Marchessault, Jonathan

NHL Game Night: 2-9-16 Lightning at Canadiens

Lightning back at a crossroads after horrible road trip.

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MTL-4

Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the loss. It's a bad stat line, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The defensive effort in front of Bishop tonight was putrid.

First Period
5:56 MTL Gallagher (14), (Plekanec)

Second Period
0:40 TB Filppula (7), (Hedman)
6:40 MTL Plekanec (11), (Gallagher, Barberio)
19:52 MTL Smith-Pelly (5), (Subban, Eller)

Third Period
6:17 MTL Plekanec (12), (Galchenyuk, Emelin)
9:03 TB Hedman (5), (Filppula, Callahan)

The effort was better tonight, and with some luck the Lightning might've gotten some points out of the game. They did generate a ton of shots and chances and they did hit three posts. So, this wasn't a total disaster. But, honestly, they got plenty of chances in Ottawa, too. That's not the issue. The issue is you're not seeing the intense focus in all three zones and the attention to detail you saw in the big 11-game stretch the Lightning had. Tonight you had a goal where Nesterov made a poor decision to try to shoot through a guy that led to an odd-man rush and a goal. You saw a faceoff loss eventually lead to a goal. You saw Alex Killorn fall down in defensive coverage and a goal. And then you saw another odd man rush with the trailer getting the goal. It's self-inflicted wounds. It's not applying the same back pressure from the forwards. It's about losing faceoffs. It's about losing your check in the defensive zone. In short, it's about getting preoccupied with offense and the grim reality that when you don't mind the details on defense you have the puck less and you end up scoring less goals anyway. That's what happened tonight, to a degree.

Time to get a little regroup, and head this 2 game losing streak off at the pass. As heavy a lift as it took for the Lightning to get themselves back into the playoff picture, they can't afford to relax and lose focus and blow it so quickly.

Jonathan Marchessault was -1 with 2 hits in 10:45. It's just really hard for him to contribute as a fourth liner with spot power play duty. He doesn't get into the flow any and that makes it hard to produce offense.

Nikita Nesterov was -2 with 1 blocked shot in 16:30. His lone shot attempt was the one that was blocked leading to Montreal's opening goal.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-27-16 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Let loose the kittens!

TOR-0
TB-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 30 shots he faced for the shutout victory. He didn't have much work early, and was kicking some long rebounds out in the First and Second Period, but he got progressively stronger as the game wore on. He positively stood on his head in the Third Period to secure the 2 points for his team. He was much, much better positionally compared to his previous 2-3 outings.

First Period
4:38 TB Stamkos (21), (Stralman, Filppula)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NO SCORING

Vasilevskiy and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and third stars.

The first 15 minutes of this game were an absolutely clinic by the Lightning as they outshot Toronto 16-1 and outscored them 1-0. They could've easily run the Leafs out of the barn from the word jump were it not for a really strong effort by Jonathan Bernier. Things degraded from there for the Lightning, who were less assertive shooting the puck in the Second Period and started looking timid and started short-arming passes in the Third Period because of the physical style Toronto was playing. They allowed Toronto to intimidate them a bit and they were back on their heels a lot of the final frame. Fortunately, Vasilevskiy only needed the one goal.

The Lightning have gotten 16 of a possible 18 points so far in this 10-game segment of the season with 1 more game left to go. A win will put the Lightning at even for the year in the old "12 in 10" model, which prescribes earning 12 points every 10 games to make the playoffs comfortably. Considering 9 games ago the Lightning looked like a longshot to make the postseason, it's a great spot to be in heading into the All-Star Break. The team just needs to hope that any momentum they've gained doesn't dissipate with the time off.

Jonathan Marchessault had 1 shot in 13:35.

Nikita Nesterov had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:09.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-21-16 Blackhawks at Lightning

They're baaaaaaaaack, NHL!

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TB-2

Ben Bishop allowed just 1 goal on 18 shots for the victory. You could probably count the number of good chances CHI had in this game on one hand. It was a defensive masterpiece and Bishop got the benefit of having to face a surprisingly low amount of work tonight.

