Yes, the Larsson call was a phantom cross check, but again, don't tell me Buffalo was as pure as the driven snow. Finally, the Eichel elbowing call to the back of McDonagh's head. He makes the argument that his elbow was tucked into his body and that McDonagh had his head down. Fine. Doesn't matter. It was a head shot. Period. Whatever you choose to call it, be it "elbowing" or whatever, the point is the league is trying to legislate head shots out of the game. It has to be a call. That was far more of a clear cut head shot than the Martel hit in Vancouver ever was, certainly.

Adam Erne had 2 hits in 10:08. Felt like he was stapled to the bench most of the night.

Erik Cernak was -2 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 22:08.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-10-19 Hurricanes at Lightning

Tampa Bay breaks through stout Carolina D for comeback win.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the win. Made a handful of big stops to keep the Lightning within shooting distance before the team eventually broke through in the Third Period.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:34 CAR Williams (11), (Hamilton, VanReimsdyk)

Third Period
11:56 TB Palat (5), (Stamkos, Point)(PP)
16:45 TB Point (27), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
19:34 TB Point (28), (Stamkos, Killorn)(EN)

Brayden Point and Vasilevskiy were the game's first and second stars.

Tampa Bay took about half the game to fully adjust to Carolina's speed and structure, including a pancake flat First Period, and looked in real danger of being shutout in this contest. But, what makes this year's Lightning different is most teams can't go 60 minutes with them before the Lightning's depth eventually cracks them. Carolina took some penalties in the Third Period as the Lightning ratcheted up the pressure and they ultimately paid the price.

Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot in 9:24. Made a gorgeous pass to Brayden Point to spring him for an apparent breakaway goal that was disallowed for an offside with Tyler Johnson jumping off the ice. It's a shame, because Joseph had a really strong shift and looked like he'd gotten the payoff.

Adam Erne had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 9:06.

Erik Cernak was +1 with 2 shots, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:14. Drew one of the key penalties in the Third Period keeping a puck at the blueline and slashing toward the slot.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-8-19 Blue Jackets at Lightning

Vasilevskiy unleashes the kittens in bounce back performance.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout victory. He had a small handful of really great chances, particularly a couple of Grade A ones by Panarin in the Second Period, and he was equal to the task each time.

First Period
15:55 TB Joseph (11), (Sergachev)
16:39 TB Point (25), (Kucherov, Johnson)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
6:05 TB Kucherov (21), (Johnson, Point)
8:53 TB Point (26), (Sergachev)

Brayden Point, Vasilevskiy, and Mikhail Sergachev were the game's three stars.

It wasn't a perfect game, but under the circumstances on the first game back from a road trip that ended poorly in San Jose, the Lightning can be ecstatic about the outcome. I thought they had a very strong First Period, built the 2-0 lead, booted a chance to put the game away in a poor Second Period, but then finally had a workmanlike Third Period to seal the deal.

The really good news: Sergachev is finally starting to round into form after looking a little off the first few months of the campaign.

Mathieu Joseph had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 12:27. I'll say it again: This guy is going to mess around and score 20 goals on just 11-12 minutes of ice time a night. He's actually tied for second in rookie goal scoring at the moment.

Danick Martel was +1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 12:35.

Adam Erne had 1 shot and 4 hits in 10:17.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-5-19 Lightning at Sharks

Lightning points streak snapped at 16. The sky is falling.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy was not good, allowing 5 goals on 33 shots for the loss including a back breaking soft goal to put the team down by two in the Third Period.

First Period
9:27 SJ Couture (16), (Meier, Karlsson)
10:01 SJ Pavelski (25), (Burns)
16:13 TB Hedman (5), (Stamkos, Palat)

Second Period
4:23 SJ Kane (13), (Burns, Karlsson)(PP)
4:53 TB Sergachev (1), (Joseph, Callahan)

Third Period
5:18 SJ Kane (14), (Dillon)
12:20 SJ Radil (6), (Meier, Burns)

All good things come to an end. I'm, of course, being facetious about the sky falling on a night the Lightning see a 15-0-1 run come to a halt. It's inevitable in a sport like hockey you're going to have a bad night every now and then. The important thing is to make sure one bad night doesn't snowball into a streak, and for that the Lightning have some clear areas in need of improvement. Faceoffs were terrible tonight. Goaltending was subpar. And, the overall energy and, in particular, lack of push in the Third Period was concerning.

Mathieu Joseph had a helper and was +1 with 3 hits in 10:23. Yet another game where Joseph's speed generated a goal, this time as Joseph scorched past a defender to create a 2-on-1 down low for a Sergachev goal.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 shot in 10:54.

Erik Cernak was -2 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 16:28... a very un-Cernak stat line.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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