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Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 3-26-18 Coyotes at Lightning

Upstart Coyotes humiliate Lightning.

AZ-4
TB-1

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
10:45 AZ Murphy (1), (Martinook, Cousins)
17:22 AZ Chychrun (3), (Panik, Keller)(PP)

Third Period
10:28 AZ Perlini (17), (Strome, Connauton)
14:37 TB Kucherov (38), (Miller, Hedman)(PP)
19:52 AZ Keller (23), (Goligoski)(EN)

The Lightning got outshot 35-20 in their own barn by a young team that had nothing to play for but pride. 35-20? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Yeah, I guess Stamkos out day-to-day hurts the continuity, but c'mon. 35-20?

Now the scene turns to a high-stakes battle for control of the division against Boston on Thursday with the Lightning looking extremely mortal over the past couple of weeks. Put up or shut up time is fast approaching.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots and 2 hits in 7:37.

Anthony Cirelli was 47% on 17 draws in 17:53.

Adam Erne had 1 shot in 3:52.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-24-18 Lightning at Devils

Gritty Devils outlast Lightning.

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NJ-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the loss. I thought he dropped a pretty bad rebound in his crease on the first goal allowed and that ultimately was the margin in this one.

First Period
17:51 NJ Hischier (18), (Butcher, Mueller)

Second Period
10:59 NJ Palmieri (21), (Zacha, Hall)

Third Period
4:22 TB Palat (9), (Sergachev, Point)(PP)

New Jersey played last night so this game, on paper, should've been a schedule loss on paper for them. But they're trying to hang onto playoff position and they played a really high intensity, gritty game that the Lightning didn't match up to for 40 minutes. Between that and the fact Kincaid outplayed Vasilevskiy, the Lightning ended up on the wrong side of this one despite outshooting, outchancing, and outpossessing New Jersey for several stretches, especially in the Third Period.

Anthony Cirelli had 2 shots and 1 hit and was 54% on 13 draws in 14:04.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 9:43.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-22-18 Lightning at Islanders

Eighties night all over again.

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NYI-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 41 shots and still got a win.

First Period
2:09 TB Cirelli (3), (Coburn, Gourde)
2:35 TB Johnson (21), (Kunitz, Sergachev)
10:24 NYI Pulock (8), (Eberle, Tavares)(PP)
14:17 TB Hedman (14), (Point, Palat)

Second Period
2:43 TB Point (28), (Cirelli, McDonagh)(SH)
3:20 NYI Pulock (9), (Beauvillier, Eberle)(PP)
5:15 NYI Lee (37), (Bailey)
8:27 TB Miller (19), (Stamkos, Coburn)
11:22 TB Sergachev (9), (Gourde, Point)(PP)
18:20 TB Miller (20), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
1:35 NYI Lee (38), (Bailey, Tavares)(PP)
3:21 NYI Beauvillier (15), (Eberle)
4:36 NYI Beauvillier (16), (Boychuk, Barzal)

Brayden Point and J.T. Miller were the game's first and third stars.

Some stretches of mental laziness and poor turnovers made this game way closer than it should have been. Cooper's going to be spitting mad. He should be.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:14. He was also 31% on 13 draws.

Adam Erne played 9:45. Had a horrible turnover near his own blueline that led to an Islanders goal. He should feel shame for that one.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 3-18-18 Oilers at Lightning

Tampa Bay gets back to basics.

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Louis Domingue allowed 1 goal 30 shots for the victory. After a puckhandling miscue that gifted Edmonton their first goal, Domingue settled in to have an excellent game. He made a slew of solid situational saves in the First Period and first half of the Second Period that allowed the Lightning the time they needed to eventually build a lead and win the game.

