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NHL Game Night: 12-31-17 Lightning at Blue Jackets

Kittens over cannons.

TB-5
CBJ-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout to release the kittens on New Years Eve. Typical Vasilevskiy. Play a great opening frame of the period until the team gets its legs underneath it, and bathe in the waters of sweet goal support the rest of the way.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
1:22 TB Johnson (11), (Point, Sergachev)
4:49 TB Johnson (12), (Point, Sergachev)
7:53 TB Kucherov (25), (Namestnikov)
8:45 TB Conacher (3), (Gourde, Hedman)

Third Period
10:36 TB Stamkos (17), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)

Tyler Johnson, Mikhail Sergachev, and Nikita Kucherov were the game's three stars.

After a few games were the Lightning struggled to get the goals they needed and a very sleepy effort against the Flyers, in a loss, maybe an eruption like we saw tonight in the Second Period was inevitable. The Lightning had another subpar First Period, getting outshot 12-5 and earning the wrath of Coach Cooper before annihilating the Blue Jackets like the Death Star in the middle frame. Buoyed by a couple of early goals by Tyler Johnson, the Lightning ultimately outshot Columbus by a staggering 23-6 margin in that period and the results speak for themselves. After a couple of seasons of seeming regression in his play, Johnson's had a rebirth on the wing for the Lightning this month. The position forces him to simplify his game and use his north-south oriented gifts to their maximum ability.

The victory clinches the Lightning's fourth successful 10-game segment of the season with 12 points earned over eight games. What's more, with two games left in the segment, if the Lightning get just two more points they will be a full segment ahead of playoff pace in their postseason quest, which is somewhat nuts.

Yanni Gourde had a helper and was +2 with 4 shots in 16:35. He was also 55% on 11 draws. Obviously, like the entire team, he showed way more energy than in the Philly game.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 17:32.

Sergachev had a pair of helpers and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 17:57. Fancy stats people will point to 8 shot attempts as proof of his possession dominance tonight. Hence the star.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.