Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Day: 11-29-13 Penguins at Lightning

Bounces don't go the Lightning's way.

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Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for the loss. He played well. It's hard to be upset considering the first goal he allowed was off a great cross ice feed from Crosby and the second was a centering feed that bounced off Hedman and in. Most nights that effort gets Bishop in the winner's circle.

First Period
6:53 PIT Kunitz (12), (Crosby, Letang)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
8:27 PIT Sutter (5), (Crosby, Jokinen)(PP)
18:17 PIT Kunitz (13), (Malkin, Crosby)(EN)

J.T. Brown was the game's second star.

There's nothing to be ashamed of in tonight's effort. They held their own against an elite caliber team and just didn't get the bounce or two they needed. I'll take that effort 9 games out of 10 and take my chances that the bounces start to go my way. The unfortunate thing is that the loss is going to make it really difficult for the Lightning to get 12 points out of this 10 game segment of the season, now needing 7 of 8 possible points in the next 4 games. That's the problem with losing streaks like on the Lightning's West Coast swing. They really cut your margin of error down dramatically.

Mark Barberio had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 14:59. His delay of game penalty in the Third Period led to Pittsburgh's insurance goal and, as usual, he just isn't strong along the wall in his own end. He's got to improve there. Period, point blank.

Tyler Johnson was -2 with 1 shot and he was 62% on draws in 18:58. That stat line doesn't tell the tale. The kid line matched up head to head against the Crosby line all game long and they held their own. Crosby set up Pittsburgh's first goal, but they got nothing else until the empty netter at the end, and the balance of play between the two lines was surprisingly even. That's incredibly impressive for three rookies.

Alex Killorn had 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots and was 29% on draws in 15:01. QUIT TAKING OFFENSIVE ZONE PENALTIES! That is all.

Ondrej Palat was -1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 16:52. I'll echo my comments about TJ with regard to Palat and add that both Palat and Johnson were also outstanding on the PK.

Brown had 4 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:10. He worked himself into quite a few good chances and set up 1-2 others for his teammates. He's a little snakebit right now, but that will pass with time.

Nikita Kucherov had 2 shots in 14:31. He had a partial breakaway and a couple of other quality scoring chances. Sooner or later, he's going to put up a multi-goal game, I'm fairly certain. He's very dangerous, and I would actually like to see him spotted in Panik's place on the kid line just to see if a little more polished finisher on that line can yield some dividends.

Andrej Sustr was -1 with 1 shot and 3 blocked shots in 18:05. He was on the ice for Pittsburgh's first goal, but that was a superstar play off the rush by Crosby. Beyond that, he also held his own. Nothing to be ashamed of.

Richard Panik was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:27. He had maybe the chance of the game on his stick at the end of the Second Period all along in front of Fleury and target visioned it right into Fleury's chest. Ploof. I don't know how the Lightning can breath confidence into him at this point, but I do know that kid line is generating chances for Panik and they're not going in because he's the most snake bitten at all. Given its been feast or famine in the goal department since Stamkos' injury, I'm very serious that Cooper should consider spotting a finisher like Kucherov on that line if these late game situations come up where the Lightning are scrambling to find a goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-27-13 Flyers at Lightning

Vinny's return drowned out by the Hedmania.

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Anders Lindback allowed 2 goals on 21 shots for the victory. He had the shutout working until just under 3 minutes left in the game when he was hung out to dry for two quick ones. It would've been nice for the team to stay focused and get that shutout for Anders, who has been playing better of late. He had a solid, workmanlike performance tonight, including stopping Wayne Simmonds on a penalty shot (on a terrible call on what should've been treated as an excellent play by Victor Hedman).

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
9:15 TB Hedman (5), (Thompson, Johnson)
12:16 TB Palat (4), (Hedman, Sustr)(SH)

Third Period
5:00 TBL Hedman (6), (Purcell, Filppula)(PP)
18:07 PHI Lecavalier (9), (Schenn, Streit)(PP)
18:47 PHI Mark Streit (1), (Giroux)
19:26 TB Johnson (6), (unassisted)(EN)

Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and third stars. Palat was robbed.

Obviously there was a very strange dynamic at play with Vincent Lecavaier's first game back in Tampa since leaving the organization. That probably contributed to a strange First Period where neither team played terribly good hockey. The Lightning had more possession, partly because of some awful turnovers by Philly, but the Lightning also got away with some mistakes that could've gotten a lot worse for them had Philly been on. Coming out of the First Intermission, though, the Lightning took the game by the throat and dominated for the next 37 minutes of the game before some late stumbles that made the game more interesting than it should have been. I have no doubt that Jon Cooper will be pleased with the 35-21 shot advantage in the contest, and I also have no doubt he'll enjoy using those last 2 Flyers goals in garbage time as a teaching tool for his young team about making sure they finish off games. Actually, the more I think about it, Jon Cooper is probably pinching himself his team only gave up 21 shots and precious few scoring chances with Radko Gudas still out of the lineup.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Victor Hedman basically took over the middle part of this game. On both sides of the puck he was everywhere. Defense. Offense. He was the best player on the ice. I'll remind everyone that in the year he was drafted, some scouting services like Red Line Report went so far as to say Hedman was a prospect with potential that exceeded even that of Steven Stamkos from the draft class previous. It takes longer for defensemen to adjust to the NHL than it does for forwards because the position demands more maturity and a more cerebral approach than playing forward. If Hedman's starting to lift up to the lofty potential that scouts saw in him when he was drafted, watch out. If he becomes a true, dominant #1 NHL defenseman it can completely alter the landscape of the team's future for the better.

