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NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-27-18 Panthers at Lightning

Mathieu Joseph drops the mic in Orlando.

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Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 38 shots for the victory. He's quietly had a really strong preseason and has just generally played really well since the Lightning acquired him.

First Period
4:50 TB Hedman (1), (Point, Gourde)
6:27 FLA Lammikko (1), (Ekblad)
19:53 TB Cirelli (1), (Hedman, Joseph)

Second Period
3:40 TB Gourde (1), (Point)

Third Period
2:09 FLA Vatrano (1), (Brouwer, Borgstrom)
10:16 TB Joseph (1), (Sergachev, Killorn)(PP)
11:16 TB Volkov (1), (Cirelli, Killorn)
15:05 TB Joseph (2), (Miller, Stamkos)

Heading into this game I handicapped it as a three horse race to fill the final roster spot in Tampa Bay. Mathieu Joseph may have pulled three lengths ahead tonight. I already thought he had taken a slight lead heading down the stretch, but two goals and a helper in crunch time likely cannot be ignored.

Box score from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-25-18 Panthers at Lightning

Lightning blow the "worst lead in hockey."

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:17 TB Erne (1), (Joseph, Miller)(PP)
10:15 TB Killorn (1), (Stamkos, Miller)

Third Period
2:16 FLA Dadonov (1), (Pysyk)
7:03 FLA Ekblad (1), (Sceviour, MacKenzie)(SH)
12:31 FLA Barkov (1), (Dadonov, Bjugstad)

Brayden Point was the game's second star.

Things looked to be going well with the Lightning up two goals going into the final frame in a game with a lot of front line players from both clubs. It's concerning to cough up that lead and to give up a shorty, especially given that special teams has been a bit of a smoldering disaster thus far in the preseason. Practices will fix that last problem, but you can see some ragged edges as the process moves along to the opener.

Coming into this game, I really felt like this roster was nearly complete with three players fighting for one roster spot with two players fighting for another spot. I believe Adam Erne, who keeps scoring goals, has made the team and that the Lightning are unlikely to carry both Cory Conacher and Danick Martel, who are somewhat similar players in at least a superficial way, on the roster. Given the Lightning had to take the step of claiming Martel off waivers, you'd presume he has a slight edge on the more tenured Conacher. Those two will fight over a single spot, if I'm right the Lightning won't carry both and will try to fish the other through waivers down to Syracuse.

That leaves the final spot on the roster, and I handicap that as a three player race between Erik Cernak, Mathieu Joseph, and Alexander Volkov. If the Lightning decide to carry eight defensemen, Cernak makes the team, period, full stop. A lot of that probably depends on the team's confidence in Sergachev's switch to the right side and their confidence that Slater Koekkoek is finally ready to be more of a contributor to the team (yes, I'm assuming the waiver-eligible Koekkoek will make the club). Most teams don't carry 8 defensemen, but the Lightning have been one of the few teams that regularly have and there is, of course, Jon Cooper's proclivity to dress seven defensemen. Whether he makes the team on opening night or not, expect Cernak to see significant time in Tampa Bay over the course of the season, as he's clearly separated himself as the number eight on the depth chart.

If they go to a more conventional seven defensemen on the roster, though, it comes down to Joseph and Volkov, each of which have the DNA to be contributing complimentary wingers. Joseph's speed and forechecking would be a big plus to the lower lines. Volkov is perhaps a more complete 200 foot player (but only slightly so, Joseph's no slouch) and has a blink-quick release. Either player would be a nice weapon on the roster, but I honestly think the Lightning's style and the overall trend of the league perhaps favors a Joseph promotion.

In my opinion. All speculative, but that seems to me to be the one remaining twist we might see in the final shaping of the roster.

Joseph had a helper and 2 hits in 15:15.

Koekkoek had a shot, a hit, and a blocked shot in 11:59.

Martel had a shot and a blocked shot in 12:23.

Mitchell Stephens had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:02. He was also 44% on 16 draws.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 16:04. He was also 67% on 15 draws.

Adam Erne had a goal and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 14:24.

Cernak had 2 penalty minutes 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:18.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-22-18 Predators at Lightning

Connor Ingram FTW.