First Period
0:43 CHI Anisimov (17), (Kane)
7:14 TB Stralman (6), (Hedman, Filppula)

Second Period
16:39 TB Kucherov (20), (Hedman, Killorn)(PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Victor Hedman and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and second stars.

In the battle of the unstoppable force (Chicago's 12-game winning streak) and the immovable object (Tampa Bay's fledgling 6-game winning streak) the unstoppable force found itself thrashed to pieces on the rocks of a complete 60 minute gem by the Lightning. The final score was 2-1, but without the heroics of Cory Crawford (third star) the Lightning could've won this game by about a 4-1 or 5-1 margin pretty easily. They outshot Chicago 33-18 on the night, denying the Blackhawks anything resembling possession and hounding them for every inch of open ice. The league is on notice now: after floundering for the first half of the year the defending Eastern Conference Champions are back, baby, and they might even be better this year. As mentioned in earlier game blogs, if you're an optimist you'll see the silver lining of the first half is that the Lightning have learned to play a far more defensively responsible game out of necessity that, when fused with their offensive firepower of a year ago, could be nearly unstoppable. Heck, the Lightning power play even looked dangerous on 3 of their 4 opportunities tonight and netted the eventual game winning goal. It's like the stars are aligning.

It's all very impressive, but 7 is a fluke and 8 is a streak.

If you're referring back to the 10-game segment mathematics, the win tonight means the Lightning will cut their season-long points pace deficit to not less than 4 points, and they have 3 more games left in this 10-game segment to cut that down even more or eliminate it altogether. And, guess what? The Lightning have cut the Florida Panthers' division lead to 1 point with a head-to-head matchup coming up on Saturday. Delicious. Pending the outcome of tomorrow's game between the Panthers and Blackhawks, the Lightning could have the opportunity to take over the top spot in the Atlantic in their next game and do so at the hands of their downstate little cousins. We sat through ~42 games of lukewarmness... give us this one, please, Lightning.

Jonathan Marchessault had 1 shot in 8:29. He had one really good chance from the slot he nearly got five-hole on Crawford in the First Period. But, in a 1 goal game against the defending Stanley Cup champs, rookies aren't getting a ton of ice time.

Nikita Nesterov played 14:53. He didn't look all that great under physical duress against the Blackhawks forecheck, but he hung in there. And, offensively, he wasn't going for it as much tonight, in my opinion, understanding the situation of the game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-17-16 Panthers at Lightning

5 is a fluke. 6 is a streak.

FLA-1
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Ben Bishop sparkled down the stretch of the game, and ended up allowing just 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory in the duel with Luongo.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
4:21 TB Kucherov (17), (Nesterov, Stralman)
18:30 TB Sustr (2), (Garrison, Filppula)

Third Period
8:06 FLA Bjugstad (8), (Jokinen)
18:36 TB Kucherov (18), (Hedman)(EN)

Nikita Kucherov, Bishop, and Andrej Sustr were the game's three stars.

The Lightning controlled the bulk of this game, and the Panthers were very fortunate just to have a chance to pull the game out late. Tyler Johnson had the kill shot on his stick 2-3 times and just couldn't get it to go, including a rebound chance he chunked off the post that nearly ricocheted in anyway. Ultimately, though, the Lightning probably sealed the game on a marathon PK that saw the Lightning weather nearly the full 2 minutes in their own end and still maintain their positional discipline. It was majestic.

The Lightning advance to 5-0-0 in this 10-game segment of the season, and now have set themselves up with a chance to get on really solid footing for the playoff chase. In fact, with the Florida Panthers coming up on the schedule again in about a week, the team has a really unique opportunity to interject themselves fully into the division title hunt, as nobody in the Atlantic Division has really been all that consistent thus far this year. Edmonton is next on Tuesday, with the opportunity to hit the 12 point mark for this 10-game segment in a perfect 6 games.

Jonathan Marchessault had 2 shots and 1 hit in 8:45. In limited ice time, he looked dangerous offensively.

Nikita Nesterov had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:28. He's terrifying to watch if teams get their forecheck on him in deep, but he's been excellent otherwise and he's been collecting pluses at a big clip lately.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-5-16 Lightning at Flames

The hole gets deeper.

