Peca, Matthew

NHL Game Night: 2-15-18 Red Wings at Lightning

Lightning find the elixir in the form of the downtrodden Wings.

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TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 39 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:55 TB Stamkos (22), (Hedman, Kucherov)
7:05 TB Kucherov (31), (Namestnikov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
18:08 TB Stamkos (23), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
19:29 DET Tatar (15), (Kronwall, Bertuzzi)(PP)

Third Period
1:35 TB Killorn (11), (Kucherov, Point)

Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

That's 11 straight wins against Detroit. Do I love allowing 39 shots in this game? No. Did it matter? Not when the Lightning are playing a team that, by the transitive property, Vinik can now claim he also owns.

With two games remaining in this 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning need just 2 points to hit the magic 12 point mark for the segment. Perhaps more to the point, the unofficial magic number for clinching the playoffs has been winnowed to 15 points with the win. In other words, they could play .313 hockey the rest of the way and still probably make the postseason.

Still, Yzerman needs to get these guys a RHD and centerman who can win some draws.

Matthew Peca had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 8:33 and was 40% on 5 draws.

Adam Erne had 1 hit in 9:10.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-13-18 Lightning at Sabres

Time for a little soul searching.

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BUF-5

Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
6:25 BUF Baptiste (2), (Girgensons)
13:23 TB Gourde (22), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
1:16 BUF Reinhart (12), (O'Reilly, Rodrigues)(PP)
13:19 TB Namestnikov (19), (unassisted)
15:47 BUF Wilson (4), (Nelson, Antipin)

Third Period
3:41 BUF O'Reilly (18), (Okposo, Ristolainen)(PP)
11:36 TB Callahan (3), (Sergachev, Point)
19:52 BUF Reinhart (13), (O'Reilly)(EN)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

As a general rule, it's never as good or as bad as it seems... but losing to an Eichel-less Buffalo Sabres team that simply seemed to want the 2 points more than the Lightning sure does seem pretty bad. The frustrating thing is that the same mistakes keep going uncorrected. The faceoff circles remain a dumpster fire. The penalty kill remains ineffective. Etc. Etc.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in a paltry 6:26.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 1 shot in 11:58. He was also 62% on 13 draws, which was a rare bright spot in that department in this game.

Adam Erne was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:37. Thought he was pretty dangerous and active in this game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-8-18 Canucks at Lightning

Lightning return home and smoke the Canucks yet again.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the victory.

First Period
14:36 TB Kucherov (28), (Killorn, Hedman)

Second Period
1:38 TB Gourde (20), (Johnson, Sergachev)(PP)
13:40 TB Erne (1), (Sustr, Namestnikov)
17:14 TB Stamkos (20), (Johnson, Gourde)

Third Period
6:28 VAN Boeser (26), (Edler, H. Sedin)(PP)
10:55 VAN Baertschi (12), (Horvat, Edler)
16:21 TB Hedman (8), (Stamkos, Kucherov)(PP)

Yanni Gourde, Nikita Kucherov, and Adam Erne were the game's three stars.

The old saying from the boxing world is "Styles make the fight." Sometimes, though, styles create a mismatch and a horribly lopsided fight and that's been the case between Tampa Bay and Vancouver over the past week. The Lightning have disposed of the Canucks pretty effortlessly building 3-0 leads and 4-0 leads, respectively, in the opening 40 minutes of the two games before embarking into the glory of garbage time. Simply put, I don't think Vancouver's team speed, overall, is good enough to handle what the Lightning bring to the table.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 1 shot in 12:02. He also put up an ugly 17% on 12 draws in the circles tonight. He definitely suffered from having Gourde taken off his line.

Erne had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 11:11. Showed good hands finishing off the goal on the one-timer. It's a good start to his callup and he needs to play well and flash early and often with so many other worthy candidates sitting in Syracuse also waiting for their shot.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-5-18 Lightning at Oilers

Long road stretch ends with a thud.

