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NHL Game Night: 12-23-17 Wild at Lightning

Despite looking like a dental procedure, the Lightning head into the holiday break with a big win.

MIN-0
TB-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 22 shots he faced to give all of us the gift of holiday kittens. Enjoy.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
17:18 TB Girardi (2), (Point)
18:10 TB Johnson (9), (Dotchin)
19:07 TB Kucherov (24), (Namestnikov, Girardi)(EN)

Vasilevskiy, Dan Girardi, and Tyler Johnson were the game's three stars. How in the blue hell Brayden Point didn't get a star for hand delivering the GWG is beyond me.

I wouldn't want to have to sit through too many more games like that, but tonight's victory was a positive from the standpoint that it showed the Lightning are capable of winning another style of game. The Lightning had complete control of the contest for the opening ten minutes of the First Period when the penalty bug bit them. The subsequent 50 or so minutes of hockey was an unending cacophony of special teams play as both teams paraded en masse to the penalty box. Did it make the game aesthetically displeasing? Sure. Did it make more than a few fans want to choke the refs? Probably. The good news is the struggling Lightning PK managed to blank six Wild power plays to get well after some disastrous play against the likes of Las Vegas in the last week. And, after a night that sometimes resembled a root canal a la the game against Ottawa when the team also couldn't hit the net to save their lives, Girardi's tap in goal off the excellent feed from Point may have been a floodgates moment that ends that particular malady less than six periods after it began. Good.

Tampa Bay heads into the holiday break with 54 points in 35 games. They need just four points in the next five games to clinch another successful 10-game segment of the season and if they can manage six of the next 10 points they'll be a full segment ahead of minimum pace to make the playoffs. Impressive.

Yanni Gourde had 1 shot in 13:02 and was also 36% on 11 draws.

Jake Dotchin had a helper and was +1 with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 17:11. Big rebound from a subpar Ottawa performance.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 15:20. He was all over the offensive zone like a rash at times.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.