Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

NHL Game Night: 2-26-18 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Before the new acquisitions come, Tampa Bay plays a wild one for the fun of it.

TOR-3
TB-4 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 30 shots before stopping all 3 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. Stopped a Third Period penalty shot. Stopped an OT breakaway. Was a one man kill on a Second Period 5-on-3 PK. No complaints here.

First Period
1:41 TB Kunitz (11), (Sustr, Stamkos)
8:49 TOR Van Riemsdyk (26), (Hainsey, Rielly)
9:52 TOR Marner (17), (Gardiner, Zaitsev)

Second Period
3:52 TB Johnson (18), (Gourde)
15:18 TB Erne (2), (unassisted)

Third Period
5:27 TOR Bozak (10), (Marner, Rielly)(PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- NONE
TB- Point

Yanni Gourde and Adam Erne were the game's first and third stars.

Fun game. Wild game. The Lightning entered the game without the services of the departed Vlad Namestnikov with new acquisitions McDonagh and Miller still en route. Toronto was without the services of Austen Matthews, which was quickly balanced by the departure of Nikita Kucherov with an upper body injury. So, the script got thrown out early and this just ended up being a fast, physical, intense hockey game. Lots of goalmouth thrills. Lots of near misses. Some intrigue when Tyler Johnson left the game taking a refs skate to his leg, dropping Tampa Bay to just 9 forwards at one point. Crazy. Ultimately Vasilevskiy was the difference, with an assist to the all-powerful Espo Rule.

Brayden Point is pure filth in the shootout.

By my math, the Lightning need just about 7 points more to punch their ticket for the postseason.

Now we move into the final 19 games of the year with the Lightning coaching staff having the considerable challenge of integrating McDonagh and Miller into the squad. The Lightning came into the trade deadline needing a faceoff man, a right handed D, and some PK help. You could argue they've addressed all three to varying degrees, but it's going to fall on Bowness, in particular, to make some oddly fitting pieces all work. I think, most obviously, the Lightning PK will be way better following these deals and soon they'll get Ondrej Palat too, which will also help. That's the most obvious hole that got filled today. The RHD spot is a little more iffy. The Lightning have a very solid #1 and #2 LHD situation, and I suspect with Hedman as the clear top pair guy, McDonagh can get his time trimmed down from the 23-24 minutes he was playing in New York to more reasonable levels in the regular season that'll keep him fresher and healthier. Problem is, the only RHD they have you can absolutely trust is Stralman. The coaching staff will surely also tell you Girardi, as a well-seasoned vet, is dependable, but I would tell you only on well-managed levels of ice time. So I'll just throw this out there: time to move Sergachev to RHD and have him play his off hand. It's not an odd thing for European players, and particularly Russians, to do. It makes for better passing and shooting angles for an offensive-minded d-man. I think it's worth an experiment. Whatever the Lightning choose to do, with Hedman and McDonagh in the fold they now can be assured of having a #1 caliber d-man on the rink 45-50 minutes out of every 60 minute game. That doesn't stink. Last, faceoffs. Welp, here's where the fix is probably the shakiest. Miller is 54% on draws this year, which is nice, but he's just 49% for his career. It might be an addition by subtraction situation, though, because Namestnikov might well have been the worst faceoff man the Lightning had.

The loss of Howden and Hajek in the deal isn't insignificant, but it's also not a death knell for the Lightning prospect system. They have excellent centermen like Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Cirelli performing well in Syracuse and with Dominik Masin quietly having a whale of a season for the Crunch, the situation at LHD still looks good, too.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 shots in 7:49.

Erne had a goal and was +2 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 14:57. He played a heck of a game on a strong forechecking line with Gourde and Johnson. Very strong on the puck and on the cycle.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Bolts Acquire Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers in exchange for Lightning forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Brett Howden, defenseman Libor Hajek, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2019 second-round draft pick, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

McDonagh, 28, has skated in 49 games with the Rangers this season, posting two goals and 26 points to go along with 20 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound defenseman leads the team for average time on ice (23:55) and became team captain of the Rangers after Ryan Callahan was traded to Tampa Bay. McDonagh paces all Rangers defensemen for assists (24) and points. The St. Paul, Minnesota native has appeared in 516 career NHL games, all with New York over the past eight seasons, recording 51 goals and 238 points.

