Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 11-25-17 Lightning at Penguins

Lightning fall to schedule, refs, and Pens. Maybe not in that order.

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Petr Budaj allowed 5 goals on 34 shots for the loss. Maybe you can quibble about the 5th goal, but I can't get too mad at the guy when he's facing breakaways and 5-on-3 power plays all night. That said, the past two games illustrate the gap between Budaj and Vasilevskiy pretty vividly.

First Period
14:36 PIT Rust (3), (Jarry)(SH)
18:03 PIT Kessel (10), (Crosby, Hornqvist)(PP)
19:26 PIT Crosby (8), (Kessel, Schultz)(PP)

Second Period
2:22 PIT Kessel (11), (Sheahan)
6:52 TB Palat (7), (Sergachev, Gourde)(PP)

Third Period
4:41 PIT Crosby (9), (Kessel, Schultz)(PP)
13:54 TB Conacher (1), (Killorn, Johnson)

Glass half empty: the Lightning have suddenly lost 3 of their last 4 games and lose back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in this campaign. Offensive chances that were being potted efficiently in the first 20 games of the season are suddenly not going in and the Lightning defense, with Dotchin out at the pairings scrambled, hasn't been good enough to compensate.

Glass half full: this might've been considered a schedule loss from the word "jump". Back-to-back playing against Washington and Pittsburgh, two of the league's best teams, with Budaj slated to go in net? Tough spot. The Lightning actually played better than the score indicates and dominated most of the First Period until they overplayed their hand on the backside of a four minute minor leading to Rust's shorthanded goal. Pittsburgh then got the benefit of... look, everybody knows the Pens get some ridiculously soft calls in their favor and the Pens got gifted a couple of extended 5-on-3 power plays tonight. I'm not going to tell you the Lightning deserved to win this one, although they led in scoring chances for much of the night. What I will tell you is the zebras may have robbed the Lightning of a chance to compete and at least have a chance to steal a road point or two.

Slater Koekkoek had 3 shots in 16:19. I thought he played a pretty strong game supporting the play in the offensive zone and he got some nice IT in garbage time.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:28. Wish he'd get himself more shots.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:17. Like Koekkoek, he was strong in the offensive zone supporting the play and on the power play he plunked his hard wrister off Palat and into the back of the net for an apple.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Bolts Claim DiDomenico Off Waivers

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have claimed forward Chris DiDomenico off waivers from the Ottawa Senators today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

DiDomenico, 5-foot-11, 174 pounds, has played in 12 games with Ottawa this season, recording three goals and six points, including three power-play points, while averaging 10:40 in ice time per game. He has played in 15 career NHL games, all with the Senators, after making his debut last season on March 9 at Arizona. DiDomenico has also appeared in four games with the Belleville Senators of the AHL this season, notching three goals and five points.

A native of Toronto, Ontario, DiDomenico has played in 78 career AHL games with the Senators and Rockford Ice Hogs, registering five goals and 22 points. From 2012 through 2017, he played in the Langnau Tigers organization of the Swiss league and with Asiago HC in Italy.

DiDomenico was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the sixth round, 164th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

NHL Game Night: 11-24-17 Lightning at Capitals

Burn the tape.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for the victory. The players in front of him did a bang up job of wasting an amazing effort that held them in the game and gave them a chance to steal at least a point tonight.

First Period
1:22 TB Namestnikov (10), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
18:38 WSH Ovechkin (15), (Wilson, Backstrom)

Second Period
14:36 WSH Smith-Pelly (3), (Beagle, Orlov)

Third Period
17:52 WSH Beagle (3), (Niskanen)(EN)

Vasilevskiy was the game's second star.

That was 40 minutes of getting outpossessed and outplayed by Washington followed by 20 minutes of frustration as they came close to paying off Vasiy's heroics, but just couldn't find the equalizer. There's plenty of blame to go around tonight, but honestly I'll say this might've been Victor Hedman's worst game in years. His Norris Trophy campaign committee will want to hunt down all copies of tonight's tilt and have them burned.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 hit in 6:52. Blink and you'd miss him.

