Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Bolts Ink 2015 Draft Pick Jonne Tammela to Entry-Level Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Jonne Tammela to a three-year, NHL entry-level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Tammela, 18, has skated in 37 games with Kalpa of the SM-liiga league in Finland, posting five goals and 13 points to go along with 16 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward also appeared in three playoff games with Kalpa, registering two penalty minutes. Tammela has played in 69 games with Kalpa over the past two seasons, notching nine goals and 17 points.

The Espoo, Finland native is currently playing for the Finnish U-20 team, skating in seven games with the club while posting a goal and four points. Tammela was selected by the Lightning in the fourth round, 118th overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft.

NHL Game Night: 3-31-16 Canadiens at Lightning

Lightning dying on the vine after Stralman injury.

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Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. A lesser goaltender gives up 4 goals with the amount of turnovers and poor gap control the Lightning defense had tonight.

First Period
9:11 MTL Desharnais(10), (Andrighetto, Emelin)

Second Period
0:52 MTL Mitchell(10), (Pateryn, Emelin)

Third Period
17:32 MTL Danauly(4), (Mitchell)(EN)

Steven Stamkos was the game's third star.

The Lightning just look like a hot mess without their top four defensemen in tact. It was that way when Garrison was hurt recently, and it's even worse at the moment without Stralman. The new pairings look disjointed and the team is having to play certain players bigger minutes that simply cannot handle it. Matt Carle should to be playing over 23 minutes a night in the NHL anymore like he did tonight. And, tonight, it became glaringly obvious that Stralman is the glue that holds the Lightning together in terms of gap control. He was the one Lightning defender who routinely stepped up at his blueline. Tonight, you had the Lightning retreating off their own blueline all the way down to the top of the circles, which resulted in the early goal by Mitchell in the Second Period that was tonight's soul-crushing gut punch.

With Florida winning tonight, the Lightning fall out of first place in the Atlantic Division. With 3 games left in the 10-game segment of the season, they still need at least 3 points, although the SunSports team pointed out their "virtual" magic number is 4. Either way, this team would have a hard time not at least backing into the playoffs. The issue for the last 5 games of the regular season, though, is figuring out pairings and a minute rotation on defense that actually looks cohesive and doesn't play like a train wreck destined to get bounced out in the first round. Three games into life without Stralman, they clearly haven't found that formula yet, and time is running out.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 3 shots in 14:27. He surrendered at least 2 Grade A chances that Bishop had to bail him out on with turnovers and poor positioning. It'll be a learning process with Slater, but I don't see another defenseman on the roster who, athletically, can grow into bigger minutes the way that Slater can unless the finally make the decision to give Hedman every other shift.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-28-16 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Bishop willing hapless, Stralman-less Lightning over the regular season finish line.

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Ben Bishop stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout victory, and the customary meting of U of Maine Justice. You won't find a finer performance by a goaltender anywhere in Lightning history than what Bishop turned in tonight. Puppa and Khabibulin probably each turned in a game or two that were as good as that, but none better. He carried the Lightning on his back tonight.

First Period
7:34 TB Blunden(3), (Condra, Hedman)
14:29 TB Palat(15), (Stamkos, Garrison)

Second Period
6:38 TB Hedman(8), (Stamkos, Condra)

Third Period
NO SCORING

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

For a second straight game the Lightning had to go without Anton Stralman and Nikita Kucherov, and for a second straight game the Lightning looked a bit lost and befuddled. The difference tonight was that the Toronto Marlies are barely a NHL caliber team and Ben Bishop re-routed power to the deflector shields all night long. Hopefully tonight was the last without Kucherov in the lineup and, over time, the team's defensemen will hit their stride without Stralman. But, for the moment, it's pretty awful. Erik Condra is playing on Steven Stamkos' line. That's how awful.

With 4 games left to go in the final 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning cut the magic number to 3 points, and they move into a tie in points with Florida, although the Panthers hold a game in hand in the race for the Atlantic Division title. The Lightning just have to grind out a couple of more wins as soon as possible, lock in their playoff position, and then spend their time getting their defensive pairings in order for the postseason.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-26-16 Panthers at Lightning

Shorthanded Lightning can't overcome the odds.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss. I'm not mad about the Jagr and Huberdeau goals and the Hudler goal was just crummy puck luck, but he was horribly off his angle on the Trocheck goal. He can't allow that goal in that spot given the pretext in this game. The Lightning had to get out of the First Period with a lead feeling good about themselves, and that softie was soul-destroying.