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CGY-3

Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. Can't fault him for the goals (a 2-on-1 and a tip by an unmarked man in front). Can't fault him for the lack of goal support, either.

First Period
3:56 CGY Stajan (4), (Giordano, Brodie)

Second Period
15:30 CGY Jones (8), (Giordano)

Third Period
18:21 TB Stamkos (17), (Stralman, Filppula)
19:02 CGY Bouma (1), (Wideman, Russell)(EN)

They might as well have not gotten off the bus. They came out flat as a pancake, which they compounded with some pretty bad turnovers in the First Period. Calgary gets the early goal on the odd man rush, and from that point on the game never felt within reach. Calgary was too good defensively, and although the Lightning outshot the Flames 31-24, you could probably count the number of real scoring chances they had on one hand. The Lightning had nothing on the rush. Nothing off counters. No odd man rushes. And they were incapable of threading anything threatening through Calgary's defensive zone coverage inside the Flames zone. It was a clinic.

The Lightning finish Segment Four of the season with just 11 points in 10 games. Their overall season deficit climbs 1 point to 6 points overall at approximately the halfway point of the season. It's going to take a Herculean effort by the team in the second half just to make the postseason, and frankly they don't look like they have it in them. To reach 96 points, the Lightning have to play .643 hockey the rest of the way (with the extra 2 games at the end of the year factored in). That's pretty difficult stuff. What that means for the future of Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, and a few others in the organization? Nothing good, I would venture to guess. The frustrating thing is the Lightning probably left 5 points on the ice in this segment between the collapse in Washington, the power play futility against Vancouver, and the poor shift after taking the lead in Toronto. The deficit could be a very manageable 2 points right now. Instead, it's gone up to 6, and the fat lady is already starting to warm up on January 5th.

Jonathan Marchessault had 1 shot and 1 hit in 9:29. He's become sort of a power play specialist for the Lightning in the past couple of weeks, and when you get no power plays, the specialist's effectiveness tends to slide.

Nikita Nesterov had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:45. He also had 4 other shot attempts he couldn't get on net. Calgary's defense climbed into his head with their shot blocking, and he ultimately froze on a great chance late in the game from the slot when he should've shot immediately. Not good.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-2-16 Wild at Lightning

Stayin' alive...

MIN-2
TB-3 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 32 shots before stopping 3 of 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. Andrei didn't have a lot of work early and then really stepped in it on the puckhandling mistake that led to Minnesota's first goal. He looked shaky after that goal but got much, much stronger as the game progressed. And, in the Shootout, there's simply a different vibe with Vasiy in the crease. I'm going to make a bold suggestion to Jon Cooper: make Vasiy your designated SO goaltender from here on out regardless if Bishop is in net for OT. The fact of the matter is Bishop's five hole is a soul-destroying liability in the SO, whereas Vasiy's technique and newness is a big-time strategic advantage. I would use it, because with him in net you may only need to score 1 at the other end to get the second point.

First Period
11:40 TB Filppula (4), (Killorn, Stamkos)
15:39 MIN Coyle (10), (unassisted)

Second Period
1:03 TB Kucherov (14), (Palat, Stralman)

Third Period
17:21 MIN Spurgeon (6), (Coyle, Niederreiter)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
MIN- NONE
TB- Callahan

Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman were the game's first and third stars.

The first 40 minutes of this game were the closest to real Tampa Bay Lightning hockey we've seen all year. Finally at full strength with Palat returning to the lineup and backs squarely against the wall, they dominated the first two frames in all aspects of the game and should've been up 2-0 except for the Vasilevskiy puckhandling gaffe. It's frustrating to me the Lightning had to be this close to standings death to finally display this level of urgency, but at least it finally came out of them tonight. Very key: they HAVE to play with that same level of urgency in Calgary to start their road trip or nothing they did tonight will matter an iota anyway.

The Third Period was a case of a team simply not handling the pressure of a one goal lead well. Paquette started it off by taking a bad tripping call and they were back on their heels almost the entire period thereafter. Vasilevskiy made some dazzling saves and got aided by a video review challenge that went Cooper's way, but in the end they just sagged way too much to possibly preserve that lead and they were lucky not to lose the game in regulation.