Yanni Gourde had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 17:20.

Mikhail Sergachev had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:41.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-22-17 Blackhawks at Lightning

Lightning defies odds/adversity for impressive comeback win.

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TB-3 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the win. It was a rough start for Andrei allowing a semi-soft goal to Kane where he was off his angle and deep in his net. When the good ones give up a couple early, though, they tend to dig their heels in and shut the door the rest of the way. That happened tonight as Vasilevskiy made about 4-5 unbelievable stops to give the Lightning the chance to eventually pull out the win.

First Period
3:49 CHI Kane (7), (Anisimov, Rutta)
15:54 CHI Kane (8), (Franson, Keith)(PP)

Second Period
4:27 TB Palat (6), (Callahan, Hedman)(SH)

Third Period
0:31 TB Kunitz (3), (Coburn, Callahan)

Overtime
3:25 TB Point (9), (Stamkos, Namestnikov)(PP)

Brayden Point and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and third stars.

That's not exactly how you'd draw up a win against a NHL power like Chicago, but it's impressive nonetheless. The Lightning looked a little disjointed in the First Period while dealing with Dotchin being out of the lineup, Paquette being back in the lineup, and a Chicago team that's well coached and has a lot of speed. Adding to their peril was a semi-soft goal allowed by Vasilevskiy and a failed 5-on-3 bid that put them on the downside of Espo's Rule. Things looked bleak after 20 minutes, but they fought hard the rest of the way to eventually equalize and win it in Overtime.

One of the biggest elements of that comeback was the surprising play of the fourth line of Kunitz/Paquette/Callahan. Playing with a regular, natural centerman seemed to free the whole line up to just buzz around and grind, with Paquette throwing a tone-setting hit on Toews that seemed to propel that line's who game from there on out. Callahan, in particular, turned in one of those performances that reminds you of what he was at the prime of his career.

I think the most impressive thing about tonight was it was a different way of winning. The Lightning were forced to manufacture a couple of goals to get level rather than simply winning a track meet. These kind of victories can help build a valuable foundation for when the calendar gets into late March and April and games get tighter and more meaningful.

One downside from tonight that I'll mention after watching it for the past three or so games: Kucherov's got to stop trying to make the cute play and simplify his approach. He's making one more move and one more pass than he needs to. When he's in a scoring area, he needs to just rip it. And, when a play's not there, put it in spots in the corners and trust your bloodhounds Namestnikov and Stamkos will get in there, sniff out those loose pucks, and keep the attack alive in the offensive zone.

Tampa Bay starts off their third 10-game segment of the season with 2 big points. They need 10 in their next 9 to clinch a successful segment.

Yanni Gourde was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 blocked shot, and he was 40% on 5 draws.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:54. He was impressive tonight against a high caliber foe. Yes, there were a couple of plays that were a little riskier than I may have liked from a rookie blueliner, but he made them stick.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-18-17 Islanders at Lightning

Lightning rally gives false hope after flat start.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the rare loss. I think he might want the second goal back, which appeared to go through him, but in fairness to him the defense was pretty rancid tonight.

First Period
0:51 NYI Ladd (4), (Tavares, Ho-Sang)
10:25 NYI Lee (10), (Tavares, Bailey)

Second Period
7:09 NYI Nelson (6), (Chimera, Pelech)

Third Period
1:05 NYI Lee (11), (Bailey, Barzal)(PP)
3:13 TB Gourde (5), (Point, Koekkoek)
3:26 TB Palat (5), (Point, Vasilevskiy)
16:24 TB Gourde (6), (Palat, Girardi)
19:38 NYI Tavares (14), (Cizikas, Bailey)(EN)

Yanni Gourde was the game's second star.

