Cernak, Erik

NHL Game Night: 12-8-18 Avalanche at Lightning

No mercy.

COL-1
TB-7

Louis Domingue allowed 1 very soft goal on 30 shots for the victory. It didn't matter. This team in playing like a juggernaut.

First Period
3:05 TB Stamkos (11), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
13:15 TB Stamkos (12), (unassisted)
14:14 COL MacKinnon (20), (Landeskog, Rantanen)
16:26 TB Johnson (12), (Point, Girardi(

Second Period
2:00 TB Killorn (6), (Gourde, Stamkos)
7:59 TB Palat (1), (Stamkos, Sergachev)
10:01 TB Cirelli (6), (Coburn)

Third Period
3:29 TB Palat (2), (Johnson, Miller)(PP)

Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. My goodness, just when you thought the Lightning couldn't get any more potent, Ondrej Palat jumps up and scores his first couple of goals of the campaign. Imagine if Palat starts playing vintage Palat 200-foot hockey and contributing regularly.

This year feels different. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to jinx it. Just... this year feels different.

Mathieu Joseph had 3 shots in 15:57. If he starts routinely getting ~15 minutes a night it'll be interesting to see if his production scales up accordingly.

Anthony Cirelli had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:46. He was also 57% on 7 draws.

Erik Cernak had 2 shots and 6 hits in 19:36.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-6-18 Bruins at Lightning

Lightning close out third 10-game segment of the season with a Third Period flourish.

BOS-2
TB-3

Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 35 shots for the win. I think having a little rest by getting the night off against Detroit did him a lot of good. He just looked sharper and more comfortable tonight. Rested and ready.

First Period
2:04 BOS Pastrnak (20), (Cave)
14:59 TB Point (21), (Kucherov, Johnson)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
2:40 TB Joseph (9), (Killorn, Girardi)
4:03 TB Cirelli (5), (unassisted)(SH)
18:15 BOS Krejci (3), (Pastrnak, Backes)

Mathieu Joseph and Domingue were the game's first and second stars.

It was a 50/50 game for 40 minutes, and then the Lightning just flipped the switch and absolutely seemed to take over in the Third Period. The shot totals don't reflect it because of late score effects, but Tampa Bay seemed to just blow the doors off Boston when money time came.

With 30 games in the books the Lightning now have 45 points, meaning they're a stylish 9 points ahead of minimum pace to make the playoffs. That's good stuff as they reset going into the fourth 10-game segment with the task of once again trying to get at least 12 points over this next stretch. 12 in 10, do it again.

Joseph had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:00. Tonight was a big IT game for him and he still only got 13 minutes, which is remarkable when you consider he's flirting with a 20 goal pace on 11-12 minutes of ice time a night. Beautiful finish in tight to slip it through Rask in close quarters tonight.

Anthony Cirelli had a SH goal and was +2 with 1 shot and 1 hit and he was 70% on 10 draws. He absolutely abused Rask on the deke for his shorthander.

Erik Cernak had 1 shot and 4 hits in 20:00 flat.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-4-18 Lightning at Red Wings

Yet another franchise that can't get out of their way against the Lightning no matter what the odds are gets demoralized by Tampa Bay.

TB-6
DET-5 (SO)

Eddie Pasquale allowed 5 goals on 24 shots before stopping 2 of 3 in the Shootout for the win in his first NHL start. I'm on the record as saying I'd have given Connor Ingram this start because he's the legit NHL prospect. I don't think Pasquale did much to make me a liar the way he leaked some soft goals and big rebounds all game, but in the end he stepped it up in the SO and got the victory.

First Period
16:54 DET Nyquist (5), (Larkin)
17:15 DET Nielsen (2), (Athanasiou)

Second Period
5:10 TB Joseph (7), (Callahan)
11:37 TB Joseph (8), (Gourde)
13:33 DET Nielsen (3), (Witkowski)
14:27 TB Stamkos (10), (Callahan)
16:26 DET Nielsen (4), (Athanasiou)

Third Period
4:06 DET Nyquist (6), (Larkin, Abdelkader)
9:50 TB Miller (6), (Sergachev)
14:58 TB Paquette (7), (Joseph)(SH)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Hedman, Kucherov
DET- Nyquist

Mathieu Joseph was the game's second star. Well deserved.

Tampa Bay's on the downside of a back-to-back playing their organization's fourth string goaltender, in essence, and Detroit had a pair of two goal leads in this game. Easiest thing in the world would've been for the Lightning to just get back on the bus. But, the depth and the want-to still overcame all the obstacles and picked up another two points.

Joseph with a cream of the crop stat line: 2 goals, 1 assist, +4, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 12:15. His most impactful NHL game thus far. Made an outstanding individual play on his first goal on a one handed chip over the netminder that had shades of that classic Vincent Lecavalier goal against the Thrashers back in the day. Got a tap in from a foot out after Gourde forced a turnover behind the cage and Joseph had an open net to shoot into. And then he set up the big SH tying goal by Paquette by sucking two defenders to him with his speed and hustle so the puck could squirt to the wide open chance for Dump Truck. Tour de force. He's flirting with a 20 goal pace and he's only playing 11-12 minutes a game.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:57 and he was 50% on 10 draws.

Erik Cernak had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in a personal high 21:55 of ice time. Played well soaking up the extra responsibility tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-3-18 Lightning at Devils

Lightning break New Jersey's will en route to season sweep.

TB-5
NJ-1

Louis Domingue allowed just 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. It was Louis' best performance in a while. He didn't have a ton of work, but when it id come his way he looked far calmer and under control tonight.

First Period
13:31 TB Kucherov (12), (Point, McDonagh)
19:34 TB Point (20), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
8:20 TB Johnson (11), (McDonagh, Kucherov)
11:26 NJ Yakovlev (1), (Vatanen, Noesen)
12:39 TB Gourde (10), (Stamkos, Palat)(PP)

Third Period
0:20 TB Stamkos (9), (Point, Kucherov)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Domingue were the game's three stars.

Feels like if the Lightning played the Devils 100 times they'd win at least 95 of those games. It's just been complete dominance by Tampa Bay since that playoff series a year ago and this year the games simply have not been close. The depth and quality of the Lightning just eclipses the Devils' to such a wide degree.

Tampa Bay, by my count, clinches another successful 10-game segment of the season with two games remaining in the frame to add insurance points to the five they already hold on the campaign.

Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot and 2 hits in 12:41.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 14:14. He was also 40% on 10 draws.

Erik Cernak was +1 with 2 shots, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 18:49. Sure does look like he might run Koekkoek off this roster once Anton Stralman returns.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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