3-on-3 OT continues to be a strength for the Lightning, in my opinion. After the jail break of their first couple of 3-on-3's of the season, they've figured out the tactical game of managing possession and wearing down an opponent to free up chances. Hedman could've easily won it with a dazzling move that was only denied by a (lucky) stop by Dubnyk with the paddle of the stick. They had the momentum coming out of OT, and with Vasiy in net, Callahan got the forehand deke stash the team needed to get that crucial second point.

This isn't a slight on Steven Stamkos, but did we learn tonight that Ondrej Palat is the real heart and soul leader of the Tampa Bay Lightning?

So here's where we're at with 1 game left to go in Segment Four of the season nearing the halfway point of the campaign: 11 points in the last 9 games. The next contest against Calgary will be the margin. Win and they have their best segment of the year and cut their overall season deficit to 4 points. Lose and they have their second failed segment and the deficit goes up to 6 points. You don't want to have to play .675 hockey the rest of the way to make the playoffs comfortably. To put it in perspective, .675 hockey is what Dallas has played to stake their club to the best record in the Western Conference in their first 40 games. That's just a bridge too far to expect a team to turn on a light switch and do that the second half of the year. .650 hockey is still a hellacious clip, mind you, but you're not putting yourself in a position where you have to have one of the top two records in your conference just to make it in without sweating bullets. And, quite frankly, at a certain point the team just needs to make the psychological break through where they're doing more than just treading water and they're starting to make a charge in the standings.

Jonathan Marchessault had 3 hits in 9:33. With Drouin heading down to Syracuse, Marchessault's spot on the team seems secure from here on out. He's a good 19 games from graduation from prospect status on the site, but from the looks of it he'll be racing Nesterov the rest of the way to become the next Bolt Prospects Alumni.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-30-15 Rangers at Lightning

Season in serious jeopardy.

NYR-5
TB-2

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 24 shots for the loss. I can't say any of the three goals were necessarily his fault, but you've got to make a situational save in a game like this when you need to get points.

First Period
1:53 NYR Boyle (5), (Yandle, Moore)
16:35 TB Marchessault (6), (Stralman, Kucherov)(PP)

Second Period
0:56 NYR Zuccarello (16), (Miller, Boyle)
19:51 TB Stralman (4), (Filppula, Kucherov)(PP)

Third Period
3:16 NYR Moore (4), (Stalberg)
18:39 NYR Stalberg (4), (unassisted)(EN)
19:27 NYR Nash (12), (Fast)(EN)

Anton Stralman was the game's second star.

You can micromanage the mistakes the Lightning made in this game to surrender each of the three goals they allowed before the empty netters, but what concerns me most is the flat effort level the team has shown the past two games. Other than a 3 minute flurry to start the Third Period, the Lightning looked like zombies in blue uniforms tonight. The passing was improved from the Toronto game, but the whole team almost to a man lacked any zip. The power play gave them a chance by potting two goals despite looking underwhelming, but even strength they just didn't have it tonight.

Now the Lightning have really put themselves up against the ropes as they near the midway point of the season. They need 3 of the next 4 possible points just to avoid making the hole they were already in deeper, based on the 12 points every 10 games model. It's hard for me to feel optimistic for the team if they slip 6-7 points behind pace by the midway mark. That's starting to feel like a bridge too far. Then you're talking about having to play .700 hockey most of the second half of the season, and that's a grueling pace to keep up.

Jonathan Marchessault had a power play goal and was -2 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots. If nothing else, he's become a power play specialist on a team that could use one.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-28-15 Canadiens at Lightning

Another opportunity slips away.

MTL-4
TB-3 (SO)

Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 34 shots before allowing 2 of 3 shooters to convert in the penalty shot session for the SO loss. The 5-hole goal he gave up to Flynn in the SO was abysmal.

First Period
15:58 MTL Plekanec (8), (Subban, Andrighetto)

Second Period
5:40 TB Kucherov (13), (Filppula, Stralman)(PP)
9:57 MTL Galchenyuk (9), (Markov, Petry)

Third Period
13:21 TB Garrison (4), (Killorn)
13:42 TB Callahan (5), (Filppula, Sustr)
14:14 MTL Weise (11), (Desharnais, Pacioretty)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
MTL- Flynn, Pacioretty
TB- Filppula

Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov were the game's second and third stars.