The Lightning were flat and looked unprepared for the game and the Islanders jumped on them and got the goal on the opening shift. The Lightning responded by opening up too much to try to get goals and ended up surrendering too many odd man rushes and found themselves behind the eight ball. They eventually got down 3 goals after 40 minutes, and as I've said many a time, it feels like 99 times out of 100 that's a death sentence for the team trailing in pro hockey. You may get within one, but you eventually lose and it happened again tonight.

The Lightning finish the second 10-game segment of the season 8 points ahead of playoff pace. Good news is, ending on a loss, I don't think anyone's got to warn the Lightning to get complacent. Segment three starts tomorrow with a record of 0-0-0. Twelve in ten: do it again.

Slater Koekkoek had a helper and was +2 with 1 hit in 9:01.

Gourde had a pair of goals and was +1 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:23.

Jake Dotchin was -3 with 2 shots in 12:18. Not going to sugar coat it: he stunk tonight. Getting beat like a dog out of the corner by Nelson on the third goal ultimately was the kill shot goal for the Islanders. He didn't cloak himself in glory with his play in this one.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:37. Had a lot of scoring chances in this game and was dynamic offensively.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-16-17 Stars at Lightning

Lightning pummel ex-mate Bishop in his return to Tampa.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. The typical formula applied. He made a handful of important situational saves early in the game, allowing the Lightning the time to start pulling away in the Second Period.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
0:47 TB Stamkos (9), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)
3:34 DAL Faksa (4), (unassisted)
4:51 TB Sergachev (5), (Killorn, Johnson)
11:20 TB Point (8), (unassisted)(SH)

Third Period
3:57 TB Stamkos (10), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)
8:18 TB Dotchin (2), (Sergachev, Stamkos)
13:52 TB Kucherov (17), (Hedman, Stamkos)

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

Impressive showing by the Lightning. They showed no rust at all in the first game from a road trip, outskating and outpossessing Dallas by a significant margin in the First Period. The game got a lot more even in the Second Period as the Lightning took a few penalties, but the Lightning's special teams paid off with a PP and SH goal in the frame, and that allowed them to start to pull away. At 5 on 5, there's few teams that seem to be able to touch this team. On the power play, they're lethal. And, on the penalty kill, the injection of players like Point and Gourde have added a lethal element that gives teams very little respite. Some team or two is going to get their act together over the course of the season and lay down their marker as a potential contender, but right now the league is looking like the Tampa Bay Lightning and then everyone else so far this year.

With the victory, the Lightning stand at 32 points through 19 games, meaning with 1 game to go in the second 10-game segment of the year the Lightning have already banked 8 insurance points. Remarkable.

Yanni Gourde was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 21:33. He was also 40% on 5 draws.

Jake Dotchin had his second NHL goal and was +1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:21. Thought his goal was maybe a touch on the soft side, but he had a scoring chance earlier in the game where I thought he might've been a little luckier on the outcome, so these things even out.

Sergachev had a goal and an assist and was +3 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 14:16. His goal was kind of a lucky shot that deflected on a long point shot off a Dallas defender and went straight into the top corner. This is why Cooper preaches shooting the puck. The helper on Dotchin's goal was nothing fancy, but kind of epitomized how he played all night, using his mobility to support the play in all three zones.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-12-17 Lightning at Ducks

Dominant Lightning need some Vasilarceny to complete California sweep.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 29 shots for the victory. He didn't have a ton of saves to make in the first 40 minutes but found himself locked in an absolute duel with John Gibson standing on his head at the other end of the rink. The sealer was an theft of thefts by Vasilevskiy pushing to his left and robbing a one timer on the PK late in the Third Period. My gosh, what a save. I though he had no chance.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
9:12 TB Nametnikov (9), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
3:48 ANH Silfverberg (5), (Wagner, Cogliano)
7:18 TB Brown (1), (Kunitz, Callahan)

Vladislav Namestnikov and Victor Hedman were the game's second and third stars. Quite the spiteful, bitter, sour grapes move by the Anaheim media to snub Vasilevskiy from a star. Truly.