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EDM-6

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss before giving way to Louis Domingue who allowed 2 on 9 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
1:48 EDM McDavid (18), (Strome, Klefbom)(PP)
9:42 TB Killorn (8), (Gourde)
17:24 EDM Draisaitl (13), (Strome, McDavid)(PP)

Second Period
2:33 EDM McDavid (19), (Draisaitl, Benning)
12:59 EDM Pakarinen (1), (Slepyshev, Letestu)

Third Period
1:54 TB Gourde (19), (Johnson)(PP)
6:55 EDM McDavid (20), (unassisted)
13:49 EDM McDavid (21), (Draisaitl, Cammalleri)

If you want to look at this glass half full, you might be able to explain this one away as a bit of a schedule loss. The Lightning were concluding an 8 game road trip and a stretch of 13 out of 16 on the road against a team that poses some unique athletic problems with their speed. That's especially true with young Mr. McDavid with the pace he brings to the game. With all that said, it's inescapable that the Lightning really have been pretty inconsistent over the past month or so and they've had bad habits creep into their game. When you're on the road so much sometimes practice time is scarce and the grind of constant travel leads to lack of focus. The good news is typically the Lightning get a more home-heavy schedule down the stretch of the year, traditionally, and that will allow them to get their game better tuned up for the ride into the postseason. That's good, because their game right now isn't good enough. Too many shots given up, too many chances, and too many odd man rushes surrendered. Improvement is needed for sure.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot and 4 hits in 13:19.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:03. He was also 62% on 21 draws. He's been above water on faceoffs, by my count, in all but one of his games in this callup thus far. Hence the ice time keeps increasing, because they need him out there.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-3-18 Lightning at Canucks

Lightning claim two road points in workmanlike fashion.

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VAN-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 33 shots for the victory. He was his usual outstanding self tonight, putting up the forcefield to allow the Lightning to craft a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes that they ultimately nursed to the finish line.

First Period
1:26 TB Kunitz (8), (Stralman, Kucherov)
5:52 TB Hedman (7), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Second Period
15:47 TB Gourde (18), (Sergachev, Peca)

Third Period
10:00 VAN Vanek (15), (Stecher, Boeser)
14:30 VAN Boeser (25), (Sutter)
16:26 TB Conacher, (unassisted)(PP)(PS)

Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy were the game's second and third stars.

The Lightning did exactly what you want to do in a road game against an inferior opponent: they jumped on them early to get out to the 2-0 lead, built it to 3-0 after 40 minutes with some opportunism and some good goaltending. And, once you've got a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes, that's typically a knockout. As proven again in this game, teams may pull to within a goal in that scenario (the so-called "false hope goal") but they rarely get closer.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 shot on goal in 12:51.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 1 blocked shot in 15:10. With tonight's appearance, his 41st of the season, Dotchin has graduated from prospect status on the website.

Matthew Peca had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 17:53 of big ice time. He was also 65% on 20 draws, too.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-1-18 Lightning at Flames

Lightning bury Flames beneath an avalanche of soft goals.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 46 shots for the victory. He wasn't his sharpest through 40 minutes, although I can't call any of the goals he allowed overly soft. He did seem to get the rust off in the Third Period.

First Period
7:16 CGY Ferland (20), (Backlund, Hamilton)(PP)
13:34 TB Coburn (1), (Sustr, Peca)

Second Period
2:04 TB Killorn (6), (Gourde, Point)(PP)
3:38 CGY Backlund (10), (Tkachuk, Brodie)
5:25 CGY Monahan (23), (Gaudreau, Hamilton)
14:27 CGY Stajan (2), (Hathaway, Brodie)
14:49 TB Peca (2), (Killorn, Stralman)

Third Period
0:12 TB Killorn (7), (Gourde)
5:16 TB Conacher (4), (Peca, Killorn)
6:22 TB Stamkos (19), (Kunitz)
8:26 TB Conacher (5), (Callahan)

Alex Killorn, Matthew Peca, and Cory Conacher were the game's three stars.