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Ingram allowed 2 goals on 24 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:09 NSH Jarnkrok (1), (Arvidsson, Turris)

Second Period
4:16 TB Miller (1), (Killorn, Joseph)
10:15 TB Volkov (1), (unassisted)
19:59 NSH Ellis (1), (Arvidsson, Turris)

Third Period
13:01 TB Yan (1), (Stralman, Coburn)
18:29 TB Verhaeghe (1), (Barre-Boulet, Coburn)(EN)
18:52 TB Paquette (1), (Joseph)(EN)

Dennis Yan, Ingram, and Mitchell Stephens were the game's three stars.

Kneel before the might and glory of a Brayden Coburn multi-point game.

Mathieu Joseph had a pair of helpers and was +1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 13:55.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 19:04.

Yan had the game winner and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 14:21. All Dennis Yan does is score goals.

Boris Katchouk had 1 shot and 6 hits in 11:15.

Otto Somppi was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 13:48. Somppi was also 64% on 11 draws.

Carter Verhaeghe had a goal and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:01.

Alex Barre-Boulet had a helper and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:51.

Stephens was +1 with 2 shots in 13:03.

Alexander Volkov had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 16:02.

Erik Cernak was +1 with 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 20:05.

Ross Colton had 2 hits in 13:02. He was also 22% on 9 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-21-18 Lightning at Predators

Lightning youth shows up. Shows out.

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Louis Domingue allowed just 1 goal on 39 shots for the victory. Nice way to ease into the season.

First Period
7:18 TB Erne (1), (Volkov)
9:06 TB Erne (2), (Cirelli)
9:24 TB Katchouk (1), (Colton, Andreoff)

Second Period
8:34 NSH Josi (1), (Subban, Forsberg)(PP)
9:25 TB Andreoff (1), (Dumont)(SH)

Third Period
17:12 TB Masin (1), (unassisted)(EN)

Adam Erne and Andy Andreoff were the game's first and second stars.

After a pair of ultra flat games against Carolina to start the preseason, the Lightning youth roared to life tonight in the First Period against a veteran NHL'er-laden Predators lineup to get the 3-0 lead and never look back. Kudos to the Lightning after a performance so bad in Carolina, I didn't write a story about it (actually, a full and complete box score was never published with correct goaltender statistics, so there's that).

Mathieu Joseph was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 5 shots in 16:49. He's having a pretty good preseason. Knocking on the door.

Slater Koekkoek was +5(!) with 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 20:10 of duty. Dare we dream this is the year for Slater?

Cameron Gaunce had 3 shots in 21:11.

Boris Katchouk had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 14:48. Goals in back to back preseason tilts for Katchouk.

Taylor Raddysh had 1 hit in 16:08.

Kevin Lynch had 1:00 of ice time.

Matthew Spencer had 1 hit in 15:00.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 19:12 and he was 56% on 18 draws.

Erne had 2 goals and was +2 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 15:31. Annual reminder that Adam Erne has the goods athletically, and just needs to stay healthy.

Dominik Masin had a goal and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 3 blocked shots in 15:43.

Alexander Volkov had a helper and was +2 with 1 hit in 17:18.

Erik Cernak had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 20:35.

Ross Colton had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots in 10:18. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-18-18 Hurricanes at Lightning

Woof.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the loss.

First Period
4:06 CAR Cajkovsky (1), (McKegg)
13:05 Wallmark (1), (Bean, Svechnikov)(PP)

Second Period
19:09 CAR Zykov (1), (Brown, VanReimsdyk)

Third Period
4:38 TB Joseph (1), (Raddysh, Johnson)(PP)
7:11 CAR Svechnikov (1), (DiGiuseppe, Wallmark)(PP)

Mathieu Joseph was the game's third star.

It was the first preseason game, so we should put very little weight on this one. Still, you'd have hoped for a little better with a lot of your top back end players in the lineup, but the team just lacked possession in the preseason opener.

Joseph had a goal and was -1 in 15:17 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 15:17.

Alexei Lipanov had 1 shot and was 30% on 10 draws in 9:34. I kind of expect him to get a copy of the home game and to be returned to junior expeditiously, but we'll see.

Taylor Raddysh had a helper and was -1 in 11:49.

Jonne Tammela had 1 hit in 9:19.

Dominik Masin had 4 penalty minutes and 1 blocked shot in 15:59.

