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NHL Preseason Game Day: 9-24-17 Panthers at Lightning

Peca makes his case.

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Petr Budaj allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the loss.

First Period
5:39 FLA McGinn, (McCoshen, Bjugstad)

Second Period
14:30 TB Volkov, (Peca, Killorn)
15:02 FLA Dadonov, (Huburdeau, Barkov)

Third Period
4:34 FLA Vrbata, (Hawrlyuk, Malgin)(PP)
12:44 TB Volkov. (Killorn, Peca)
18:55 FLA Huburdeau, (Petrovic)(EN)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Tonight's lineup looked to be a little closer to Tampa Bay's first choice defense playing with a more Syracuse-flavored forward corps.

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in 17:05.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 blocked shots in 17:14.

Brett Howden was 56% on 9 draws in 15:52.

Ben Thomas was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 17:44.

Matthew Peca had 2 helpers and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot and he was 30% on 10 draws. Peca's had a solid camp and preseason with his play in all three zones and seems to be making a serious challenge to make the big league squad.

Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot in 11:30.

Anthony Cirelli was -3 and 54% on 13 draws in 16:03.

Adam Erne was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 16:37.

Alexander Volkov had a pair of goals and 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:25. He's played well throughout camp and the preseason. His first goal was a wraparound which might've been a bit of a soft goal gift that Florida's netminder should've gotten to. His second goal was pretty much a tap in driving to the net on a nice backhand feed by Killorn. He'll be an interesting player to watch in Syracuse this season.

Mikhail Sergachev was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 23:46. The ice time doesn't lie. The Lightning have big league plans for young Sergachev.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-22-17 Predators at Lightning

First string Lightning (closer to, at least) dismantle Preds.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 30 shots for the victory. He looked pretty locked in staring down multiple breakaways and keeping a clean sheet until a garbage goal late in the Third Period spoiled his shutout bid.

First Period
0:33 TB Hedman, (Stamkos, Kucherov)
15:37 TB Kucherov, (Stamkos, Palat)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
3:26 TB Gourde, (Callahan, Killorn)
14:05 NSH Watson, (Petterson, Girard)

Vasilevskiy, Steven Stamkos, and Matthew Peca were the game's three stars.

Playing against a B-team Nashville roster, I'm not going to celebrate this game too heartily, but I think it had the fingerprints of a lot of the things I feel give the Lightning the potential to have a very good season this year. Vasilevskiy's going to have a monster year, in my opinion, now that he enters as the clear number one netminder. Hedman and Kucherov continue to grow as team leaders as they did late in the last campaign. Steven Stamkos looks good in his return from injury and I like the initial form of the top two lines in appears Jon Cooper is forming. The only thing this game was missing was a scoring outburst by Brayden Point, but I expect that'll come in time, too. Long story short: I'm probably more bullish on the Lightning's outlook going into this season than a lot of my Bolt Prospects colleagues and tonight's performance added a little touch of validation to that opinion (as much as a preseason win can, I suppose).

Mathieu Joseph was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 11:33.

Dennis Yan was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 8:02.

Ben Thomas had 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 3 hits in 20:55.

Peca was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 13:15. He was also a gaudy 90% on 10 draws.

Matthew Spencer had 1 shot in 18:06.

Daniel Walcott had 4 hits in 14:13.

Erik Cernak was +1 with 3 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:16. He's shown well in camp and his exhibition game performances and appears to be moving up the organizational depth chart at right D.

Mikhail Sergachev had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 20:03. Eat those minutes young fella. Eat those minutes.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-20-17 Lightning at Hurricanes

Junior Lightning strike back in Carolina.

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Petr Budaj allowed 2 goals on 20 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Michael Leighton who allowed 1 goal on 12 shots the rest of the way for the back door win.

First Period
6:33 TB Erne, (Brown, Dumont)
12:37 CAR Wallmark, (Lindholm, Necas)(PP)

Second Period
2:29 TB McGinn, (Stephens)
4:28 TB Sergachev, (Point, Conacher)
9:25 CAR Ryan, (Miller, Hanifin)

Third Period
12:02 TB Katchouk, (Cirelli, Howden)
18:24 CAR Aho, (Skinner, Linholm)(PP)

Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars. Nice to see a younger Lightning lineup pull out a game on the road against a Carolina lineup that included more of their first choice players in front of their home crowd. These back-to-back games, if anything, have helped confirm the quality of the Lightning's prospects as many of these players move into their seasons in the junior and minor league ranks.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 19:01.

Boris Katchouk had the GWG and was +1 with 1 shot in 12:52.