I'm going to venture a guess that Jon Cooper will be happy with the result, but he won't like how wide open and wild this game ultimately was. In the end, the Lightning's victory was built on a soft goal surrendered off the rush to Peca at the end of the Second Period that gave them much better position for the comeback going into the final frame and then two absolutely putrid softies from horrible angles to Cory Conacher that ended up being the game winning goal and the last bit of dirt on the Flames' collective graves in this contest. Two summers ago the Flames weren't willing to pay the price Steve Yzerman was commanding for Ben Bishop. Not sure that decision aged well tonight.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:03.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 5 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 15:47.

Matthew Peca had 1 goal, 2 assists and was a gaudy +4 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:29. He was also 43% on 23 draws.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-30-18 Lightning at Jets

Lightning look weary in first game out of the All Star break.

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Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 37 shots for the loss. He did his job tonight and gave his team a chance. The Lightning have to score more than one goal in support of their backup. Just have to.

First Period
19:31 TB Peca (1), (Point, Dotchin)

Second Period
3:30 WPG Laine (23), (Wheeler, Byfuglien)(PP)
8:35 WPG Connor (16), (Wheeler, Myers)

Third Period
14:35 WPG Little (11), (Perreault, Ehlers)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Pretty evenly played First Period with the Lightning maybe getting a shade better scoring chances and getting the late 1-0 lead. However, a 5-on-3 goal for Winnipeg seemed to completely chance the complexion of the game. Winnipeg controlled the balance of the remainder of the game and never really looked back, eventually outshooting Tampa Bay 37-24 in total. Fatigue may have been a component of this, coming off the break and having to fly all the way to Winnipeg, so I'm not ready to sound any alarm bells over this outcome.

The biggest silver lining was, of course, the early return of Victor Hedman to the lineup in 25:00 of action. Knees must be made of rubber bands.

Tampa Bay finishes their first unsuccessful 10-game segment of the year with just 10 points over those 10 games. They subtract 2 from their cache of insurance points and now have 11 insurance points going into the final three segments of the campaign.

Jake Dotchin had a helper, 2 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 18:04.

Peca had a ruthless finish in tight for his goal and was +1 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 13:10. He was also 67% on 12 draws against a very good Jets team in the faceoff circles and got some PK time at a key juncture in the Third Period.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-25-18 Lightning at Flyers

The Lightning's big dogs come to eat in Philly.

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PHI-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 37 shots for the victory. It stinks it's All-Star Break time and he has to perform in that 3-on-3 exhibition, because he's in the zone right now and streaking all of a sudden.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
0:25 TB Point (20), (Johnson)
9:56 TB Gourde (17), (Peca, Girardi)
17:29 TB Callahan (2), (unassisted)(SH)

Third Period
13:18 PHI Konecny (10), (Voracek, Giroux)(PP)
14:05 TB Namestnikov (17), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
17:11 TB Namestnikov (18), (Stamkos, Kucherov)

Vasilevskiy, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars.

After figuring out how to win without Victor Hedman over the past couple of games the Lightning returned to kind of a tried and true formula tonight to get the big road win. Like many times this season, the team absorbed the home sides best punch in the First Period thanks to stellar goaltending by Vasilevskiy. Vasiy holds them in the game, then the skill forwards torment the opposition the remainder of the tilt. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Fun fact: thanks to the 3 game winning streak the Lightning have a chance to clinch a successful 10-game segment of the season with a win in their next game. They have 10 points through the first 9 games of this segment.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 17:12.

Jake Dotchin was a hefty +4 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 20:31.

Matthew Peca had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:28. He was good on the forecheck and dangerous a good swath of the night teaming up with Gourde before Yanni earned a promotion to the second line in the Third Period with Cooper reuniting the top group of Namestnikov, Stamkos, and Kucherov. The biggest stat of the night though was Peca going 87% on 15 draws against the best faceoff team in the league. They won't be able to send him down if he keeps that up.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-23-18 Lightning at Predators

Everything is good, all of a sudden.

