Everytime the Lightning carry a 3 goal lead into the Second Intermission an angel gets its wings.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory. He didn't have a ton of work after the First Period, but he made a handful of key saves over the course of the game to eventually allow the Lightning to stick this one in cruise control.
4:17 ANA Maroon (7), (Rakell, Palmieri)
4:31 TB Stralman (4), (Boyle, Drouin)
5:55 TB Johnson (22), (Palat, Garrison)
18:05 TB Kucherov (22), (Stralman, Palat)
19:39 TB Stamkos (31), (Killorn, Sustr)
Both teams in this contest played a very loose First Period defensively and could've had a handful of goals. Anaheim had a chance to really grab the game by the throat with a two goal lead early when they got a 2-on-0 breakaway, but their failure to convert turned the game into a race to see who could make the adjustments first, defensively. The Lightning, emphatically, took the game by the throat in the middle frame outshooting the Ducks 20-5 and building the three goal lead that allowed them to glide through the last 20 minutes. I find the stress-free lifestyle that affords Lightning fans to be a very good thing.
Steven Stamkos had 6-7 scoring chances in this game and Victor Hedman, although silent offensively, ended up blocking 9 (9!) shots on defense after looking a little iffy on Anaheim's only marker. I'll say it again, when the Lightning's two best non-goalie players play like their best players, everything tends to flow from there.
At the 60 game mark, the Lightning have ended another successful 10-game segment with 78 points, meaning they have 6 insurance points headed into the 7th 10-game segment of the year. 12 in 10 do it again, as we officially move into the stretch run of the season and the final quarter of the regular year. On paper, they should be able to get off to a solid start to the segment as the final two games of the road trip are against opponents in Phoenix and Colorado that don't have the same level of quality as the first three opponents. But, you know, games are played on ice not on paper.
Nikita Nesterov had 1 shot and 3 hits in 16:57. He got caught flat footed on one breakaway allowed to the Ducks, but was otherwise efficient.
Nizhnekamsk 4 vs. Magnitogorsk 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 13/16, 7.31 GAA, .812 sv%
Season totals: 49 GP, 30-10-6, 5 SO, 1.84 GAA, .935 sv%
Vasily Koshechkin was lifted after 3 goals against 4:38 into the Second Period of Magnitka's 4-2 loss to Nizhnekamsk. Ex-Crunch forward Dan Sexton had a helper in the win for Nizhnekamsk.
Mytischi 2 vs. Jokerit 4
Dmitry Korobov, Mytischi, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 44 GP, 1-8-9, E, 51 PIM
Ex-Lightning first rounder Riku Helenius turned aside 40 shots to lead Jokerit to a 4-2 win over Mytischi. Dmitry Korobov played 23:27 in defeat. Ex-Flames second rounder Andrei Taratukhin had a pair of goals in defeat.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4 @ Quebec Remparts 6
W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-1-2, +2, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 4/5 FO, 1 Hit
Season totals: 50 GP, 36-38-74, +23, 89 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM
Adam Erne set a new career high for points in a season with 74 after scoring a goal and an assist on Tuesday night. His previous high was 72, set last season. He has a seven-game point streak and a four-game goal streak. Erne has 19 points in his last 10 games. With the win, Quebec leapfrogged over B-C into fourth on the league table.
Western Hockey League
Moose Jaw Warriors 4 @ Victoria Royals 3
C Brayden Point, MJ: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, *Third Star*
Season totals: 45 GP, 23-37-60, +5, 38 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 36-55-91, -27, 53 PIM
Moose Jaw built an early 3-0 lead then had to scratch and claw for a 4-3 win.
Medicine Hat Tigers 1 @ Calgary Hitmen 4
D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM
Season totals: 45 GP, 5-21-26, +12, 20 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM
Thomas has quietly racked up 10 points in his last 13 games.
Sport 0 vs. HPK 4
Saku Salminen, HPK, DNP
Season totals: 32 GP, 3-4-7, E, 4 PIM
Ex-Preds pick Juuse Saros turned aside all 35 shots he faced in HPK's 4-0 win over Sport. Ex-Sharks 7th rounder had 1 goal and 1 assist in the win.
Lightning PP undermines them again.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss. He kept the game close and gave the Lightning a chance, particularly in the Second Period, but the team had no chance when he couldn't maintain contact by keeping out the third goal.
12:11 TB Nesterov (1), (Palat)
7:04 LA Kopitar (12), (Lewis, McNabb)
3:36 LA Nolan (4), (King, Shore)
13:59 LA Carter (16), (Doughty, King)
19:23 TB Johnson (21), (Kucherov, Hedman)
The Lightning power play, which has been around 12% for the past couple of months, is evidently < 3% on the backside of back-to-back games. < 3%? It's hard to imagine a professional power play that bad (sans, of course, Syracuse's). The power play is so bad right now, it actually generates momentum for the other team. It's inexcusably bad, in fact.
One night after stepping up and starting to take the bull by the horns, Steven Stamkos gets the puck taken off of him high in the offensive zone on the play that ended up transitioning into the Kings' lead goal. I don't mean to unfairly single anyone out, but he's got to be better.
Luke Witkowski was -2 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:25. One night after his best performance of his young NHL career, he got crumpled behind his net in the First Period and subsequently co-donned the goat horns by backing down too much in the face of the rush on the Kings' lead goal.
Nikita Nesterov had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits. It was a mixed bag of good and bad. Overall, you have to praise the assertiveness and whatever mistakes he made were mistakes of commission rather than tentative mistakes.