Libor Hajek had 1 shot in 17:47.

Brett Howden had a helper and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 12:19. He was also 38% on 8 draws.

Cal Foote was -1 with 1 shot and 5 blocked shots in 18:36.

Matthew Peca had 2 shots and 1 hit in 17:28. He was also 43% on 7 draws.

Mitchell Stephens had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 11:10.

Cirelli had a helper and was +1 with 9 penalty minutes, 4 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:01. He was also 17% on 6 draws. His penalty minutes game for a brawl started after boarding a Hurricanes opponent.

Adam Erne notched his second of the preseason and was +1 with 3 shots, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:54. It will be tough, waiver eligibility being a concern, for Erne to make the Lightning out of camp. That said, I feel he gives the team a dimension it lacks as a creative power forward and from a pure hockey standpoint, he'd be on my first choice 23-man roster.

Erik Cernak was +3 with 2 shots, 7 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 20:27. The stay-at-homer's dream box score.

Sergachev had a goal and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 22:16. I'm not shocked. He's the real thing. I don't believe a 30+ point season is a reasonable expectation for Sergachev as a rookie, if he makes the squad, but I do believe he can be a solid minutes eater in his premiere campaign if the team keeps him in Tampa Bay.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-19-17 Hurricanes at Lightning

Junior Lightning nearly pull off comeback against Canes.

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Michael Leighton allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the loss. The veteran netminder will enter the season the number one for AHL Syracuse.

First Period
3:46 CAR Williams (1), (Carrick, Teravainen)(PP)

Second Period
4:03 CAR Taravainen (1), (Rask, Carrick)(PP)

Third Period
TB Erne (1), (Peca, Conacher)(PP)

Alexei Lipanov was the game's third star.

It was a choppy game with the flow marred by a lot of penalties, compounded by the discontinuity of two rosters dotted with a lot of youth getting a quick look before guys get returned to junior.

Lipanov was scoreless in 15:42 with 2 shots and was 50% on 4 draws.

Boris Katchouk had 2 penalty minutes, 4 shots, and 2 hits in 13:11.

Libor Hajek had 3 shots, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 19:57.

Taylor Raddysh had 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 13:52.

Cal Foote had 3 shots and 2 blocked shots in 21:56.

Matthew Peca had a helper and 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and he was 25% on 12 draws in 17:10. He had a nice setup to Erne for the Lightning's lone goal (that counted) on the evening.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot and was 67% on 3 draws in 15:06.

Adam Erne had a goal, 1 shot, and 3 hits in 12:05.

Daniel Walcott had 3 shots and 3 hits in 13:07.

Oleg Sosunov played 16:37.

Alexander Volkov had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 3 hits, and was 60% on 5 draws in 16:38. He had the potential game tying goal waved off for goaltender interference late in the final frame.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Ondrej Palat Re-Signs with Lightning for 5 Years

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract worth $5.3-million AAV, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Palat, 26, skated in 75 games with the Lightning during the 2016-17 season, posting 17 goals and 52 points to go along with 39 penalty minutes. The Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic native ranked third on the Lightning for assists (35) and plus/minus (+8), fourth for points and tied for fourth for power-play goals with five. Palat’s 19:07 average time on ice last season ranked second among all Lightning forwards.

The 6-foot, 188-pound forward has appeared in 307 career NHL games, all with the Lightning over the past five seasons, collecting 74 goals and 218 points to go along with 103 penalty minutes. Palat has also appeared in 46 Stanley Cup Playoff games, registering 14 goals and 29 points. During the Lightning’s 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff run, Palat recorded eight goals and 16 points in 26 games, as the Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

During his rookie season in 2013-14, Palat posted 23 goals and 59 points, and was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Palat has also represented his native Czech Republic numerous times in international play, including the 2016 World Cup and 2014 Winter Olympics. He was a member of the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League when they won the Calder Cup in 2012.

Palat was originally drafted by the Bolts in the seventh round, 208th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

Lightning Ink Johnson to Long Term Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Tyler Johnson a seven-year contract worth $5-million AAV, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Johnson, 26, skated in 66 games with the Lightning during the 2016-17 season, recording 19 goals and 45 points to go along with 28 penalty minutes. He ranked tied for third on the Lightning for goals and fifth for points. Johnson also ranked third on the Bolts for power-play goals with six and was tied for fifth with three game-winning tallies. Johnson’s 18:49 average time on ice last season ranked third among all Lightning forwards. He also led the Lightning for face-off wins (583) and face-offs taken (1,122).