First Period
5:52 TB Johnson(14), (Nesterov, Palat)(PP)
13:36 FLA Trocheck(25), (Jokinen)
18:02 FLA Jagr(25), (Barkov, Huberdeau)(PP)

Second Period
15:53 FLA Hudler(15), (Petrovic, Bjugstad)

Third Period
4:02 FLA Huberdeau(15), (Barkov, Jagr)
16:48 TB Stamkos(36), (Boyle, Nesterov)(PP)
19:35 FLA Jokinen(17), (unassisted)(SH)(EN)

It was just a tough spot for the Lightning to come into. Not only did they lose Stralman to the broken leg last night, but Kucherov also sat out today after getting nicked blocking a shot last night. There's one of your two best defensemen and one of your two most dynamic offensive players out going into a high stakes game against a rested game where the Lightning were on the back-to-back. Then, you throw on top of that the Lightning playing their youthful backup who, unfortunately, gives up a pretty soft goal after a fantastic start by the team. No chance. It was all down hill from there, and when the Panthers got the puck luck with the double deflection on the Hudler goal, it was pretty clear it was not to be Tampa Bay's night. Throw on top of that some... creative... officiating, and you have about three hours every Lightning fans wishes they could get back in their lives.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 in 5:57. I don't get the sparing way he's been used in his last two recalls. There's pretty much no point to having him with the big club if he's only going to get 10 shifts in a game like he did tonight. It doesn't benefit the player or the team.

Jonathan Marchessault was -2 with 2 shots in 16:01. I thought he had another strong game tonight, but his line struggled to get the payoff against Luongo. The game marks Marchessault's graduation from prospect status on the website, meaning he'll join Nesterov in the 2015-2016 Lightning class.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-26-16

KHL Western Conference Finals
(6)St. Petersburg 0 vs. (1)CSKA 1 (OT)
CSKA Leads the Series 3-0
Nikita Gusev, St. Petersburg, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 5-9-14, -1, 0 PIM
Regular season totals: 56 GP, 20-29-49, +15, 14 PIM

Ex-Syracuse Crunch Geoff Platt scored 11:12 into Triple OT to deliver CSKA a tremendous 1-0 Game Three win that puts them on the brink of advancing to the Gagarin Cup Final. Islanders third rounder Ilya Sorokin stopped all 52 shots he faced for the shutout victory while ex-Isles second rounder Mikko Koskinen allowed 1 goal on 52 shots for the hard luck loss. Nikita Gusev was scoreless in a sizable 35:18 in the match, which was third among SKA forwards in ice time.

NHL Game Night: 3-25-16 Islanders at Lightning

Victory... at a price.

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Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the win. He was not at his best, but thankfully the team in front of him, more or less, was, as he drank again from the cool waters of sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
8:54 NYI Nelson(25), (Strome, Bailey)
13:42 TB Kucherov(29), (Killorn, Sustr)
13:51 TB Namestnikov(14), (unassisted)

Second Period
5:02 TB Stamkos(35), (Garrison, Kucherov)
5:25 NYI Prince(5), (unassisted)
16:18 NYI Boychuk(8), (Tavares, Bailey)

Third Period
6:03 TB Sustr(3), (Garrison)
6:22 NYI Kulemin(7), (Nielsen, Hamonic)
10:09 TB Johnson(13), (Palat, Marchessault)
10:32 TB Garrison(5), (Palat, Marchessault)
18:35 TB Hedman(7), (Carle, Palat)(EN)

Jason Garrison, Ondrej Palat, and Brian Boyle were the game's three stars.

That was a wild game where the Lightning were dominant offensively, outshooting the Islanders 42-31 and probably outchancing them by an even greater margin, but never pulling away because of some defensive let downs and soft goaltending. In the end they deserved the 2 points for the night, and they got it. That's the good news.