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NSH-3 (OT)

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals* on 33 shots for the OT victory. Why the asterisk? Because he got hosed on an uncalled goaltender interference where a Preds forward launched himself into Domingue's shoulder as Subban's shot arrived, turning him around in the net. Despite this injustice, Domingue played well with several ten bell saves in a First Period where the Lightning could've easily allowed 4 or 5 goals were it not for the exploits of the Dominguenator.

First Period
6:24 TB Kunitz (7), (unassisted)
7:28 NSH Ellis (3), (Josi, Sissons)(PP)
9:11 NSH Arvidsson (14), (Aberg, Irwin)
10:48 TB Namestnikov (16), (Stamkos, Kunitz)

Second Period
19:10 NSH Subban (11), (Ekholm, Joahnsen)(PP)*

Third Period
17:48 TB Stamkos (18), (Koekkoek, Kunitz)

Overtime
1:45 TB Gourde (16), (Namestnikov)

Yanni Gourde was the game's first star.

Take away the first 10 minutes of this game, and the Lightning were the better team tonight and they deserved the two points. Even without Hedman, they came into this game against the reigning Western Conference champs and they took two points the hard way, even after the Predators got gifted that bogus lead goal* at the end of the Second Period. After suffering some embarrassing debacles the Lightning have seemingly started to figure out how to compete without their stud number one defenseman and they will be a much stronger team for the experience once he returns.

NFL: "We created this really confusing reception rule that the refs, media, and fans can't possibly comprehend and creates frustration that tarnishes our brand and makes us all look like fools. No one will ever top the ignominy of our rule."

NHL looks at the crease: "Hold my beer."

If the rationale behind allowing that goal really was something to do with the blue paint of the crease, it's a horrible rule and it needs to be rewritten. The goaltender should have the right to come out and challenge the shooter and cut down the angle on a long shot. Domingue established his position and he was leapt into and spun around before the puck arrived. Textbook goaltender interference (heck, probably should've been a 2 minute minor, to boot) and it's unfathomable how that goal was allowed to stand. If that's a goal then it's open season on goaltenders because nothing is interference. Just go hog wild and Darcy Tucker-style start running netminders to your heart's content.

Thankfully, the Lightning overcame.

Slater Koekkoek was +2 with a helper, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in a hefty 18:34 of ice time. It was a quiet 18:34, which is good, right up until Koekkoek swooped into the zone as the late man and made a heck of a long diagonal pass to Stamkos for the big one timer to equalize late in the Third Period. That's what everyone has to be hoping from with Koekkoek: the total package for all 200 feet.

Jake Dotchin had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot in 17:03.

Matthew Peca had 2 hits and was 50% on 10 draws in 13:03.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 1-22-18 Lightning at Blackhawks

Just when they need it the most, Vasiy delivers the kittens.

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CHI-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy snapped out of a little mini-slump with a 40 save shutout victory. Like a giant awaking from a slumber, Vasilevskiy just got stronger and stronger as the game wore on. Look out, he may go on another hot streak now.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
17:14 TB Kunitz (6), (Dotchin, Point)(SH)

Third Period
18:26 TB Gourde (15), (unassisted)

Vasilevskiy and Chris Kunitz were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning rebounded from a couple of debacles with a team win that flowed from the goaltending brilliance of young Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy didn't look completely solid in the First Period but the Lightning PK really picked up the slack with a key kill of a 5-on-3 that invoked and once again validated the old Espo Rule. From the Second Period on it was all Vasilevskiy until Kunitz got a break on an uncalled hand pass that eventually ended up as a shorthanded goal down in the Chicago zone. Gourde pounds home a late insurance goal on a one timer on the back of more Vasilevskiy brilliance and it's a gigantic win for a team that's been limping toward the All Star break.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 21:23. Big minutes. Big Jake is now just 5 games from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Matthew Peca was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:03 and he was also 67% on 6 draws. He won the faceoff on the sequence that led to Gourde's insurance goal and then made a strong play along the wall to pressure the defender to help the puck squirt to Gourde for the one time goal. He showed good speed. Slick hands at times. Good start to this callup.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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