McDonagh was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the first-round, 12th overall, at the 2007 NHL Draft.

Miller, 24, has played in 63 games with the Rangers this season, collecting 13 goals and 40 points to go along with 28 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound forward ranks second on New York for assists (27) and points. Six of Miller’s 13 goals have come on the man-advantage which ranks second on the Rangers in that category. The East Palestine, Ohio native paces the Rangers with four game-winning goals. Miller has appeared in 341 career NHL games, all with New York over the last six seasons, notching 72 goals and 172 points.

Miller was originally drafted by the Rangers in the first-round, 15th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

NHL Game Night: 2-24-18 Lightning at Canadiens

Lightning grind out one more road win before the trade deadline.

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MTL-3 (SO)

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals 32 shots before blanking all three shooters in the penalty shot session including a rolling, behind the back arm save on the finale to secure the SO win.

First Period
8:52 MTL Froese (2), (Benn, Carr)
12:07 TB Point (25), (Killorn)

Second Period
7:32 TB Kucherov (33), (Hedman, Johnson)(PP)
8:50 MTL Morrow (5), (Hudon, Pacioretty)
16:29 MTL Pacioretty (17), (Petry, Drouin)(PP)

Third Period
2:11 TB Callahan (4), (Kucherov, Stamkos)(PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Point
MTL- NONE

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov were the game's first and second stars.

What we might consider the dog days of the season just came to an end with the Lightning, unofficially, just a scant nine points away from the minimum number of points we might reasonably assume they need to make the postseason. It's a great spot to be in as the Lightning now prepare for a critical ~48 hours heading into the trade deadline trying to find the couple of pieces that might put this team over the top. After a blistering start the Lightning have maintained a solid but unspectacular points pace of around .600 over the past 20-25 games. Understandable, given the grind of an 82 game season. But, once Steve Yzerman completes the final tune up to the roster, these last 20 games of the regular season will represent a considerable raising of the stakes as the players and coaching staff will prepare for the gauntlet of the postseason with expectations running high and the chance for immortal glory on the line.

Adam Erne was -2 with 3 hits in 5:38.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-22-18 Lightning at Senators

We can neither confirm nor deny the Lightning abducted Erik Karlsson after the game.

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OTT-3

Louis Domingue allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory. Should've been 2 on 36, but a charity decision by Toronto reversed a goaltender interference call that originally waved off the first goal allowed in the Third Period.

First Period
9:31 TB Johnson (17), (Kunitz, Gourde)
14:54 OTT Dzingel (16), (Stone, Brassard)
16:26 TB Hedman (9), (Kucherov, Namestnikov)

Second Period
3:37 TB Namestnikov (20), (Kucherov, Stamkos)
19:59 TB Point (24), (Gourde, Killorn)

Third Period
8:11 OTT Borowiecke (Ryan, Ceci)
17:44 OTT Brassard (18), (Stone, Karlsson)(PP)

Vladislav Namestnikov and Yanni Gourde were the game's first and second stars.

Kind of a common game for the pre-deadline dog days of this season for the Lightning: built a 3 goal lead through 40 minutes and then sleepwalk through a lackluster garbage time before eventually snagging the two points. The Lightning keep doing just what they need to do in very workmanlike fashion. Very few of these games look like Picassos, but I'm not expecting any more masterpieces until maybe midway through March when the roster will be different and the team is tuning up for the postseason.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 7:49.

Adam Erne is -1 with 2 shots and 3 hits in 7:44.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-20-18 Lightning at Capitals

Lightning jump on Caps early to seal successful segment six.

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WSH-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 37 shots for the victory. The Lightning got him the lead through 20 minutes, and then he had to be occasionally brilliant the rest of the way to get it over the finish line as the team was outshot 29-11 the rest of the way.