The price was steep, however. Anton Stralman left the game in the First Period with what appeared to be a significant leg injury. Post game we've learned that Stralman has a broken leg, which barring an extremely deep playoff run may pretty much end Stralman's season. This team looked pretty bad just missing Jason Garrison from the lineup. They're ill-equipped to handle losing any of their top-4 defenseman, and losing Stralman will be an extra strain. And no, there isn't a callup from Syracuse who can help fill those shoes. That's a blow that may ultimately torpedo Cup hopes.

With the victory, the Lightning's magic number is cut to 5 points now with 6 games left to play in this segment. They've got a really tough draw tomorrow, though, having to face a rested Panthers team with first place in the division on the line in the wake of the Stralman injury. Maybe they just turn it over to Vasilevskiy tomorrow and hope the kid just does his thing and stands on his head. He's capable of it.

Jonathan Marchessault had 2 assists, 4 shots, and 1 hit in 13:24. He was, in my opinion, the key man in the Johnson goal in the Third Period that gave the Lightning the breathing room to pull away in this one. His addition to the line with Johnson and Palat has been productive, and by freeing Kucherov to go play on Stamkos' line it's given the Lightning the scoring balance they have struggled to find over the past two years. Note how well this team has played offensively the past two games despite having veterans Filppula and Callahan out of the lineup due to injury. This is important for Cooper to understand: playing 51 and 24 as much as he has costs the Lightning possession and goals, and their identity is to have possession and be a potent offensive team. So, when Filppula and Callahan come back, one has to live in hope that Cooper uses them in more targeted roles as opposed to lavishing ice time in them in all situations, because it ends up being dead minutes. Either way, Marchessault's next NHL game this regular season will graduate him from prospect status on the website, and he appears to be peaking just ahead of that milestone.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-22-16 Red Wings at Lightning

Erik Condra obliterates everything you thought you knew about this team...

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Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the win. Honestly, I thought he was fighting it hard tonight and got the benefit of two posts early on. He may need to go back into five-hole rehab after that Helm goal, in fact. Fortunately, the puck luck early on went the Lightning's way and allowed them to settle into a pretty good defensive game that protected Ben while allowing him to drink from the waters of sweet, sweet goal support.

First Period
1:47 TB Condra(4), (Palat, Boyle)
9:55 TB Namestnikov(13), (Brown)

Second Period
0:33 TB Stamkos(34), (Kucherov, Hedman)
8:08 DET Abdelkader(18), (Zetterberg, Kronwall)(PP)
15:25 DET Helm(12), (Datsyuk, Mantha)
17:42 TB Kucherov(28), (Johnson, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
1:03 TB Palat(14), (Johnson, Hedman)
16:56 TB Condra(5), (Boyle)

Erik Condra, Victor Hedman, and Ondrej Palat were the game's three stars. Yes, Erik Condra. And, what should terrify you more about the face that Condra had 2 goals is that he probably should've had 1-2 more. Try to think what a Condra hat trick would've done to the laws of time and space... and then thank your lucky stars tragedy was averted tonight.

Tonight's game was a convergence of them being on their possession game and getting the benefit of a lot of the puck luck. It wasn't a perfect game. They were sloppy at times with turnovers. Bishop was a little off, as noted. Alex Killorn looked like he was Magnus ver Magnussen in one of those strongman competitions pulling a semi truck behind him all game. But, on balance, they were on their possession game forechecking hard, their power play was actually not a liability tonight, and they got some breaks. That's a good formula for beating down a team 6-2, and one you'd hope will be repeated a few more times before all is said and done in the 2015-2016 campaign.

The win vaults the Lightning into a tie with the Panthers atop the Atlantic Division with Tampa Bay holding the big advantage in ROW. More importantly, with 7 games to go in the final 10 game set of the year, the Lightning have a magic number of 7 points to ease into the playoff comfortably. That's what you want. You want to be in comfortably at the end of 80 games with the chance to either go for a banner or rest some guys in the final 2 games of the regular season. The Lightning look to be back on track to do that, only needing to go .500 the next 7 games to hit the season target of 96 points.

Jonathan Marchessault was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 14:22. By my count he's now 2 games away from graduation from prospect status on the website.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Lightning Sign D Ben Thomas to Entry Level Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Ben Thomas to a three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Thomas, 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, began the 2015-16 season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. He recorded three assists in 14 games with Calgary prior to being traded to the Vancouver Giants, also of the WHL, on October 27. Thomas skated in 60 games with the Giants, registering eight goals and 25 points with 40 penalty minutes. He led all Vancouver defensemen for goals and ranked second for assists and points.