With back-to-back wins over the Rangers and Flyers coming off Bishop stealing a point in Anaheim, the Lightning checks into the 5th game of this 3rd 10 game segment of the season with 5 points, 7 shy of the 12 you want, at a minimum, in every segment. They're still a little off pace, but it's a strong recovery from the disastrous trip to the West Coast. Pittsburgh on Friday is a tall order, but if they can get a point or two out of that game, you have to like how they've kept their wits about them after their first real adversity of the campaign.

Mark Barberio was +1 with 1 shot in 14:28. I'll give Barberio credit. Yes, he made 3-4 mistakes in his own zone, but he seems to be getting away with them, and we all know he's pretty darn good in the other two zones.

Johnson had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +3 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:28. He was also 57% on draws. His speed created the capping empty net goal in the game, and his kid line continues to consistently be a bright spot for the team regardless of how the rest of the club is performing.

Alex Killorn had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and was 40% on draws in 17:09. Quit taking minor penalties. Bloody hell, you're a Harvard graduate. You're allegedly smarter than this.

Ondrej Palat had a shorthanded goal and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:12. My man deserved a star tonight. His work to hustle the Flyers under extra attacker duress created the pass/bobble that led to Johnson's empty net goal. That one of those hidden assists you don't find on the scoresheet, but it'll be there when the coach's evaluate this game.

J.T. Brown was -1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:08. He was absolutely robbed blind on a bid in the First Period by Ray Emery. He was less of a factor after that.

Nikita Kucherov had 6 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:56. Yes, he got the goal in his first game, but that was just a decent game for Kucherov overall. Tonight, he was a whole other step above that even if he didn't get the result on the scoresheet. He had 5 scoring chances by himself, should've had a 6th on a breakaway where I think his eyes got a little big and he bobbled away the puck, and he set up 1-2 more scoring chances for linemates like Purcell passing the puck, too. I'm not sure I've ever seen a prospect come up and be this quick/decisive with the puck, offensively. He gets the puck and it's either immediately gone via a pass or gone full steam on a hard shot on net. Earlier in his career there might've been the critique that he overhandled the puck, which is a typical Russian stereotype, but I haven't detected that at all in this callup. Additionally, he seems very motivated to stay in the NHL and he's backchecking like a mad man. That last part has to make the Lightning organization the most excited of all. They've really gotten Nikita to buy into playing on the other side of the puck to win back possession and help keep it out of the back of his own 4x6, and that's how a good player becomes a championship caliber player. If he keeps playing like he did tonight, I don't see how he could, in all good conscience, be sent back down to the AHL. That's how good he was tonight.

Andrej Sustr had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:01. I loves me some Andrej Sustr. I have to think he's one of the bigger reasons for how well the Lightning performed defensively tonight, absorbing some of Gudas' share of the ice time and looking incredibly poised doing it. The Flyers are a team that likes to run at people and that can rattle young players. There was no shrinking violet under pressure by Sustr tonight, though. He moved the puck smartly regardless of whether he was going to take a bump or not. Very mature.

Richard Panik was +1 with 1 hit in 14:02. Honestly, I thought he was a bit of a passenger tonight on the line with Palat and Johnson. You'd like to see him catch up to Palat and Johnson's level of play and start contributing, because if he does that line will go from good to great in a hurry.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Prospect of the Week: November 26, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for November 18-24, 2013 is … Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL – USA).

Tyler Johnson is getting good at the NHL hockey.

The Lightning’s recent trip out west was rather forgettable, but there were a few positives among the negatives. One of those positives was the ascending play of rookie Tyler Johnson.

NHL Game Night: 11-25-13 Rangers at Lightning

Tampa Bay celebrates Marty1k Night in style.

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Ben Bishop stopped all 37 shots he faced for the victory. There was no doubt the Lightning were loosey goosey defensively in the First and Second Periods, due a lot to the absence of Radko Gudas, but Bishop is the big eraser of mistakes. His First Period glove stop on Stralman will make highlight reels, for sure. Another night where U of Maine Justice was served.

First Period
2:12 TB Kucherov (1), (Purcell, Brewer)
3:10 TB St. Louis (9), (Filppula, Hedman)

Second Period
3:12 TB St. Louis (10) , (Filppula, Sustr)
16:52 TB Purcell (6), (unassisted)

Third Period
18:59 TB Purcell (7), (St. Louis, Alex Killorn)

Martin St. Louis, Bishop, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

Life is good when you have a true number one goaltender. You give Bishop a few goals of support to work with and he's going to get you across the finish line on most nights. The Lightning did a decent enough job keeping the really heinous odd man rushes and breakaways out of their game, and even though they were loose in their own end and allowed a ton of shots, it was enough. All that said, I wouldn't want a steady diet of it and I hope Gudas returns very, very soon.