Alexander Volkov had 1 shot and 1 hit in 18:40 in premier minutes with the top liners.

Gabriel Fortier was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 13:16. I'd expect he also goes the same route back to junior sooner rather than later, although he got a good amount of minutes relative to more established prospects tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Thoughts on Oleg Sosunov

As I prepare to head to Estero next Sunday and hopefully get a couple of days to watch camp and exhibitions, I’ve been thinking about where the big guy will eventually top out. He can’t really bust because he’s a low round reach in the draft. What constitutes a home run will likely be in the eye of each beholder. I’ll say if he graduates from prospect status prior to aging out on a contending Lightning team, that’ll be a homerun for me.

Bolts Announce Estero Prospect Tourney

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they will participate in the 2018 NHL Prospects Showcase, a three-team tournament at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida from September 8-11. The Lightning will field a team of their top prospects to compete against those of the Washington Capitals and the Nashville Predators. The games are free and open to the public. The Lightning’s participation is presented by Florida Blue.

The Lightning’s full practice schedule and roster will be made available at a later date. The complete game schedule is below:

Date | Game | Time
Saturday, Sept 8 | Washington at Nashville | 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept 9 | Nashville at Tampa Bay | 1 p.m.
Monday, Sept 10 | Tampa Bay at Washington | 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept 11 | Nashville at Washington | 11:30 a.m.

Tampa Bay Re-signs Winger Adam Erne to One Year Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Adam Erne to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000 today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Erne, 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, played in 23 games with the Lightning last season, recording three goals and four points. He also appeared in 41 games with Tampa Bay’s top affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, notching 12 goals and 26 points with a plus-4 rating.

The New Haven, Connecticut native has played in 49 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, since 2016, registering six goals and seven points. He has logged 150 career AHL games, all with the Crunch and scored 41 goals with 88 points. Erne has played in 22 career Calder Cup Playoff games, all in 2017, recording three goals and 10 points.

Erne was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 33rd overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Lightning Lock Up Kucherov Until 2027

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Nikita Kucherov to an eight-year contract extension worth an average of $9.5 million today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. The contract keeps Kucherov signed through the 2026-27 season.

“I’m truly grateful to sign this contract extension to keep me in Tampa for another eight seasons,” Kucherov said. “I’d like to thank the Lightning organization and all of the fans for the support since making the Bay Area my home.”

Kucherov, 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, recorded 39 goals and 100 points in 2017-18, along with a plus-15 rating, eight power play goals and seven game-winning goals. He ranked third in the NHL for points, sixth for assists and tied for ninth for goals. Kucherov led the Lightning in most offensive categories in 2017-18, including goals, assists and points, while also ranking tied for second for power play goals and second for game-winners. His 19:49 in average ice time led all Tampa Bay forwards.

The Maykop, Russia native appeared in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2018 as the Lightning lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. He paced the Bolts with 17 points and was tied for first with seven goals and nine assists.

Kucherov, 25, has skated in 365 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, registering 147 goals, 334 points, 39 power play goals and 23 game-winners. He scored a career-high 40 goals during the 2016-17 season, while his 100 points during this past campaign were also a career best. Since the start of the 2016 season, Kucherov’s 185 points ranks second in the entire NHL, behind only the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid. He also ranks third for goals during that same span with 79, trailing Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (82) and Patrick Laine of the Winnipeg Jets (80).

The two-time NHL All-Star has played in 62 career Stanley Cup Playoff Games, scoring 29 goals and adding 59 points. Dating back to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, no other Lightning player has more playoff goals (28) or points (58) than Kucherov. He also ranks second for assists (30), behind only Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Victor Hedman.

Kucherov was drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 58th overall, of the 2011 NHL Draft

Bolts Give Cedric Paquette 1 year Extension

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Cedric Paquette to a one-year contract worth $1 million, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Paquette, 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, played in 56 games with the Lightning last season, recording five goals and nine points, along with two game-winning goals. He also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2018, notching a goal and two points.

A native of Gaspe, Quebec, Paquette has appeared in 236 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, and has scored 27 goals while notching 50 points. He also has three shorthanded goals and six game-winners. Paquette has 62 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience, recording four goals and eight points.

Paquette was drafted in the fourth round, 101st overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft.

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