Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 3-20-19 Lightning at Capitals

Despite lackluster effort, Lightning take another one from the Caps.

TB-5
WSH-4 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 58 shots for the victory. He'd have gotten it in regulation if he hadn't allowed the short side goal late in the Third Period, but it's hard to be too tough on Vasilevskiy when he's turning aside that much rubber and that many quality chances.

First Period
7:32 WSH Eller (12), (Hagelin)

Second Period
1:19 TB Kucherov (36), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
2:12 TB Stamkos (37), (Miller)(PP)
6:45 TB Cirelli (16), (Joseph)
10:30 WSH Hagelin (5), (Eller)
13:40 WSH Oshie (22), (Ovechkin, Carlson)(PP)
15:01 TB Kucherov (37), (Stamkos, Palat)(PP)

Third Period
19:07 WSH Kuznetsov (20), (Backstrom, Oshie)

Overtime
3:01 TB Hedman (11), (Gourde)

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

That was a somewhat ugly win that showed no continuity with the last win with Washington other than the fact that the Lightning ultimately got the W yet again. Despite Washington losing a defenseman to what appeared to be an ugly injury in an altercation with Cedric Paquette and despite Washington shortening their bench to the extent you had players like Kuznetsov and Ovechkin playing over 25 minutes in the game, Washington looked the more determined and more energetic team for the bulk of the run of play. A lot of that was the Lightning's own doing, though, due to poor puck management. Two Washington goals could be directly traced to terrible turnovers by Alex Killorn in a role reversal from the heroics of his last outing against this team. So, I think the possession game snowballed out of control for Tampa Bay largely because they allowed it to by repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot with stupid plays in the neutral zone. The Lightning also, I thought, suffered from Washington having the matchup advantage on last change and the ability to get their big guns out against Jan Rutta's pairing.

If I'm Washington, I'm climbing up the walls because I did most everything right while trying to make a statement in a measuring stick game against a possible ECF opponent, and I still took the loss. If I'm Tampa Bay, I'm hanging my hat on the fact that I weathered arguably Washington's best punch and I still won and there's no way the ice time usage that the Caps had tonight would be sustainable in a 7-game series.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-18-19 Coyotes at Lightning

Lightning OG's clinch the club's first President's Trophy.

ARI-1
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the victory. And they better darned well credit him that SH assist in my fantasy league playoffs.

First Period
5:03 ARI Keller (14), (Dvorak, Panik)
6:54 TB Stamkos (36), (McDonagh, Miller)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:44 TB Hedman (10), (Cirelli, Killorn)
19:15 TB Cirelli (15), (unassisted)(SH)(EN)
19:51 TB Gourde (20), (Vasilevskiy)(SH)(EN)

The Lightning's old hands, Stamkos and Hedman, delivered the two goals needed in a tight checking game against a very positionally disciplined Arizona team. The sledding was tough and the Lightning really had to grind this one out in order to get the last couple of points they needed to cement the President's Trophy. And for Stamkos, he also passed Lecavalier for the top spot on the club's all-time goal scoring list.

The Lightning now in the rare and enviable position where they've already wrapped up the best record in the league with nine games to play. Let the other teams scratching for playoff position kill each other, I say.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-16-19 Capitals at Lightning

Alex Killorn temporarily burns down our website with a hat trick that stamps a Lightning statement win.

WSH-3
TB-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the victory. There was A LOT of puck luck that factored into at least a couple of Washington's goals, and you can also make the strong argument that Vasilevskiy's play in the Second Period and a few other times the Lightning defense was leaky was ultimately the margin in the contest.

First Period
8:35 TB Johnson (26), (Point, Kucherov)
10:33 TB Killorn (14), (unassisted)
12:06 WSH Carlson (12), (Kuznetsov)
15:56 TB Killorn (15), (Cirelli, Joseph)

Second Period
7:33 WSH Ovechkin (47), (Oshie, Carlson)(PP)

Third Period
2:45 TB Cernak (4), (McDonagh, Palat)
12:56 WSH Ovechkin (48), (Orlov, Connolly)
19:13 TB Killorn (16), (Kucherov)(EN)
19:58 TB Gourde (19), (Erne, Hedman)(EN)

Alex Killorn and Erik Cernak were the game's first and second stars.

This was a nerve-wracking game for Lightning partisans, but I think the overall evidence presented points to the Lightning having significantly improved in this match-up relative to the last time these teams played in the ECF. It wasn't the typical Lightning statement game where they blew a team out, despite what the score indicates, but they did start the game that way by dominating the First Period en route to building an initial 3-1 lead. They did not handle Washington's push back in the Second Period well, particularly from Washington's star players, and it took Vasilevskiy heroics for them to get out of the middle stanza with a lead. Fortunately, they upped their intensity in the Third Period, got a bit of help on a semi-soft goal allowed by Holtby, and that ended up being the GWG. They had ample opportunities to push that advantage to the all-important three goal margin but failed to do so, to my lament, and found themselves in a tight position late in the Third Period after a lucky end boards bounce gave Ovechkin a goal into an open side and a McDonagh penalty gave Washington a chance to tie on the PP. The Lightning ultimately pulled through though, thanks in no small part to a much improved PK (now tops in the league) and faceoffs (Tampa Bay won a staggering 65% of the draws on the night).

It was a mixed bag, but more good than bad in that bag. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos managed an anemic 3 SOG between them, and none until the Third Period, while Victor Hedman at times struggled over the course of the evening (although his stat line at +2 did not reflect it). The Lightning's best players can play A LOT better than they did tonight, in my opinion, and yet the Lightning still had fairly convincing win. Why? Their third and fourth lines trashed their counterparts on the Caps. That was a big weakness in the ECF last season and arguably the Lightning's lack of depth may have been what led them to completely wear down and grind to a halt in Game Six and Seven of that series. In tonight's game, Alex Killorn may have triggered the end of days with a hat trick and I thought the Paquette line also spent the bulk of their time on ice inside the Washington zone on the forecheck. In other words, a bunch of the little things you need to go your way at playoff time (PK, faceoffs, lower line play) all flipped to the Lightning's advantage in this game where they weren't in the ECF last year. Small sample size? You betcha. But, there's also two more games against the Caps in the regular season to try and turn this game into a trend.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-14-19 Lightning at Red Wings

Lightning take Wings' souls en route to season sweep.

TB-5
DET-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
2:20 DET Bowey (2), (Ehn, Rasmussen)
10:24 DET Helm (7), (unassisted)(SH)

Second Period
3:43 DET Abdelkader (6),(Glendening)
12:57 TB Stamkos (35), (Miller, Kucherov)(PP)

Third Period
1:46 TB Point (38), (Stamkos, Kucherov)
8:24 Kucherov (34), (Hedman, Point)(PP)
8:50 TB Johnson (25), (Cernak, Palat)
16:38 TB Kucherov (35), (Point)
18:18 DET Rasmussen (8), (Vanek, Zadina)

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

Detroit came into this contest having dropped 14 straight contests against the Lightning. Tampa Bay, conversely, came into this game with a dozen games worth of time to kill before the postseason. So, when Detroit got up 3-0 in the Second Period, somewhat against the run of play, it might've been easy for the Lightning to decide it wasn't worth the effort to mount the comeback. No such luck, Detroit. Five straight goals later the Lightning had once again emotionally gutted their division rivals, completed another season sweep, and extended their streak of victories over the Wings to a hearty 15 games. I laughed. I cried. No, actually, I only laughed. A lot.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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