First Period
2:30 TB Point (22), (Callahan, Gourde)(PP)
16:00 TB Kunitz (10), (Sustr, Callahan)
17:52 TB Point (23), (Stralman)

Second Period
9:32 WSH Eller (12), (Orlov, Connolly)(PP)

Third Period
11:02 WSH Ovechkin (36), (Niskanen)
12:58 TB Kucherov (32), (Coburn)

Brayden Point and Ryan Callahan were the game's first and second stars.

It was almost a perfect road game really, in the respect that the Lightning jumped all over the Caps from the opening puck drop and staked themselves to the quick 3-0 lead. Ideally they would've held that 3 goal advantage through 40 minutes to make it easy on themselves, but they couldn't quite make that work as the final two frames were essentially a score effects-fest with the Caps chasing the game pretty hard. You depend on your best players to get the put away goal in that scenario, and Kucherov did just that with his no-move move against Holtby on the breakaway to seal the W.

The win delivers Tampa Bay it's 12th point in the 10th and final game of segment six of the season. Success. The Lightning has two more 10-game segments left in the season and 11 insurance points still in the bank. That means we can peg an unofficial magic number of about 13 points left to grab as a minimum to make the postseason with 22 games left to go on the schedule. That's commanding position, to be sure.

Adam Erne had 2 hits in 9:37.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL game Night: 2-17-18 Devils at Lightning

Goaltending betrays Lightning and buoys Devils.

NJ-4
TB-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss. His first goal against was a bad angle softie that ended up being the margin of defeat (as softies often are) and you'd have liked him to get one or two of the other goals he allowed in unscreened situations essentially eyeball to eyeball with the shooter.

First Period
2:59 NJ Lovejoy (2), (unassisted)
12:41 TB Kunitz (9), (Callahan)

Second Period
2:47 TB Point (21), (Gourde, Sergachev)(PP)
3:13 NJ Hischier (12), (Hall, Vatanen)
6:27 NJ Zacha (5), (Vatanen, Lovejoy)(SH)

Third Period
1:24 NJ Wood (16), (Noesen)
5:15 TB Stamkos (24), (Hedman, Kucherov)(PP)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's second star.

On balance, the Lightning deserved better. They outshot New Jersey 51-28 and it took Eddie Lack standing on his head at times to keep the Devils in the game. Unfortunately, you contrast that with a subpar night at the other end for Vasilevskiy, and that's how you end up with this result.

Of course, you could argue things would've been different had the refs given Miles Wood the gate for boarding he deserved in the Second Period in a horrific sequence where he left his feet to clean out Namestnikov and then punched Sustr and busted him open with Sustr's broken visor. Problem is: the Lightning still got a PP out of the sequence and promptly surrendered the go-ahead shorthanded goal to Pavel Zacha. They have to be better there.

Adam Erne had 2 shots and 2 hits in 8:44. He's exciting anytime he has the puck on the move in the offensive third.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-15-18 Red Wings at Lightning

Lightning find the elixir in the form of the downtrodden Wings.

DET-1
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 39 shots for the victory.

First Period
3:55 TB Stamkos (22), (Hedman, Kucherov)
7:05 TB Kucherov (31), (Namestnikov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
18:08 TB Stamkos (23), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)
19:29 DET Tatar (15), (Kronwall, Bertuzzi)(PP)

Third Period
1:35 TB Killorn (11), (Kucherov, Point)

Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman were the game's three stars.

That's 11 straight wins against Detroit. Do I love allowing 39 shots in this game? No. Did it matter? Not when the Lightning are playing a team that, by the transitive property, Vinik can now claim he also owns.

With two games remaining in this 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning need just 2 points to hit the magic 12 point mark for the segment. Perhaps more to the point, the unofficial magic number for clinching the playoffs has been winnowed to 15 points with the win. In other words, they could play .313 hockey the rest of the way and still probably make the postseason.