First Period
0:14 EDM Rattie (2), (unassisted)
15:12 TB Hedman (12), (Point)

Second Period
2:24 TB Kucherov (35), (Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
11:34 TB Kucherov (36), (Stamkos, Miller)

Domingue, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

Less than 24 hours after being humbled by a Bruins team that just seemed to be more disciplined and better at the detailed basics of the game, Tampa Bay began its road to redemption and to regain its swag. It wasn't easy after falling behind early on a soft goal on a puckhandling gaffe, and certainly the defense was too loosey goosey in the opening 20-30 minutes of the game overall. But rather than trying to win another 80's style hockey game, the Lightning seemed resolved to win this one the right way and they simply got stronger and stronger in their team game as the contest wore on. They manufactured a goal off a faceoff. They got their power play functional again. The penalty kill actually didn't allow a power play goal. And they potted an insurance goal built on a relentless cycle that made Edmonton wither under the pressure. Yes, it's just Edmonton, but it's something the Lightning needed as a stepping stone as they continue this pre-postseason portion of the schedule.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot and was 56% on 9 draws in 11:41.

Adam Erne played 8:20.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-17-18 Bruins at Lightning

Lightning get a glipse of how tall the mountain is.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss. The Lightning could've used at least one more big situational save to at least give themselves a chance in the game, but there's not a lot of blame you can heap Vasiy's way in this travesty.

First Period
3:07 BOS Pastrnak (28), (Krug, McQuaid)
10:54 BOS Backes (12), (Krug, Marchand)(PP)

Second Period
12:33 BOS Riley Nash (14), (Rick Nash, Krug)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Boston's been arguably the best team in hockey over the past couple of months while the Lightning have been skating by with some bad habits on talent alone. Tonight those chickens came home to roost and the Lightning have to confront a pretty daunting fact: they have a ton to do over the next dozen or so games to get ready for the playoffs or they risk getting bounced hard when they get there. Boston was actually playing without four of their regulars, and then lost David Backes to a leg laceration to boot, and still completely humiliated the Lightning with a clinical victory that highlighted the differences between the two sides.

Boston has a structure, their players understand their roles, and they play that structure and those roles with discipline. They don't shirk their responsibilities. The Lightning coaching staff has a structure, but these players don't always seem to accept their roles and they don't play with discipline. Too many times you see forwards flying the zone and hanging their defensemen out to dry. Too many times you see the resulting turnovers and the Lightning's inability to sort out defensive zone coverage in those moments. They can't win faceoffs. Their penalty kill is a disaster.

People treated the McDonagh acquisition as if it was the panacea. It likely wasn't. People are already making Ondrej Palat's return the new panacea. It won't be either. The only elixir for what we saw tonight was for these players to recommit and buy into the structure and their roles and to begin to play that structure and those roles with greater discipline. It's just that simple, and conversely, just that complex.

Anthony Cirelli had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 10:47. He was also 60% on 5 draws.

Adam Erne had 2 shots, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:27. He was, perhaps, the only silver lining in this otherwise appalling game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-13-18 Senators at Lightning

Lightning come up snake eyes despite Miller's hat trick.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 29 shots for the loss before Peter Budaj came in and allowed 1 goal on 4 shots the rest of the way. Vasilevskiy was just snake bitten and Budaj looked extremely rusty in relief.

First Period
4:19 TB Miller (16), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
7:47 OTT Paajarvi (7), (Pyatt, Pageau)
10:47 OTT Dzingel (20), (Gaborik, Ceci)(PP)
11:24 OTT Pyatt (7), (Ceci, Borowiecki)

Second Period
2:03 TB Miller (17), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
7:18 OTT Gaborik (9), (Dzingel, Burrows)(PP)
13:44 OTT Hoffman (20), (Burgdoerfer, Duchene)
16:26 TB Miller (18), (Stamkos, Hedman)(PP)
18:30 OTT Karlsson (8), (unassisted)

Third Period
3:46 OTT Hoffman (21), (Karlsson, Duchene)
12:44 TB McDonagh (3), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

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

Jon Cooper was decidedly less charitable to his players after the game, citing poor defensive coverage, turnovers, etc., but I'm willing to just accept this was one of those unlucky nights where you get rolled by a string of bad bounces despite putting 46 shots on a team and scoring 4 goals. Flush it. Burn the tape. Get ready for Boston.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 12:43. He was also 33% on 9n draws.

