Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning overcome slow start to destroy Bruins.
Ben Bishop allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the victory. He benefited from the fact that, at the other end, Tuukka Rask was pretty darned awful today.
2:59 BOS Krejci (2), (Krug, Bergeron)(PP)
11:02 BOS Eriksson (1), (Krug, Krejci)(PP)
15:42 TB Boyle (1), (Hedman, Namestnikov)
16:51 TB Palat (1), (Johnson, Stralman)(PP)
4:48 TB Boyle (2), (unassisted)
12:20 BOS Eriksson (2), (Krejci, Krug)(PP)
15:17 TB Stamkos (2), (Stralman, Johnson)(PP)
5:38 TB Drouin (1), (Condra, Hedman)
15:58 TB Filppula (1), (Killorn, Brown)
Brian Boyle was the game's first star. Only in Boston could a team get smoked 6-3 and still get 2 out of 3 star selections. Arrogance, thy name is Boston.
Speaking of arrogance, you get the feeling that the Lightning learned so much in last season's playoff run they've gotten to that elite level where they have the confidence to just toy with opponents. Regular season hockey might be child's play to this team, especially given how few roster changes there were to the Lightning. They came out flat and looked like they were going to get run off the ice down 2-0, and then ended up making it look easy as they cruised most of the rest of the way. I don't want to overstate it, because Rask really did allow two soft goals, but this Lightning team looks so much more deep and talented than the rest of the league they don't have to be perfect to kill you. Even better, it really looks like this Lightning team will be even better than last year's because they look like they'll have two elite scoring lines, four balanced lines overall, and a better power play. The latter was 2-for-4 today and you could see it coming on in the last contest.
The obvious nitpick is the penalty kill, which hasn't been sharp thus far this year. 1-for-4 on the PK is not sustainable.
When you play a matinee in Boston, I consider a day where your star player doesn't break his leg and the refs don't make some horribly controversial call against the Lightning a win. Getting two points was just gravy. My only regret was I didn't get to hear the NESN crew shriek in agony that their mighty Bruins (who missed the playoffs last year) could possibly get destroyed at home by the terrible Tampa Bay Lightning (who were Eastern Conference champs). I can hear the excuses from here.
In any event, after improving to 3-0-0, the Lightning have 6 points and are already halfway to the 10-game segment goal. The team is putting itself into good position to possibly build up a nice stock of insurance points right from the word jump, which is great considering some sort of Stanley Cup Final hangover would've been understandable.
Lightning rock solid in their first road game of the season.
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 25 shots for the victory. He didn't have to face nearly the quality of chances he did in the opener against Philly and was solid on the ones he did.
8:14 TB Condra (1), (Hedman, Filppula)
13:55 BUF Deslauriers (1), (Reinhart, Gorges)
19:34 TB Kucherov (1), (Johnson, Stralman)
8:53 TB Stamkos (1), (Callahan)
12:41 TB Brown (1), (Garrison, Coburn)
That's just a top-to-bottom solid effort by the Lightning. I thought Johnson was solid in his own right for Buffalo in net, but after weathering an early push by Buffalo in the First Period the Lightning depth and quality showed up. They got a goal from every single line and after allowing 11 shots in the First Period, they surrendered just 14 the rest of the way. Buffalo should feel fortunate it wasn't worse for them. The Lightning were 0-for-4 on the PP, but were getting the looks they wanted. This could've been a 6-1 or 7-1 win pretty easily, in my opinion.
If I had a nitpick, it would be that the Lightning were only 41% on draws today, and only 38% through the first couple of periods. You can make an argument the Lightning lost the Stanley Cup Final in the faceoff circles after Tyler Johnson broke his wrist, giving Chicago an avenue to artificially generate zone time and scoring chances they weren't otherwise getting in the run of play. That aspect of Tampa Bay's game has to improve over the course of the year.
Entertaining finish to new season's beginning.
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the win. Thought he deserved a star, considering he turned aside two PS attempts including one by Claude Giroux where he got deked badly but deftly lifted Giroux's stick to deny the chance. He made the saves he needed to in order to allow his team to get the win.
