Gourde, Yanni

NHL Game Night: 11-29-17 Lightning at Bruins

Tampa Bay's most putrid effort of the campaign.

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BOS-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the loss. Wasn't his fault. Other than maybe Paquette, there's no one else on the team I can honestly claim played like anything more than hot runny garbage.

First Period
7:27 BOS McAvoy (3), (Pastrnak, Marchand)
17:13 BOS Nash (2), (Heinen, Marchand)

Second Period
5:59 BOS Krug (4), (Spooner, McAvoy)
10:53 TB Sustr (1), (Coburn, Kunitz)

Third Period
2:10 TB Stamkos (11), (Kucherov, Sergachev)(PP)

It's a totally justifiable thing to point out this was Tampa Bay's 4th game in 6 nights as an explanation of why the team didn't seem to really have it's legs. The problem I had tonight is the Lightning seemed to have internalized that excuse and used it as a rationale for a pretty heartless exercise in going through the motions. The first 40 minutes of that game was awful. Shiftless. Lethargic. Unthinking. Unfeeling. Uncaring. And, really, that's a shame because they managed to sleepwalk to a 3-2 decision and may have been able to steal a point or two with an honest effort. And, that would've been a really sweet way to break up the pro-Bruins pep rally that NBCSN decided to throw on their airwaves tonight. Opportunity lost.

Halfway through segment three of the season the Lightning have only secured 4 points in 5 games. That means they'll have to win 4 of their next 5 just to have a successful 10 game segment to not dip into their insurance point stash. The team's struggles seem to have hit right about when Jake Dotchin went on IR, and my goodness did Dan Girardi stink out loud tonight, especially on the eventual GWG. Get well soon, young Jake.

Yanni Gourde had 2 hits in 10:23. I'm going to speculate his ice time got slashed because he's one of the ones who had a subpar effort level tonight.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and 2 penalty minutes with 2 hits in 16:30.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-28-17 Lightning at Sabres

Release the kittens!

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BUF-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy had about as pedestrian a 34 save shutout as you can imagine. Buffalo was largely kept to the perimeter and had very few legit scoring chances all game. Vasiy surely deserved that defensive performance in front of him after having to play Superman against the Caps last time out.

First Period
16:29 TB Sergachev (6), (Johnson, Palat)(PP)

Second Period
12:08 TB Girardi (1), (Namestnikov, Kucherov)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Vasilevskiy, Mikhail Sergachev, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

Kind of a boring game. Both teams played a fairly well structured defensive game so there weren't a ton of chances and certainly a paucity of odd man rushes, too. The Lightning did have the big possession advantage in the First Period that they turned into a power play and the eventual game winner. They also manufactured the insurance goal on a long shot through a tough screen by Stamkos in front. Both goals, really, were nothing flashy. Meat and potatoes shots through traffic that glanced off Buffalo defenders and in.

With all that said, it's a win the Lightning really needed to have. They now have 4 points through 4 games of this 10-game segment of the season, meaning they still need to collect 8 in the last 6 games to have a successful segment. Yes, the team has a ton of insurance points already banked if need be, but you don't want to dip into those. You want to stay on that .600 or better track the rest of the way. Steady does it.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots and 2 hits in 9:42. Looked nice and active again in the First Period. Got nailed to the bench the rest of the way for some reason.

Yanni Gourde had 2 shots and 2 hits in 19:53.

Sergachev had a goal and 1 shot in 12:38.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-25-17 Lightning at Penguins

Lightning fall to schedule, refs, and Pens. Maybe not in that order.

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PIT-5

Petr Budaj allowed 5 goals on 34 shots for the loss. Maybe you can quibble about the 5th goal, but I can't get too mad at the guy when he's facing breakaways and 5-on-3 power plays all night. That said, the past two games illustrate the gap between Budaj and Vasilevskiy pretty vividly.

First Period
14:36 PIT Rust (3), (Jarry)(SH)
18:03 PIT Kessel (10), (Crosby, Hornqvist)(PP)
19:26 PIT Crosby (8), (Kessel, Schultz)(PP)

Second Period
2:22 PIT Kessel (11), (Sheahan)
6:52 TB Palat (7), (Sergachev, Gourde)(PP)

Third Period
4:41 PIT Crosby (9), (Kessel, Schultz)(PP)
13:54 TB Conacher (1), (Killorn, Johnson)

Glass half empty: the Lightning have suddenly lost 3 of their last 4 games and lose back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in this campaign. Offensive chances that were being potted efficiently in the first 20 games of the season are suddenly not going in and the Lightning defense, with Dotchin out at the pairings scrambled, hasn't been good enough to compensate.

Glass half full: this might've been considered a schedule loss from the word "jump". Back-to-back playing against Washington and Pittsburgh, two of the league's best teams, with Budaj slated to go in net? Tough spot. The Lightning actually played better than the score indicates and dominated most of the First Period until they overplayed their hand on the backside of a four minute minor leading to Rust's shorthanded goal. Pittsburgh then got the benefit of... look, everybody knows the Pens get some ridiculously soft calls in their favor and the Pens got gifted a couple of extended 5-on-3 power plays tonight. I'm not going to tell you the Lightning deserved to win this one, although they led in scoring chances for much of the night. What I will tell you is the zebras may have robbed the Lightning of a chance to compete and at least have a chance to steal a road point or two.

Slater Koekkoek had 3 shots in 16:19. I thought he played a pretty strong game supporting the play in the offensive zone and he got some nice IT in garbage time.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:28. Wish he'd get himself more shots.

Mikhail Sergachev had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:17. Like Koekkoek, he was strong in the offensive zone supporting the play and on the power play he plunked his hard wrister off Palat and into the back of the net for an apple.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 11-24-17 Lightning at Capitals

Burn the tape.

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WSH-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for the victory. The players in front of him did a bang up job of wasting an amazing effort that held them in the game and gave them a chance to steal at least a point tonight.

First Period
1:22 TB Namestnikov (10), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
18:38 WSH Ovechkin (15), (Wilson, Backstrom)

Second Period
14:36 WSH Smith-Pelly (3), (Beagle, Orlov)

Third Period
17:52 WSH Beagle (3), (Niskanen)(EN)

Vasilevskiy was the game's second star.

That was 40 minutes of getting outpossessed and outplayed by Washington followed by 20 minutes of frustration as they came close to paying off Vasiy's heroics, but just couldn't find the equalizer. There's plenty of blame to go around tonight, but honestly I'll say this might've been Victor Hedman's worst game in years. His Norris Trophy campaign committee will want to hunt down all copies of tonight's tilt and have them burned.

Slater Koekkoek had 1 hit in 6:52. Blink and you'd miss him.

Yanni Gourde had 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 17:20.

Mikhail Sergachev had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:41.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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