The Spokane, Washington native has appeared in 308 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay over the past five seasons, collecting 89 goals and 211 points to go along with 102 penalty minutes. Johnson has also appeared in 47 career NHL postseason games, registering 21 goals and 42 points. He led all skaters during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs for goals (13) and was tied for first with Patrick Kane for points with 23 points, as the Lightning made their franchise’s second Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Johnson was named to the NHL All-Star Game for the first time in his career during the 2014-15 season, but missed the game due to injury. He was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. Johnson posted 24 goals and 50 points in 82 games during his first full season in the NHL. He was also a member of the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League when they won the Calder Cup in 2012. Johnson was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2012-13 season, as well as being named to the AHL’s 2012-13 First All-Star Team.

Johnson was originally signed as a free agent by the Lightning on March 7, 2011.

Tampa Bay Extends Jake Dotchin on Two-Year Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Jake Dotchin to a two-year, one-way contract worth an AAV of $812,500, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Dotchin, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, made his NHL debut with the Lightning on January 21 at the Arizona Coyotes last season. He recorded 11 assists with a plus-10 rating in his first NHL campaign. Dotchin was second on the team for plus-minus (Kucherov, plus-13), and ranked fourth among Bolts blue-liners in average ice time with 18:25 per contest.

The Cambridge, Ontario native skated in 35 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League prior to joining the Lightning, recording four goals and 13 points. He returned to the Crunch for the post-season and played in 19 games in helping Syracuse to the Calder Cup Finals. He recorded six assists and was a plus-8 during the playoffs.

Dotchin has played in 157 career AHL contests, all with the Crunch since 2014, recording 11 goals and 44 points, including six power-play goals. He has played in 22 Calder Cup Playoff games, in 2017 and in 2015.

The 23-year-old was drafted by Tampa Bay in the sixth round, 161st overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Bolts Re-sign F Matthew Peca to One-Year, Two-Way Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Matthew Peca to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Peca, 24, played in 10 games with the Lightning last season, recording one goal and two points to go along with two penalty minutes. The Petawawa, Ontario native made his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens on December 28, 2016. He notched his first career NHL point with an assist on December 31 against the Carolina Hurricanes and then scored his first career NHL goal the next game on January 3 versus the Winnipeg Jets.

The 5-foot-9, 178-pound forward also appeared in 68 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, posting 12 goals and 41 points to go along with 14 penalty minutes. Peca ranked tied for third on the Crunch for power-play goals with five, fourth for assists with 29 and sixth for points. He has skated in 141 career AHL games, all with the Crunch over the past three seasons, posting 21 goals and 88 points. Peca also skated in 22 Calder Cup Playoff games in 2017, registering four goals and 14 points, helping Syracuse to the final.

Peca was originally drafted by the Lightning in the seventh round, 201st overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft

Lightning Give Slater Koekkoek One-Year Extension

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000 today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Koekkoek, 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, played in 29 games with the Lightning in 2016-17, recording four assists. He also skated in 48 contests with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, notching two goals and 13 points. Koekkoek also appeared in 22 Calder Cup Playoff games and registered a goal with seven points as the Crunch reached the finals.

The Winchester, Ontario native has played in 41 career NHL games, all with Tampa Bay, and recorded five assists. He has also skated in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games and dished out one assist in those contests. Koekkoek has played in 180 career AHL games, all with the Crunch, recording 12 goals and 54 points. He has appeared in 25 career Calder Cup Playoff games and registered a goal and eight points.

Koekkoek, 23, was drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Bolts Sign Vet Winger Chris Kunitz to One-Year Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent left wing Chris Kunitz to a one-year contract worth $2 million, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Kunitz, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, has played in 884 career NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers and Anaheim Ducks, recording 250 goals and 580 points with a plus-183 rating. He won his first Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007 before going on to win three more with Pittsburgh in 2009, 2016 and 2017. Kunitz was also named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team in 2013.

The 6-foot, 195-pound forward has played in 161 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, making him the Lightning’s most experienced playoff performer (Girardi, 122). Kunitz has recorded 27 career postseason goals and 92 points. He has skated in 77 Stanley Cup Playoff games in the previous five seasons.

Kunitz played in 71 games with the Penguins last season, notching nine goals and 29 points. He ranked second on Pittsburgh for hits with 216 while averaging 15:30 in ice time per game. Kuntiz appeared in 20 playoff games, registering two goals and 11 points. He netted the winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators to send the Penguins to their second consecutive Cup Final.

The 14-season veteran was undrafted out of Ferris State University.

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