1:25 TB Garrison (1), (Callahan, Drouin)
10:14 PHI Read (1), (Laughton, Umberger)(PP)
12:03 PHI B. Schenn (1), (Umberger, Medvedev)(PP)
18:22 TB Callahan (1), (Hedman, Drouin)(PP)
2:17 TB Garrison (2), (Killorn, Filppula)
It was a strange game with a strange feel throughout, and maybe that's to be expected when you raise a banner. I felt like the Lightning were clearly the superior team athletically and on a skill level, but the energy level was uneven and they seemed a little out of sync on their passing and puck handling most of the night. We should be happy they cobbled together two greasy goals to get to the wild OT and win it, the biggest being Callahan's PP goal, which is underrated in importance. The 3-on-3 OT, for what it's worth, is basically QMJHL line rushes, with occasional whistles. Mason made a handful of amazing saves to keep the Flyers alive, countered by one ten bell variety by Bishop, before Garrison tucked home the winner. The whole play was made by Filppula, sans hockey stick, winning a board battle and kicking a breakout pass to Killorn to start the rush. Fantastic play.
For the Lightning, keeping focus and effort is going to be the challenge to start the year. It's psychologically difficult to get fully invested in an 82 game grind again when you finish 2 wins from a championship just a few months prior. It's got to happen, though. They've got to buckle down and get their minimum 12 points every 10 games and get back on the ladder to the playoffs, understanding they can't win the Stanley Cup in October, but they can damned sure lose it if they are flat and fall behind in the standings.
No prospects in the lineup? Really? What sort of witchcraft is this?
God still hates Panthers fans in the preseason, too.
Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the loss. That's what an elite goaltender does. If he gives up 2 in the First Period, he doesn't panic. He puts it on lockdown and gives his team an opportunity to comeback and win the game. I have a feeling Bishop's going to have an even better season this year than last season.
12:47 FLA MacKenzie (1), (Howden, Petrovic)
18:47 FLA Bjugstad (1), (Campbell, Pirri)(PP)
14:34 TB Palat (1), (Boyle, Hedman)
16:12 TB Boyle (1), (Condra, Drouin)
17:58 TB Drouin (1), (Nesterov, Stralman)
The Lightning haven't quite gotten the offense fully clicking, but you see the impressive array of weapons they have up and down the lineup and Drouin looks like he's going to take the league by storm this year. As things continue down the stretch to the regular season, the Lightning proved to themselves tonight they can come back on the road against a world class goaltender in Roberto Luongo. That's a nice psychological edge for the team to have in their back pockets.
Mike Angelidis was -1 with 2 penalty minutes and 5 hits in 9:40.
Nikita Nesterov had a helper and was +2 with 1 shot on goal, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:54. Uncommonly low shot attempt total (1) from the Chelyabinsk Chain Gun tonight.
Lightning start to tighten up in the stretch run to the regular season.
Ben Bishop allowed just 2 goals on 25 shots for the victory. The Lightning seemed to indicate Bishop would get just a couple of games in during the preseason to tune things up. He'll need to carry a heavy load in the first couple of months of the regular season with Vasilevskiy on the shelf, so two is fine with me, and he looked solid in both.
0:33 TB Kucherov (1), (Palat)
15:47 DAL McKenzie (1), (Fiddler, Demers)
16:31 TB Filppula (1), (Killorn, Nesterov)
4:51 DAL Nichushkin (1), (Seguin)
15:28 TB Brown (1), (Drouin, Sustr)
Both teams had most, albeit not all, of the bullets loaded in the gun, so this was a good test for the Lightning and a good result after the strange clunker they had in Johnstown against the Pens (BTW, hey, did you know that night was NBCSN's debut of the movie Slapshot that was filmed in Johnstown?!). It wasn't without a price after Nikita Kucherov exited early with a lower body injury, but assuming that was just precautionary, the Lightning have to feel pretty good about the night. They held the Stars to a reasonable shots and goals total, their bell cow goaltender played well, and they got nicely distributed scoring from 3 of 4 of their apparent regular season lines. Bonus: J.T. Brown is actually starting to finish plays. If he finishes just 1/4 of the A chances he generates with his hustle and speed, I figure that's 15-20 goals right there.
