Tampa Bay Lightning
Closing arguments for the Lightning's young forwards.
Ben Bishop looked to be in midseason form allowing 1 goal on 37 shots for the victory. Florida was clearly embarrassed in their last outing and for getting blitzed in the First Period again tonight. They were out for redemption, but Bishop was having none of it.
3:21 FLA Barkov (1), (Campbell, Kulikov)(PP)
5:46 TB Kucherov (1), (unassisted)
10:21 TB Stamkos (1), (Hedman, Callahan)(PP)
18:59 TB Brown (1), (Boyle)
4:40 TB Stralman (1), (Johnson, Killorn)(PP)
Now the Lightning's brass will convene for the difficult decision of shaping the team's 23-man roster for opening night. They likely have a little more breathing room with the option of putting Jonathan Drouin on short-term IR and giving him a brief conditioning stint in the AHL when he gets off it, but the numbers game still is a difficult one. Mind you, they may have tipped their hand by putting Vladislav Namestnikov in the lineup tonight ahead of Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault, but we shall see.
Two things I feel very confident about after this preseason, though: 1.) Andrej Sustr and I will always have difficulty finding shirts with the proper sleeve length, and 2.) Jon Cooper will be drinking a fine, very old scotch out of the Governor's Cup by season's end. Book it.
Box score from NHL.com.
Lightning embarrass Panthers one week out from season opener.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout. If work continues to be this light for Nabby, he could play another 5 years.
2:43 TB Palat 1, (Johnson, Connolly)
7:53 TB Kucherov 1, (Namestnikov, Carle)
18:50 TB Kucherov 2, (Namestnikov, Hedman)(EN)
Extra thanks to the Panthers garbage-like inability to get their stats linked up right to NHL.com. Just move your God-awful franchise to Quebec City and get it over with. I'd care more about the "rivalry" if they weren't a so bummy from top to bottom. The Lightning's status is tarnished by having that dumpster fire occupy the same state.
Box score from Yahoo.com.
Young forwards making Yzerman/Cooper's decisions hard...
Ben Bishop allowed 1 goal on 22 shots for the victory. You have to be happy with his first two preseason starts as he comes back from the wrist injury.
0:37 TB Panik (1), (Marchessault, Paquette)
7:39 TB Brown (1), (unassisted)(SH)
14:05 TB Kucherov (1), (Namestnikov, Filppula)(PP)
14:50 DAL Benn (1), (Nichushkin, Gonchar)
2:30 TB Paquette (1), (Connolly, Gudas)
7:04 TB Connolly (1), (Namestnikov)
None of the young forwards vying for the final 1-2 spots on the roster are playing themselves out of centention. Marchessault, Paquette, Namestnikov, and Kucherov all hit the scoresheet tonight (Namesy and Dump Truck with multi-point nights) and even Witkowski on the blueline is putting a shadow of doubt into the Lightning brass' minds right now.
There's lots of good problems to have for a Lightning team that managed to put 5 on the board (albeit on Anders Lindback) with Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman donning their tights and fighting crime on the mean streets of Estero tonight rather than donning their uniforms and taking to the ice in Dallas, to say nothing of wunderkind Drouin's broken digit. The depth right now, and that depth's ability to outplay an NHL-talent studded Dallas roster pretty handily is making the Lightning look like a potential juggernaut in the making. And, whichever 3-4 players finally don't make this roster, are probably going to instantly make Syracuse an Eastern Conference contender down in the AHL. Good times.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
New additions help Lightning roll the Stars.
8:04 TB Stralman (1), (Boyle, Connolly)
11:36 DAL Blanchard (1), (Ritchie, Dickinson)
16:06 DAL Ranford (1), (Sceviour, Fiddler)
16:35 TB Kunyk (1), (Hedman, Ikonen)
4:36 TB Stralman (2), (unassisted)
8:34 TB Kucherov (1), (Stamkos, Callahan)
13:26 TB Corrente (1), (Boyle)
7:44 TB Callahan (1), (unassisted)
9:00 DAL Spezza (1), (Ritchie, Ranford)
After icing two rosters against Nashville primarily composed of AHL and junior-level players, the Lightning put out something closer to their opening night roster tonight. They hung a six-pack of goals on the board. That's not too shabby.
Box score from NHL.com.
Nothing to sneeze at, actually.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the hard luck loss. He sparkled at times. Best of luck to Coach Zettler deciding between Kristers and Vasya most nights in Syracuse.
3:17 NSH Forsberg (1), (Ribeiro)
Gudlevskis was the game's third star.
I can't feel too upset with the Lightning playing the roster they did tonight and finishing a post or two from upsetting something that closely approximates Nashville's opening night team. Shea Weber and Roman Josi were Nashville's high men in ice time tonight. Tampa Bay? Mark Barberio and Andrej Sustr were the blue hairs in there tonight for the Lightning. Kind of says it all, and it's another sign for optimism for Syracuse fans.
Box score from NHL.com.