Adam Erne was -1 with 5 penalty minutes, 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:11. He lost his fight pretty decisively when McCormick tied up his arm at the outset of the fight and left Erne pretty vulnerable throughout the bout.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 3-10-18 Canadiens at Lightning

The pre-postseason began today.

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TB-3 (SO)

Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 29 shots before stopping 3 of 4 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. He was very good in this game and, while I don't get a vote in these things, I feel like he's clearly won the backup job in Budaj's absence and deserves to keep it.

First Period
4:10 MTL Lehkonen (6), (Hudon, Reilly)(PP)
13:43 TB Johnson (20), (Sergachev, Gourde)(PP)

Second Period
3:00 MTL Galchenyuk (16), (Hudon)

Third Period
13:43 TB Kucherov (34), (Stamkos, Miller)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
MTL- Drouin
TB- Point, Kucherov

Tyler Johnson and J.T. Miller were the game's first and third stars.

After a week or two of playing with an improvised, standby lineup the Lightning finally got to debut a healthy Ryan McDonagh this afternoon (even in 19:15 of hockey). So, after this game, Tampa Bay now has 13 games to tune up their lineup and get everyone settled into their roles ahead of the playoffs. Call this the pre-postseason. Today's pre-postseason contest featured a little bit of a flat, sleepy start for the Lightning against a shockingly bad on offense Montreal side that continues to struggle to find the back of the net. I don't know if it was planned that way, but if I was going to choose where to debut McDonagh to try to inspire confidence against a run of 80's hockey style scoring fests, this would've been the one to do it in. Overall the defense has been better the past couple of games with room yet to improve. One of the quiet contributors to that, in my opinion, has been the recall of Jake Dotchin from Chateau au Bow Wow. Bottom line: the Ligtning's issues on defense on the right side still exist so they need Dotchin to start playing like he did down the stretch of last season. It makes everything else slot out better for this team, especially if the Lightning (I hope) eventually swap Stralman onto McDonagh's pair in lieu of Dan Girardi who probably shouldn't be playing second pair minutes 5v5 in the playoffs at this stage of his career.

Other things I don't get a vote on: if there's a way for the Lightning to get out from under Killorn's contract to keep J.T. Miller on the team they should find it.

Tampa Bay hits 100 points with 13 games left to go in the campaigns. Many club records are about to go down and go down hard.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:45. He was also 17% on 6 draws.

Adam Erne had 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 3 hits in 9:49. At least one of those hits was of the "bone jarring" variety.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 3-3-18 Flyers at Lightning

Lightning and Flyers tilt the pinball machine.

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TB-7 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 6 goals on 43 shots before stopping both shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the SO win. It was 80's throwback day at Amalie Arena.

First Period
7:08 PHI Patrick (10), (Giroux, Voracek)(PP)
8:16 TB Stamkos (26), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)
14:30 PHI Voracek (14), (Patrick)
18:07 PHI Hagg (3), (Laughton, Provorov)

Second Period
5:57 TB Hedman (10), (Stamkos, Kucherov)
12:47 TB Girardi (4), (Stamkos, Hedman)
16:15 PHI Lehtera (2), (Weal, Filppula)

Third Period
1:06 PHI Provorov (12), (Filppula)
4:23 TB Miller (14), (Gourde, Point)
7:38 TB Stamkos (27), (Kucherov, Killorn)
10:03 TB Hedman (11), (Stamkos)
17:07 PHI Giroux (23), (Couturier, Provorov)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
PHI- NONE
TB- Point, Stamkos

Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman were the game's first and second stars.

No doubt this game shaved years off the coaching staff's collective life, but you have to give credit to this team for at least having the fighting spirit to battle back from a two goal Third Period deficit to eventually grind out a win. If this were post-McDonoagh debut I'd be a lot more upset, but given the team is still playing with a bit of an improvised lineup I'll take the "W" and the entertainment value, and let's keep it moving.