Mike Angelidis was -1 with 5 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and he was 50% on draws in 11:28.
Jonathan Marchessault had 4 shots in 14:07.
Luke Witkowski had 9 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:22.
Nesterov had a helper and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 4 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 24:06, as the Lightning gave him a good, hard look tonight and he responded well. He also had 6 shots that he took that were blocked that didn't make it through on net.
Emery opens the door in the Third Period. Will Gudlevskis step through it.
Ray Emery allowed 6 goals on 26 shots for the loss in his first full game of action in the preseason. The stat line is ugly, especially in the Third Period where he allowed 3 goals on 9 shots. My theory remains the same: I think the Lightning would be thrilled for Kristers Gudlevskis to take the backup job in October and November until Vasilevskiy returns, but they're not going to hand it to him. He has to win it from Emery and right now Emery opened the door to Kristers.
0:42 TB Namestnikov (1), (Nesterov, Drouin)(PP)
4:17 DAL Lindell (1), (Honka, Shore)(PP)
11:09 DAL Seguin (1), (Klingberg, Sharp)
13:24 TB Drouin (1), (Blujus, Marchessault)(PP)
18:21 DAL Sharp (1), (Seguin, Smith)
2:01 TB Koekkoek (1), (Gourde, McGinn)
4:59 DAL Ully (1), (Smith, Goligoski)
6:47 DAL Seguin (2), (Ranford, Johns)
7:18 DAL Ranford (1), (Shore, Lindell)
The result tonight wasn't terribly surprising. This was another case of Dallas playing most of their NHLers against a depleted Lightning lineup that was sitting out its top two lines and best defensemen. Still, it's disappointing to have a game tied 3-3 early in the Third Period and then surrender 3 goals in less that 2 and a half minutes to spoil it. You'll no doubt see cuts en masse now as Syracuse Crunch camp is about to start overseas.
Matt Taormina was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 21:34. He'll likely be packing for Crunch camp now. I don't anticipate a lot of danger that he'll be plucked off waivers.
Slater Koekkoek had a goal and was -1 with 2 shots in 18:37. He's played well. I wouldn't be shocked to see him get an extended look, but I'd guess the nature of Syracuse's overseas camp probably makes it harder to keep him with Tampa Bay.
Brayden Point was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 15:19. He was also 23% on 13 draws. He's just a puppy, age-wise, and I'd expect the Lightning to pull the trigger here soon to send him back for his final season of junior hockey.
Tanner Richard was -1 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 13:55. He was also 36% on 11 draws. Suspect he'll have some family and friends make the trip over from Switzerland to watch him during Crunch camp.
Jonathan Marchessault had a helper and was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 15:30. Maybe a slight chance he'll get plucked off of waivers if the Lightning do indeed choose to make the move right now.
Philippe Paradis was -1 with 5 hits in 11:41. Crunch camp, no doubt.
Luke Witkowski was -1 with 3 blocked shots in 17:16. I believe he's waiver eligible, too, but suspect he'll make it through.
Henri Ikonen was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 13:54. Another likely Crunch camper.
Yanni Gourde had a helper and was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 16:09. Another likely Crunch camper.
Dylan Blujus had a helper and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 20:21. Third on the team in ice time tonight. I've been pretty pleased how he and Dotchin have played along side the more obvious suspects like Koekkoek and DeAngelo. He's another likely Crunch camper, but the Lightning should feel a lot better about their future at that position than they did at this time even a year ago.
Nikita Nesterov had a helper and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 21:19. Just 1 shot on goal? Does Nikki have a cold?
All is right with the world...
Ben Bishop stopped all 18 shots he faced for the win before giving way to Kristers Gudlevskis, who allowed 1 goal on 18 shots the rest of the way. My going theory on the backup job the first two months of the regular season is this: the Lightning would be perfectly comfortable signing Ray Emery, but they'd really prefer to give Gudlevskis the gig. A solid performance like that is very helpful to Gudlevskis' cause.