Tampa Bay deserved the victory tonight. The first 40 minutes of this contest were an absolute clinic. Tampa Bay had all of the puck and a ton of scoring chances and Gibson had to play one of the best games of his life just to hold Anaheim in the game. The Third Period was more of a Ducks period with the ice titled by score effects and the Lightning got an amazing goal from J.T. Brown and a ton of great saves by Vasilevskiy to get it over the finish line.

The Lightning only won 48% of their draws tonight, but that's better than I'd have thought with this many young centermen playing against any team that has Antoine Vermette. Pleasant surprise.

Tampa Bay clinches another successful 10-game segment of the season with the win, now sitting at 13 points through 8 games of the segment. They also pot 1 insurance point giving them 6 insurance points on the season with 2 games left to rack up more in this segment.

Yanni Gourde was -1 with 2 shots in 16:16. He was also 40% on 5 draws.

Jake Dotchin had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 15:48.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:18. He's going to want to burn the tape of that Third Period. Made a poor turnover on Anaheim's only goal and another in the Ducks zone later in the period that led to a 2-on-1 where Vasilevskiy had to make a dynamite save to bail him out. Bad Sergachev makes poor decisions and/or is too light on his stick passing it. I haven't seen bad Sergachev much recently, but he snuck on the rink in the final frame tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-9-17 Lightning at Kings

Lightning opens gates of hell in the First Period in Los Angeles. No Kings spared.

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Much maligned Petr Budaj allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the win. He made a critical save on Koptar early on in the game on a bang bang play that led to Kucherov's breakaway goal. That's making the situational save you need for the W.

First Period
9:27 TB Kucherov (16), (Stamkos, Koekkoek)
10:01 TB Killorn (2), (Girardi, Johnson)
10:35 TB Hedman (2), (Gourde, Palat)
11:29 TB Stamkos (8), (Killorn, Kucherov)(PP)

Second Period
17:31 LA Toffoli (8), (Kopitar, Muzzin)

Third Period
8:39 LA Fantenberg (1), (Brown, Laich)
12:59 TB Namestnikov (8), (Hedman, Kucherov)

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

Petr Budaj makes a big situational save, Kucherov scores on a breakaway at the other end, and the Lightning just erupt all over the Kings in a game that was over after less than a dozen minutes. The first 37 or so minutes tonight were just one long replay of the Second Period dominance the Lightning displayed against San Jose last night. Honestly, were it not for Quick, the Kings would've easily let up 8 or 9 goals tonight as the Lightning had something like 23 scoring chances through the first two periods. Quick almost gave the Kings a chance, but a well played replay challenge by Cooper and the Gang at the end of the Second Period helped the team maintain a 3 goal advantage through 40 minutes and it was off to garbage time for the second night in a row. And, to all a good night.

Things that'll make your mind explode: Namestnikov's on a pace for about 39 goals. Not a typo.

Tonight's victory means the Lightning are within an eyelash of clinching their second successful 10-game segment of the year. After collecting a stylish 17 points in 10 games to start the year, they have 11 points in this second segment with 3 more games to play. So, with 1 more point they'll have nabbed the 12 in 10, and anything after that is just more insurance points in the bank. It's a beautiful thing.

Slater Koekkoek had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot in 6:22.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and he was 60% on 5 draws. As always, the Stamkos line provides the bulk of the firepower, but the Palat/Point/Gourde line sets the pace for the Lightning.

Gabriel Dumont had 3 shots and 2 hits and was 63% on 8 draws in 9:56 as he jumped in to replace an injured Ryan Callahan in the lineup.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 16:45.

Mikhail Sergachev had 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 14:01.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-8-17 Lightning at Sharks

Lightning speed slays Sharks.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 33 shots for the victory. He conceded an unlucky goal on the first shift of the game on a puck that deflected off Callahan's stick. After that, he made two or three ridiculous saves in the First Period to allow the team to find their equilibrium, after which the rest of his night was thankfully light work.