The Kucherov goal was a nice story, especially on this website, but it was gravy and not meat and potatoes. The meat and potatoes story of the night was that Marty and Purcell each had a pair of goals. Those two getting on track is what has to happen for the Lightning to stay in the hunt until #91's return. Silky smooth hands by Martin St. Louis on his two breakaway goals. I'd expect nothing less if the Swedish Battletank, Fredrik Modin, made the trek down to the game, as he did tonight.

Mark Barberio was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He's not going to ever be confused for Scott Stevens in his own third, but if he cuts down the really poor turnovers, the Lightning may be able to live with him.

Tyler Johnson had 2 shots and 2 blocked shots in 18:38 and was 75% on draws. Home cooking agrees with Tyler's faceoff percentage.

Alex Killorn had a helper and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 14:13. He was also 25% on draws. It's a decent stat line, but the number of penalties he's taking won't cut it.

Ondrej Palat had 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 19:23. Excellent on the penalty kill. Excellent on one or two occasions carrying the puck for entry into the offensive zone on the PP. He's quietly a backbone type player on the lower lines.

J.T. Brown was +2 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 16:45. His speed allows him to be very active in the play and he's got a quick release that he isn't afraid to use. He's been a nice fit getting some scoring line and PP minutes.

Kucherov scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot on his first NHL shift. Efficiency. He was also +2 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:31. You got a taste of his talents tonight, with a quick, hard release on his goal and a quick, crafty setup to Teddy Purcell that nearly amounted to a helper. That was the good. The nitpick side points out he got away with one offensive zone penalty that sprung Purcell on his first goal and he probably got away with another offensive zone penalty later in the game. I don't know if the refs had great dinner reservations they didn't want to miss, but both teams got away with bloody murder in the offensive zone in the second half of tonight's game.

Andrej Sustr had a helper and was +1 with 2 blocked shots in 21:44. He recovered from a pretty terrible shift early in the First Period to have a decent night lugging big minutes in Gudas' absence.

Richard Panik had 2 shots in 14:35.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 5 penalty minutes in 0:38 of ice time. He left the game with an upper body injury after his second shift.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-22-13 Lightning at Ducks

A strange end to a bad trip.

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Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 43 shots for the overtime loss, and the 1 goal was actually knocked in by Panik, otherwise Bishop would've swept it off the line. That was an outstanding performance by Bishop who turned away what seemed like a half dozen breakaways and several other quality chances once the game degenerated into glorified line rushes.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
4:52 ANA Getzlaf (13), (unassisted)

Bishop was the game's third star.

Just a bizarre game, with the Lightning alternating moments when they looked to be forechecking well and generating chances and other moments where they displayed sieve-like defense allowing far to many breakaways and scoring chances. And, no matter how good a chance either team got, it didn't seem to matter because the goaltenders were so in command.

The Lightning really needed that second point tonight, though. They finish the trip at 0-3-1-0 with just 1 of 8 possible points. In segment 3 of the season they have 1 point after 3 games, meaning they'd need 11 of 14 possible points in the remaining 7 of the segment to hit 12. That's a tall, tall order.

Radko Gudas had 5 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 7:25 before leaving the game with an upper body injury. The Lightning are in real trouble if Gudas is out for any extended period of time. It's unclear if Gudas pulled something after getting jumped by Luca Sbisa following a clean hit on Mathieu Perrault, or if he sustained it or aggravated it further after a hit on Corey Perry in the Second Period. I saw an odd play where he tried to move the puck with one arm while his other arm hung slack in the Second Period before leaving the game, but he was also seen with an ice pack on his face before the Second Period. Either way, the Lightning have nothing to replace what Gudas has meant to this team so far this year in terms of minutes, shot blocking, and physical presence. It's a straw/camel's back moment if Gudas goes on IR, potentially.

Mark Barberio had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:19. Man he's frightening in his own end.

Tyler Johnson had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and was 43% on draws in 19:42. You could argue he was the Lightning's best player not named Ben Bishop tonight and he generated several very good scoring chances for himself.

Alex Killorn had 4 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 hit in 19:17. He was also 50% on draws. He darn near won it in OT on a beautiful behind the back spinning shot attempt.

Ondrej Palat had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 22:15. His ice time says it all. He was one of the few guys the Lightning had doing all the little things right.

J.T. Brown had 6 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:22. He was extremely active in the First Period and carried that on into the Second Period. I also don't remember his shot having such a quick release. Must come from hanging around all those Russians.

Andrej Sustr had 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:09. At one point, defending a 2-on-1, he did the old Pavel Kubina praying mantis maneuver dropping to his belly. Anaheim's forward read it and slowed down hoping Sustr would clear. He was, I dunno, 8 feet away from Andrej. With Andrej's reach, Andrey still swept the puck away from him. My goodness what reach.

Richard Panik was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 17:14. He was dangerous throughout the game, but the ending was unfortunate given he knocked the puck in. Would've been nice if Bishop could've swept it off the line successfully, given the success Filppula and the team have had in the shootout.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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