12:29 TB Kucherov (1), (Peca, Namestnikov)
1:45 TB Condra (1), (Boyle, Erne)
10:59 TB Peca (1), (Callahan, Namestnikov)
12:26 TB Kucherov (2), (Drouin, Stamkos)
9:05 FLA Trocheck (1), (Pirri, Jokinen)(PP)
The Lightning may only be 1-1-1 through 3 games of the preseason, but I think the organization has to be pretty elated with everything so far, on balance. Emery and Gudlevskis have both played pretty well in their half game auditions and Wilcox showed potential. The younger guys you would hope will step up in Tampa Bay this coming season (Drouin, Namestnikov, Brown, etc.) have all played pretty well. Condra's seemingly fitting in seamlessly in that lower line equation. Key performers who will be counted on to step up for Syracuse this year like Peca are playing well and the wave of young defensemen who will probably start making their way to Tampa the second half of the year like Koekkoek, DeAngelo, Blujus, and Dotchin have all been pretty solid. Other than Sustr's performance in the second preseason game, I'd say the Lightning have checked off a lot on their to-do list thus far.
Mike Angelidis had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot and was 40% on 10 draws in 11:46.
Anthony DeAngelo had 2 penalty minutes in 18:26.
Slater Koekkoek was +3 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 18:21. He'll be in Tampa Bay by the playoff stretch of the season at the latest, in my opinion.
Joel Vermin had 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 13:48.
Jake Dotchin was +3 with 2 shots in 18:46.
Peca had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +2 in 14:09. He also had 3 shots and was perfect on the 2 draws he took. It's an interesting question we've had among the Bolt Prospects staff when it comes to Peca: just how good will he be? I think our minimum expectation, based on his body of work at Quinnipiac, is that he'll be an AHL star (call it the Cory Conacher level), but will he go beyond it to become a smallish NHL star (the Tyler Johnson level)? Only time will tell, but he's had a strong start to this season, which is great to see.
Yanni Gourde had 1 hit in 11:43.
Adam Erne had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot in 13:25.
Nikita Nesterov was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 5 shots, and 3 hits in 19:41. Team high in shots. Wish I could inject that gene in one or two other Lightning players every season.
Overmatched Lightning B squad falls on the road.
7:47 NSH Neal (1), (Josi, Fiala)
8:40 NSH Weber (1), (Ribeiro, Wilson)(PP)
16:14 NSH Smith (1), (Josi, Bartley)
4:31 NSH Smith (2), (Wilson, Ribeiro)
6:39 TB Namestnikov (1), (Blunden, Peca)(PP)
10:14 TB Brown (1), (Tambellini)
17:47 NSH Sissons (1), (Arvidsson, Moses)(PP)
I don't want to call this a throw away game, but this was essentially sticking the Palat/Johnson/Kucherov line on a depleted Syracuse Crunch roster and putting them up against darned near all of the Nashville Predators opening night roster. The Preds had about a 4 to 1 experience advantage in the lineup tonight, and it showed in the final score. The good news is the Lightning managed to staunch the bleeding pretty well after it got to 4-0 and got some production from lower line guys like Namestnikov and Brown (good for Tampa Bay) and Blunden, Peca, and Tambellini (good for Syracuse). The only thing that gives me any real pause is Andrej Sustr getting a -3 hung on him, which continues the bleeding from his playoff run of last year.
Tanner Richard had 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 14:56. He was also 60% on draws.
Jonathan Marchessault was -1 with 3 shots and was 50% on draws in 15:07.
Philippe Paradis was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:12.
Luke Witkowski stayed clean in 19:48 of ice time.
Jake Dotchin fought a Predator and had 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:33.
Matthew Peca had a helper and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 15:02. He only took 2 draws and was 0-for-2.
Dominik Masin was -2 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 17:45. I'd imagine he's ticketed for Peterborough come tomorrow, but we'll see.
