Lightning enjoy an opening night win that looked a bit like a scrimmage.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 (fluke) goal on 23 shots for the victory.
10:39 TB Palat (1), (Hedman, Stamkos)(PP)
16:18 TB Joseph (1), (Killorn, Cirelli)
17:57 TB Cirelli (1), (Cernak, Killorn)
9:56 TB Stamkos (1), (Point, Hedman)(PP)
6:45 TB Point (1), (Stamkos, Sergachev)
16:36 CHI Strome (1), (Shaw, Boqvist)(PP)
Steven Stamkos, Vasilevskiy, and Mathieu Joseph were the game’s three stars.
Let’s preface everything by outright stating this wasn’t a very fair fight. Young Chicago looked a game opponent for about 10-15 minutes of the First Period while the Lightning shook off the rust and then the Lightning blew their doors off. When the Lightning reached for the next couple of gears, the Blackhawks quickly discovered those were gears they simply do not possess. It’s hard, therefore, to read too much into this one beyond it was good for getting timing and conditioning. I will say that Mathieu Joseph may have earned additional looks on the second line despite plans to activate Tyler Johnson from the taxi squad for that spot the next time out.
Cal Foote had 1 hit and was +2 in 10:59. I saw a player thinking too much and when he was thinking he wasn’t moving his feet and getting himself in optimal position. It was not a glorious debut, but the great thing about coming up with a team like Tampa Bay is you can get that on-the-job training in games you win 5-1 and go +2. Old timers like Corey Sarich didn’t have such luxuries when they broke into the league.
Mitchell Stephens was 55% on 11 draws. Thought he was clearly the best and most influential of the three prospects in the lineup and seems a worthy successor in Cedric Paquette’s old position.
Alexander Volkov had 1 hit in 13:09. I didn’t think he showed quite the burst I would’ve hoped for in open ice nor did he win board battles when there were 50/50 pucks to be had.