NHL Game Night: 4-17-21 Panthers at Lightning

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Better play does not yield a winning result.

FLA-5
TB-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 31 shots for the loss. The team in front of him played far better tonight, but absent another special performance from Vasilevskiy they didn’t get the result this time.

First Period
8:41 FLA Montour (6), (Bennett)
12:31 FLA Hornqvist (14), (Barkov, Gusev)(PP)
13:40 TB Point (18), (Sergachev, Palat)
19:52 FLA Huberdeau (15), (Nutivaara, Bennett)

Second Period
17:34 FLA Vatrano (15), (unassisted)
19:15 TB Cernak (3), (Coleman, Hedman)

Third Period
1:53 TB Joseph (11), (Hedman, Point)
19:10 FLA Duclair (6), (Gudas)(EN)

Brayden Point was the game’s third star.

There’s no moral victories in this sport, but I will say tonight was closer to Lightning hockey than their last outing against Florida. They played a strong First and Third Period and largely weren’t rewarded for their improved play. Ultimately what undid them was there were still too many small errors with overagressive pinches by defensemen or neutral zone turnovers that led to goals going the other way. In many ways, and as much as I hate to say it, these bad habits look a lot like the team from two years ago that flamed out against Columbus in the first round. They need to clean the mistakes up, and one thing that would help would be Jon Cooper finally breaking down and admitting to himself that Tyler Johnson is no longer an automatic to dress every night. Tonight was the third or fourth soul destroying goal he’s been at the center of in the last two or three weeks. At some point there’s got to be consequences. That Huberdeau goal to close the First Period was an absolute back breaker.

Alex Barre-Boulet was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 16:20. Had some good looks on the power play.

Ross Colton had 3 shots and 1 hit in 12:51. Also 50% on 6 draws. He didn’t find the scoresheet tonight, but he looked dangerous.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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