Daniel Walcott had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 18:23. He's becoming a favorite on the website.
Nikita Nesterov had 2 penalty minutes and 5 shots in 21:05. You never have to ask Nesterov to put pucks on net. He starts shooting from the parking lot.
Strong 55 minutes of hockey marred by late game collapse.
Ray Emery stopped all 10 shots he faced before giving way to Adam Wilcox midway through regulation. Wilcox played well for 25 minutes before eventually allowing 3 goals for the OT loss. He stopped 14 of 17 overall on the night. Emery's performance lays down a strong initial claim to the role of Bishop's backup heading into the regular season with Vasilevskiy shelved the first couple of months of the campaign.
2:58 TB Condra (1), (Angelidis, DeAngelo)
1:01 TB Drouin (1), (Killorn, Hedman)
15:18 NSH Bass (1), (Bourque, Jones)
17:28 NSH Arvidsson (1), (Fiala)
3:50 NSH Ekholm (1), (Forsberg, Ellis)(PP)
Brayden Point was the game's second star.
Unfortunately, the last 9 minutes or so of hockey kind of overshadowed 55 minutes of hockey where the Lightning accomplished most of what they set out to do tonight. They got good performances from the backup goaltenders. They got Drouin on track early in preseason. They got some good performances from the young players, especially the young defensemen. I think the staff will be happy with the night, on balance, but you want to finish it off and get the result, of course.
Anthony DeAngelo had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 21:03. They let their young thoroughbreds out for a good long run tonight.
Mike Angelidis had a helper and was +1 with 1 hit and 3 blocked shots in 11:37. He was also 67% on draws. Productive in his ice time, but that IT was limited because the Lightning know what they have there and the role he's going to be put into. Not a lot of mystery with Angelidis.
Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 1 hit and 5 blocked shots in 18:17.
Point was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 16:03. He was also a very nice 71% on draws. The guy has just gotten universal praise by everyone who has seen him in the last half a year or so.
Joel Vermin had 1 blocked shot in 13:55.
Henri Ikonen had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 11:35.
Mitchell Stephens was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 14:11. It says a lot that they gave him a touch more IT than some of the more established prospects who were in Syracuse last season. They obviously have high hopes for Stephens.
Dylan Blujus had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 19:30. Also hit a crossbar. Nice, well-rounded stat line. Good to see, with a nice chunk of minutes.
Adam Erne was -1 with 3 shots and 2 hits in 14:40. Activity is good. Syracuse fans should be excited to get DeAngelo and Erne into the program this season.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Luke Witkowski to one-year, two-way contracts, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Namestnikov, 22, skated in 43 games with the Lightning during the 2014-15 regular season, posting nine goals and 16 points to go along with 13 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward set career highs for games played, goals, assists (seven) and points (16) during the regular season. Namestnikov scored his first career NHL goal on October 13 against the Montreal Canadiens last season. He appeared in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2015, recording one assist.
The Zhukovskiy, Russia native played in 34 games with the Syracuse Crunch during the 2014-15 season, registering 14 goals and 35 points. Namestnikov represented the Crunch at the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic. He has played in 134 career AHL games, all with Syracuse over the past two seasons, recording 40 goals and 104 points.
Namestnikov was selected by the Lightning in the first round, 27th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.
Witkowski, 25, played in 16 games with the Lightning during the 2014-15 season, recording 15 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound defenseman made his NHL debut on January 20 against the Vancouver Canucks last season. Witkowski landed 37 hits and blocked 20 shots in his 16 games with the Bolts.
The Holland, Michigan native skated in 50 games with the Crunch last season, collecting two goals and eight points to go along with 91 penalty minutes. Witkowski ranked tied for seventh on the Crunch for penalty minutes. He also skated in three Calder Cup Playoff games with Syracuse in 2015, posting one assist and four penalty minutes. Witkowski has appeared in 129 career AHL games, all with the Crunch over the past three seasons, tallying four goals and 20 points to go along with 299 penalty minutes.
Witkowski was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round, 160th overall, at the 2008 NHL Draft.