Lightning (probably) close out 2021 with the league’s top record after casino heist on The Strip.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 41 shots for the victory. It was Oceans 88 for the Lightning tonight.
6:05 TB Fortier (1), (Sergachev)
9:26 LV Stone (5), (Pacioretty, Theodore)(PP)
1:41 LV Stone (6), (Stephenson)
8:10 LV Roy (6), (Theodore, Whitecloud)
17:07 TB Bellemare (3), (Perry, Maroon)
17:50 TB Cirelli (9), (Killorn, Bogosian)
10:13 TB Stamkos (14), (Hedman, Palat)(PP)
The Lightning looked like dead ducks for a good 37 minutes of this game. They didn’t look like they were in a mindset to play this game with the whole league on fire with COVID and their coach going into the protocol two hours before game time. Passes weren’t sharp. They were second to loose pucks. The one on one defending by the rearguards like Hedman was about as bad as I’ve ever seen it. They probably should’ve been run out of the barn but Vasilevskiy kept them within two and then they manufactured a couple of quick goals against the run of play and later the power play winner, and here we are.
Top of the league again heading into what, in all honestly, is probably the last NHL game to be played in 2021. I expect the shutdown to be extended the rest of the month and the next time the Lightning get on the ice I’d expect they’ll get Brayden Point and Erik Cernak back into the fold. They finish the third ten game segment of the season with 44 points, meaning they’ve banked eight surplus points despite the rash of injuries they’ve had to weather. They’re in an enviable position as they wait out this pandemic pause. This omicron intermission.
Taylor Raddysh had two hits in 9:43.
Cal Foote was +1 with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 14:44.
Ross Colton had 2 shots, 6 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:15. He was also 50% on 6 draws.
Gabriel Fortier had his first NHL goal, 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 6:57. I suspect that’s the last we see of him for a while with Point and others returning. I’d like to say he should go back to Syracuse riding some momentum to hopefully help the team and continue his development, but COVID’s been grinding the AHL to a halt even more so than the NHL in the last 2-3 weeks. One of the real casualties of the last 2.5 seasons has been how badly a lot of careers have been set back for lack of ability to get in games to learn and get sharper at all levels of the sport.