Now sitting on a ripe 94 points, the Lightning are just a win shy of hitting that unofficial 96 point mark that should clinch a postseason appearance. If they can clinch that mark in their next contest that gives them a stylish 15 games to get tuned up for a potential deep playoff run.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 9:24. He was also 29% on 7 draws.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 shot in 9:40.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-1-18 Lightning at Stars

Lightning win another wild one before heading home for a critical stretch at Amalie.

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DAL-4 (OT)

Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the OT win. Honestly should've had a regulation win the Dallas getting the tying goal on a play where Seguin pitchforked Domingue into the net with about 4 seconds left on the clock.

First Period
1:02 TB Point (26), (Miller)
11:05 DAL Seguin (33), (Benn, Radulov)(PP)

Second Period
8:13 DAL Seguin (34), (Klingberg, Lindell)
9:20 TB Cirelli (1), (Hedman, Kunitz)
13:53 TB Killorn (12), (Paquette, Cirelli)
16:08 TB Stamkos (25), (Miller)

Third Period
1:50 DAL Ritchie (5), (Dickinson, Elie)
19:56 DAL Janmark (17), (Seguin, Faksa)

Overtime
4:19 TB Conacher (8), (unassisted)

Cory Conacher was the game's first star after scoring the winning goal coming down the right wing one on one for a backhander where he then batted the rebound out of mid air over Bishop's shoulder while sliding into the boards for the winner. An improbable goal for an improbable pair of opponents.

It was another gritty win for this group playing a makeshift lineup a la two games ago against the Maple Leafs. This one was keyed in large part by the energy and strong play by newcomer J.T. Miller and the NHL debut of young Anthony Cirelli. With the Lightning now on 92 points they move to within a mere four points of that magic 96 point threshold we look at as what you need to clinch a playoff berth.

So, with that said, the Lightning are about to go home for eight straight games at Amalie. My guess is they'll get Kucherov back from being out for two games with an upper body injury and we'll see the Lightning debut of McDonagh. So, this homestand is going to be critical not so much from a standings standpoint, but from the standpoint that the coaching staff has a lot of work to do to figure out the ideal pairings and roles for their newly constituted roster. One thing I loved tonight: they put Miller on the Point line. Miller's an Erik Cole style power winger with speed. Putting him with Point creates space for Brayden, and Point only needs a sliver of daylight to break open a game.

Cirelli's NHL debut featured 1 goal, 1 assist, and a +2 rating on 1 shot and 2 hits in 8:14. He was also 38% on 8 draws. He showed good speed and, above all, very good positioning and awareness for the full 200 feet of the rink. You just see the smart two-way game right away.

Adam Erne was -1 with 1 hit in 13:19. Got caught spectating on Dallas' third goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-28-18 Sabres at Lightning

Lightning sleepwalk to OT stinker.

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TB-1 (OT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the OT loss. Made several acrobatic saves and reflex saves. Didn't allow a great goal on the tying goal where he seemed a little deep in the net and it came from kind of a shallow angle. All in all, he deserved better from the team in front of him, though.

First Period
18:03 TB Conacher (7), (Girardi, Gourde)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
11:47 BUF Rodrigues (6), (Pominville)

Overtime
1:26 BUF Pominville (10), (Ristolainen, O'Reilly)(PP)

Vasilevskiy was the game's third star.

It was kind of a wicked brew of apathy coming off the emotional win over Toronto and the trade deadline going into a game against struggling Buffalo with a makeshift lineup. It had trap game written all over it and Buffalo outplayed the Lightning pretty much the full 60 minutes.

With that said, Buffalo's winner came on a questionable call I couldn't stand. Erne gets called for a check to the head on a play where he did not leave his feet, did not take extra strides, kept his elbows into his body, and struck his opponent with his shoulder through the chest area. They might as well have called that two minutes for hitting too hard, and it led to the OT 4-on-3 that Buffalo converted to complete the upset.

J.T. Miller made his Lightning debut. I'd like to eventually see him get a chance to play on Point's line, but we'll see. Nikita Kucherov was out and new acquisition Ryan McDonagh was out, which contributed to the flat performance.

Adam Erne had 3 shots and 1 hit in 16:35. Had another pretty strong game and just got hosed on the call at the end of the game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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