Still, Yzerman needs to get these guys a RHD and centerman who can win some draws.

Matthew Peca had 2 hits and 1 blocked shot in 8:33 and was 40% on 5 draws.

Adam Erne had 1 hit in 9:10.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-13-18 Lightning at Sabres

Time for a little soul searching.

TB-3
BUF-5

Louis Domingue allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the loss.

First Period
6:25 BUF Baptiste (2), (Girgensons)
13:23 TB Gourde (22), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Second Period
1:16 BUF Reinhart (12), (O'Reilly, Rodrigues)(PP)
13:19 TB Namestnikov (19), (unassisted)
15:47 BUF Wilson (4), (Nelson, Antipin)

Third Period
3:41 BUF O'Reilly (18), (Okposo, Ristolainen)(PP)
11:36 TB Callahan (3), (Sergachev, Point)
19:52 BUF Reinhart (13), (O'Reilly)(EN)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

As a general rule, it's never as good or as bad as it seems... but losing to an Eichel-less Buffalo Sabres team that simply seemed to want the 2 points more than the Lightning sure does seem pretty bad. The frustrating thing is that the same mistakes keep going uncorrected. The faceoff circles remain a dumpster fire. The penalty kill remains ineffective. Etc. Etc.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in a paltry 6:26.

Matthew Peca was -1 with 1 shot in 11:58. He was also 62% on 13 draws, which was a rare bright spot in that department in this game.

Adam Erne was -2 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:37. Thought he was pretty dangerous and active in this game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-12-18 Lightning at Maple Leafs

Valiant comeback bid falls short.

TB-3
TOR-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 23 shots for the lost. Not a terribly convincing stat line. This was a rare night where Vasiy was outdueled by his counterpart.

First Period
11:55 TOR Nylander (13), (Matthews, Gardiner)

Second Period
3:08 TOR Nylander (14), (Matthews, Marner)
11:36 TOR Gardiner (4), (Nylander, Matthews)
15:59 TB Killorn (10), (Point, Kucherov)

Third Period
0:58 TB Kucherov (30), (Killorn)
1:18 TB Gourde (21), (Coburn, Stamkos)
4:37 TOR Van Riemsdyk (23), (Bozak)

Nikita Kucherov was the game's third star.

Toronto wins against the run of play with the Lightning outshooting the Leafs 34-23 after a spate of games where they've been upside down on the shot clock. Some of the same old bugs bit the Lightning again to make the difference, though, most notably their subpar performance in the faceoff circles.

Adam Erne was +1 with 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 11:40.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 2-10-18 Kings at Lightning

Vasilarceny on Vincent Lecavalier Night.

LA-3
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 47 shots for the victory. His behind-the-back save on Kopitar in the First Period will be seen on highlight reels from now until the end of time. The saves he made on the Kempe tip and Doughty's shot off the faceoff in the dying moments protecting a one goal game were every bit as impressive.

First Period
1:05 TB Stamkos (21), (Gourde, Johnson)
5:02 LA Brodzinski (4), (Andreoff, Shore)
9:45 TB Killorn (9), (Stamkos, Coburn)

Second Period
3:12 TB Paquette (2), (Callahan)
14:43 TB Kucherov (29), (Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
3:17 LA Clifford (3), (Kopitar, Forbort)
13:05 LA Folin (3), (Andreoff, Shore)

Vasilevskiy and Steven Stamkos were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning once again, somewhat maddeningly, did what you want to do by staking a three goal lead through 40 minutes and then decided to take the entire final frame off. LA ended up outshooting the Lightning 20-4 in the final period and, by the grace of the puck luck you invite by getting completely dominated on possession, pulled this to within one goal. Only Vasilevskiy pulled this out of the fire, but the bad habits were all over the ice. Time to wake up.

Adam Erne had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 3 blocked shots in 9:09. Made a turnover high in the offensive zone in the Third Period while the Lightning were protecting the lead that the coaching staff won't like. He's got to make the safe play there and spin that puck deep rather than trying to wheel to the high slot with it.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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