I would call tonight's contest another bizarre and regrettable exercise that the Lightning may live to regret when they're scratching for points in the standings later this year. The First Period was awful. The effort level was unacceptable and the team looked completely flat and unprepared to play a hockey game. They disrespected an opponent on a losing streak and they surrendered an early power play opportunity to them to allow them to build a ton of early momentum. They almost weathered it, but then Nesterov and Johnson got abused by two of Montreal's stars and the Lightning found themselves down 1-0 at the intermission. They probably deserved to be down 1-0 at the intermission, mind you, but it still hurts because they nearly got away with the flat start.

The Second Period was a case study in sheer frustration as the Lightning outshot Montreal 16-8 and outchanced them by an even wider ratio. Unfortunately, Condon was somehow making ten bell saves despite using the unorthodix thrashing around his crease like a dying fish technique. Kucherov was able to tie the game early in the frame on a greasy goal on the PP, but a temporary loss of coverage by Condra (one mistake) allowed Galchenyuk to quickly re-establish Montreal's margin.

The Third Period was one of the sloppiest displays of passing you'll ever see the Lightning put on the ice this season, and for the bulk of the final frame it looked like Montreal would coast to victory. Tampa Bay couldn't hit a break out pass to save their lives and Montreal was more than content to work the play below the Lightning goal line. Then, somehow, Garrison scored a wraparound goal on the rush and 20 seconds later a broken play led to Callahan potting one in an open side, and it looked like the Lightning might snatch victory for the jaws of defeat. Not so fast, as they came out flat the shift after the goal and lost coverage on Weise on a bang-bang goal in tight that was put on the board by replay. Oof. We head to Overtime.

The first half of Overtime was a textbook display of possession by the Lightning. They held onto the puck for nearly all of 2:30 seconds and developed some chances from the slot but couldn't finish. It could've easily been all over in that first half of OT, but the Lightning just couldn't find that moment to bear down and finish. Montreal then managed to surge at the end of OT where the Lightning had to survive some goal mouth scrambles before it headed to the Shootout where the Lightning suffer from a significant handicap.

That handicap: Ben Bishop's 5-hole. The book's out around the league. Galchenyuk nearly scored on Bishop's 5-hole on the Habs' first attempt and Flynn scored a laughably lazy shot through Bishop's 5-hole on the second attempt. It puts the Lightning in a situation where they're spotting opponents 1-2 goals in the SO every time. It's bad.

Like the Vancouver game, a big opportunity to grab points and set themselves up to cut into their overall season deficit goes by the board. Tampa Bay sits at 9 points through 7 games of Segment Four of the season. If they go .500 the rest of the way in the segment, they won't dig the hole any deeper, but the time is running out to slice into that 5 point season deficit and get firmly back in playoff position. That makes this next game against the Rangers, a really tough opponent, doubly huge.

Tyler Johnson was back tonight, along with Brian Boyle, but he looked rusty as a wrecked ocean liner at the bottom of the ocean. That was rough to watch.

Jonathan Marchessault was -2 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 12:53. Johnson's return is going to seriously curtail Marchessault's ice time and role, and I don't know that the Lightning got quality for the trade off tonight, although it is obviously hugely important to knock the rust off Johnson.

Nikita Nesterov was -2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 15:31. He was God awful against the rush tonight. Simply God awful. He was directly responsible for Montreal's opening goal and there were times tonight he looked more like a bullfighter (a really good one!) than a NHL defenseman. All he needed was the red cape. Ole!

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-26-15 Blue Jackets at Lightning

Apocalypse in Tampa.

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TB-5

Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 32 shots for the victory.

First Period
5:34 TB Blunden (2), (Sustr, Condra)
9:44 CBJ Bourque (1), (Jenner, Johansen)

Second Period
3:07 CBJ Hartnell (14), (Wennberg, Prout)
6:21 TB Stamkos (15), (Kucherov, Marchessault)(PP)
6:53 TB Stamkos (16), (Marchessault, Kucherov)(PP)
14:17 TB Nesterov (2), (Callahan, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
4:39 TB Garrison (3), (Blunden)

Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Mike Blunden were the game's three stars.