First Period
0:25 SJ Donskoi (5), (Thornton, Pavelski)
7:17 TB Dotchin (1), (Point, Gourde)

Second Period
0:44 TB Kucherov (15), (Namestnikov, Stamkos)
9:21 TB Koekkoek (3), (Gourde, Stralman)
12:00 TB Namestnikov (6), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Third Period
6:14 TB Namestnikov (7), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars.

San Jose had no answer for the quickness of the Tampa Bay Lightning. None. The Lightning not only can outskate San Jose man for man, but they moved the puck so quickly and crisply, especially in the Second Period, the Sharks had no prayer. No prayer. The Lightning won pretty much every 50/50 puck and then just carved up the slower Sharks defense. Cooper will have some coachable things if he wants them because the Lightning had some bad habits creep in during garbage time in the Third Period, but other than that this was a clinic, on balance.

Slater Koekkoek had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 9:14. His goal was a short side softie allowed by Martin Jones, who looked awful tonight en route to being lifted after two periods.

Yanni Gourde had 2 helpers and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 blocked shots in 17:46. He was also 17% on 6 draws. The Stamkos and Kucherov line get all the plaudits, but I thought the line with Gourde and Point along with Palat were almost as good tonight and were crucial to helping the Lightning get their footing back after falling behind after the first shift tonight.

Jake Dotchin had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 14:01. He got it the way you'd want it: blew a slapshot through the goaltender for his first in the bigs.

Mikhail Sergachev was +1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 15:26.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-4-17 Blue Jackets at Lightning

Vasilevskiy redeemed after regulation time.

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TB-5 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 34 shots before stopping 3 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. He let Columbus back in the game with a soft wraparound goal in the Third Period, but made up for it with a huge save on the PK in OT and a couple of acrobatic stops in the Shootout.

First Period
2:30 CBJ Jones (3), (unassisted)
2:54 TB Point (7), (Brown, Girardi)
3:32 TB Kucherov (14), (Sergachev, Namestnikov)
10:55 CBJ Werenski (4), (Dubois, Hannikainen)

Second Period
6:20 TB Stamkos (7), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
18:01 TB Gourde (4), (Killorn, Hedman)

Third Period
9:46 CBJ Hannikainen (2), (Milano, Jones)
11:45 CBJ Dubinsky (1), (Jenner, Bjorkstrand)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
CBJ- NONE
TB- Stamkos

Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars. Would love to know how Stamkos doesn't get a star in this one.

That was almost 50 minutes of tour de force Lightning hockey that almost ended in shame because of an untimely soft goal halfway through the Third Period. The Lightning did allow a couple of goals in the First Period, one on a bout of bad puck luck and one on a play where Victor Hedman failed to cover up well for a man Andrej Sustr lost in his own corner. Other than that and a couple of other breakdowns, though, the Lightning had their game going all night and seemed in complete control. If you're going to nitpick, I'd say they overpassed the first half of the Third Period while looking for the kill shot goal. Unfortunately, soft goals are poison. Vasilevskiy threw Columbus a lifeline on that one and they manufactured a greasy goal to get to Overtime. That's where the Lightning had to engineer a magnificent 4-on-3 PK after a Stamkos penalty in which they only really allowed one fantastic chance that Vasilevskiy denied off the stick of Panarin. In the Shootout, Stamkos decided not to repeat the foolish optimism of Kucherov and Point, who deked forehand on both of their attempts, and he ripped a shot high corner to send his club to the pay window. Harder than it had to be, but they eventually got the result they deserved.

Yanni Gourde had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots in 16:55. He was also 40% on 5 draws. His line, with Point and Palat, was humming tonight along with the top line. It's always a fun night when the Lightning get both scoring lines going.

Jake Dotchin had 1 blocked shot in 14:16.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 13:03.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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