The Calgary native has appeared in 213 career WHL games with the Hitmen and Giants, recording 22 goals and 90 points. He also played for Team Canada at the 2014 Under-18 World Championships, tallying one assist in seven games en route to earning the Bronze Medal.

Thomas was drafted by the Lightning in the fourth round, 119th overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft.

NHL Game Night: 3-19-16 Lightning at Coyotes

Bishop outlasts Domingue in goaltending duel to set franchise SO record.

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Ben Bishop stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout, handing down U of Maine Justice for a franchise record 15th time in a Lightning uniform. Arizona didn't have a ton of A chances, and he had some long stretches of inactivity, but he stood on his head in the Third Period and on two 5-on-3's in the Second Period to get his team with win tonight.

First Period
19:03 TB Palat(13), (Hedman, Killorn)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
19:10 TB Kucherov(27), (Stamkos)(EN)

Bishop and Ondrej Palat were the game's first and second stars. Arizona goaltender Louis Domingue was the third star. True, his soft goal allowed to Palat ended up being the difference in the game, but he can stay in the Western Conference, thank you very much. He's looked like Tony Esposito reincarnate the two times the Lightning have had to play him this season.

All-in-all, the Lightning put forth the effort they needed to tonight at even strength and especially on the penalty kill where they were masterful against an extremely good Arizona power play. Espo's Rule about not scoring on 5-on-3's held up. The Coyotes squandered a pair of them and, sure enough, they lost. In the half empty portion of the glass, the Lightning absolutely wet the bed on a 4 minute power play in the Third Period that begged to deliver the put away goal, but only delivered disappointment instead.

The Lightning pulled to within 2 points of the Atlantic Division lead, but more importantly, they cut their target number to 9 points. 9 points in the next 8 games and they should be in solid shape to make the playoffs comfortably. Get that and I'll be happy. Anything above that is gourmet gravy.

Jonathan Marchessault had 6 shots and 1 hit in 15:23 and was even pretty good when pressed into service on 3 faceoffs, going 67%. Tonight was a night where he played his game. Shoot the puck. Shoot the puck. Shoot the puck. If he keeps doing that, good things will happen. He needs 3 more games to reach graduation from prospect status on the website. I doubt Cooper can sit him next time out with the way he played tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 3-17-16 Lightning at Stars

Third Period collapse in Big D.

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Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the loss.

First Period
12:15 TB Kucherov(26), (Killorn, Sustr)
14:08 DAL Spezza(29), (Nichushkin)

Second Period
3:15 TB Stamkos(32), (Kucherov, Stralman)(PP)
5:42 DAL Benn(35), (Eakin)
17:19 TB Stamkos(33), (Killorn, Hedman)

Third Period
9:42 DAL Johns(1), (Eakin, Benn)
11:50 DAL Benn(36), (Eakin, Seguin)

Steven Stamkos was the game's second star.

That Third Period just wasn't good enough. The Lightning played a good (not perfect) first 40 minutes. Sans a few mistakes like that gross turnover by Stamkos on Dallas' second goal, they could've had a multi-goal lead after the Second Period. As it was, they played the road game well weathering Dallas' early storm and staying ahead or even most of the first two periods. But, getting outshot 17-4 in the Third Period just isn't going to get it done. Dallas pushed and the Lightning had no answer, and I don't get why. I really don't. It wasn't complacency, but perhaps they're guilty of trying to sit on a lead, if anything.

Back-to-back losses may make winning the Atlantic Division an impossibility and puts the Lightning in a position where they need to right the ship quickly here or put themselves at risk for the playoffs. With 9 games to go in this 10 game set of the year, they still have a magic number to get of 11 points. What they don't want is to scuttle through those 9 games and only collect, say, 8 points, and find themselves in the high-pressure position of needing points in the last 2 games of the year just to get into the postseason. That would be bad, so the team needs to tighten up quickly. I'd much rather see them sew up a spot and be able to give Ben Bishop a little rest the last couple of games of the regular season before the postseason marathon begins.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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