Let it be noted that Nikita Nesterov brought about the apocalypse at 14:17 of the Second Period. One game removed from a tear stained 1 for 10 effort in defeat against the Vancouver Canucks, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored 3 power play goals in the Second Period tonight to break open a must-win game against Columbus. It also likely turned Tampa Bay into a lake of fire, because I'm pretty sure 3 power play goals by the Lightning is one of the signs of the end of days. Columbus opened the door by getting in severe penalty trouble with back-to-back 5-on-3's and later a major penalty on Scott Hartnell for running Ben Bishop, and lo and behold the Lightning power play actually made them pay for it. Good thing, too, because trailing 2-1 in the Second Period and being outshot by a decent margin, it looked like the Lightning needed the help.

Mind you, as exciting as the Lightning PP showing a pulse tonight was, nothing will beat the thrill of watching Vladislav Namestnikov beat the living daylights out of a man twice his size in Ryan Johansen. People forget Namestnikov had a rep as an instigator in junior, and they tend to sleep on him because of the Russian last name. He'll surprise you with his ability with the fisticuffs though, and he embarrassed the much bigger Johansen tonight.

Mike Angelidis was +1 with 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 7:57. He was also 13% on 8 draws.

Jonathan Marchessault had 2 helpers and was -1 with 2 shots in 15:25. He looked very comfortable running the center point position on the 5-on-3's where he got his two apples.

Nesterov released the 4 Horsemen with his PP goal and had 2 shots and 2 hits in 16:57. Tonight was a night where he started to look like the same Nikita Nesterov who was such a positive story for the Lightning last season, and his goal celebration was flavorful.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-22-15 Canucks at Lightning

Lightning waste an opportunity to climb in the standings.

VAN-2
TB-1

Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 19 shots for the loss. I can't be mad at him. He gave them a chance with 2-3 really important saves in the Second Period.

First Period
15:57 VAN Baertschi (5), (Vrbata, Biega)

Second Period
19:38 TB Marchessault (5), (Kucherov, Stralman)(PP)

Third Period
11:09 VAN D. Sedin (16), (H. Sedin)

Jonathan Marchessault and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and second stars.

First, the Lightning came out with a flat as a pancake First Period that they simply cannot have in the standings situation they're in. They only played energetic hockey for 40 minutes tonight and that just isn't good enough. Second, and most obviously, the power play went 1-for-10. There's the game right there. The first 6 chances on the PP were pretty putrid by the Lightning. They got the goal from Marchessault on the 7th and the 8th and 9th really fed on that and created the chances that the Lightning just couldn't bury, punctuated by one Stamkos crossbar. There's some good tape to study there, though. Marchessault, as a sniper in the slot/RW circle, helps the team develop a pressure point on the strong side of the ice and allows Stamkos to drift to the open area away from the play. That's how the Lightning power play needs to start to work. They can do that with Marchessault in that spot and they can do it with Tyler Johnson in that spot when he returns from injury. So, even though it's small solace right now, there's something to build off of despite how statistically ugly that performance was.

The kick in the pants is this game was a nice opportunity for the Lightning to close out this half of Segment Four of the season in great shape. They already had 6 points through the first 4 games and even 1 point would've put them in good shape to start to cut into their season deficit and get them back into playoff position. It's been a recurring pattern over the last 15 games: they've had their chances to do more than just tread water in the standings, and they just haven't been able to pull that one more win out to start to get their heads up above water. At some point, those chances will run out, though.

The Lightning, at least, will now take the holiday break to hopefully get a handful of their forwards out of the tub and back with the club with a must-win against Columbus coming up on Saturday.

Mike Angelidis had a 5 minute fighting major and 1 hit in 5:56. He was also 50% on 6 draws.

Marchessault had a goal and was -1 with 4 shots and 1 hit in 19:03. He was also 67% on 6 draws. He played really well and displayed his best quality again: he's a pure sniper.

Nikita Nesterov had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:03.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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