Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning come from behind to win a game that could be defined as both "wild" and "wooly."
Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 32 shots, but still got the win. He'll be burning the tape of that performance. He had a less than artful effort trying to handle a puck flipped at him from below the goal line on Detroit's first goal, an awful rebound allowed on a slow, change up point shot on Detroit's third goal, and a ridiculously unlucky ricochet on a center ice shot off the corner boards and into his net for Detroit's fourth goal. He owes his guys in front of him a steak dinner. Well, all but Nesterov, perhaps.
3:12 DET Vanek (1), (Zetterberg, Nielsen)(PP)
8:26 DET Vanek (2), (Nyquist)
7:33 TB Drouin (1), (Killorn, Hedman)
8:18 DET Nielsen (1), (Green, Larkin)
13:05 TB Paquette (1), (unassisted)
3:17 TB Boyle (1), (Paquette)
8:34 TB Johnson (1), (Stamkos, Palat)(PP)
16:50 TB Killorn (1), (Drouin, Hedman)(PP)
17:55 DET DeKeyser (1), (Green, Helm)
18:39 TB Filppula (1), (unassisted)(EN)
Glass half empty: Ben Bishop looked unusually awful in tonight's opener while Nikita Nesterov had an embarrassing turnover that led to Detroit's second goal and took a holding call at a critical juncture in the Third Period that he's very lucky didn't jump up and bite the team. Bishop and Nesterov put the Lightning behind the eight ball and it took a horrific softie gift returned by Mrazek on Paquette's goal to give the Lightning the lifeline to turn the game around.
Glass half full: Good Lord, the Lightning may have a bona fide power play this season. Jon Cooper finally swallowed his pride and made the decision to delegate control of the PP to new assistant Todd Richards this offseason, and it yielded instant dividends in the form of 3-for-6 performance tonight. Also, while it's true to say the Lightning needed Mrazek's softie as a lifeline to climb back into the game, it's also fair to say that if you put Bishop and Nesterov's mistakes aside the Lightning controlled possession and had the better of the chances over the entire balance of the sixty minutes. They were, ultimately, the better team on the ice.
Overall, the Lightning showed some resiliency and maturity over the course of this one to eventually earn the 2 points. And so, we begin again with our trusty old 12 in 10 rule. The Lightning need to get at least 12 points in every 10 game segment of the season to be on pace to make the postseason tournament. Good win, but they know they've now got to get 10 points in the next 9 games to stay on track. You can't get too high or too low. Just mind your 12 in 10 and then do it again.
Brayden Point was -1 with 1 shot in 16:12. He looked very good in his NHL debut. He had good top end speed, looked dangerous offensively including nearly beating DeKeyser one on one on the rush for a goal, and I thought he looked surprisingly strong along the wall on the forecheck for a player his size. He certainly didn't look out of place on a very good, elite Lightning club, that's for sure.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Nikita Kucherov to a three-year contract worth an average of $4.766 million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Kucherov, 23, skated in 77 games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 season, recording 30 goals and 66 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes. He led the team for points and was second for both assists (36) and goals. Kucherov also set career highs for goals, points, power-play goals (nine) and game-winning goals (four). He ranked second on the Bolts for shots (209) and power-play goals, while also pacing the club with 19 multi-point games.
The 5-foot-11, 178-pound forward also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning last season, posting 11 goals and 19 points to go along with a plus-13 rating. Kucherov led the Bolts during the playoffs for both goals and points. He finished second for goals and sixth for points in NHL in playoff scoring. Over the past two postseasons, Kucherov has tallied 21 goals and 41 points in 43 Stanley Cup Playoff contests. Kucherov has scored more playoff goals than any player in the NHL over the previous two postseasons.
Lightning concludes the preseason with an offensive outburst.
7:29 NSH Smith (1), (Bitetto, Granberg)
9:59 TB Nesterov (1), (Point, Drouin)(PP)
13:27 NSH Smith (2), (Subban)
16:18 TB Point (1), (Stamkos, Nesterov)
2:32 TB Drouin (1), (Stamkos, Palat)
6:43 TB Johnson (1), (Stralman, Stamkos)(PP)
13:12 TB Palat (1), (Drouin)
13:20 NSH Wilson (1), (Gaudreau)
Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point were the game's first and second stars. Point continues to produce in an extended look which may continue on into the regular season thanks to Nikita Kucherov's ongoing contractual impasse.
Point had 1 goal and 1 assist with 3 shots in 13:58 of ice time.
Joel Vermin was -1 with 1 shot in 14:07.
Fourth game in five nights for the barnstorming Lightning.
Ben Bishop allowed 4 goals on 26 shots for the loss.
5:54 TB Nesterov (1), (Filppula, Drouin)
19:25 NSH Fisher (1), (Neal, Subban)
5:56 NSH Subban (1), (Ribeiro)(PP)
12:37 NSH Ribeiro (1), (Forsberg)(PP)
15:18 TB Filppula (1), (Bishop, Wisniewski)
3:07 TB Conacher (1), (unassisted)
15:37 NSH Bass (1), (Neal)
I'm having flashbacks of when Koules and Barrie owned the team and they signed up for a zillion preseason games every year to try to make a little extra scratch because they were so strapped. That's not the case with Vinik, but this is just a lot of games and a lot of travel in the span of less than a week.
Matthew Peca had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 14:20. He was also 46% on 13 draws.
Mitchell Stephens had 1 shot and 1 hit in 13:07. He was also 38% on 8 draws. Kind of interesting to see him play center rather than wing, which may be the better fit for him as a pro.
Yanni Gourde had 1 hit in 12:16.
Jeremy Morin had 1 shot in 9:10.
Slater Koekkoek had 1 hit and 2 blocked shots in 20:13. I need to go back and add up all his ice time this week, but suffice it to say he might deserve some sort of iron man trophy. Tonight the Lightning decided to give him a full load after easing him in with the mid teens of minutes earlier in the week. 3 games in 5 nights is still a lot of work.
Luke Witkowski was +1 with 11 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot in 14:12. Witkowski also deserves an iron man trophy of his own.
Lightning miss a second straight preseason shutout by an eyelash.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just 1 goal on 28 shots for the OT win. The lone blemish was a goal surrendered in a 6-on-4 situation with 1:05 left in regulation. If the performances of the past two nights by Gudlevskis and Vasilevskiy are any indication, Yzerman might have the flexibility he needs if he does choose to move Ben Bishop for cap reasons.
5:21 TB Johnson (1), (Palat, Nesterov)[/b]
18:55 CAR Skinner (2), (DiGiuseppe, Rask)
1:38 TB Palat (1), (unassisted)
Very interesting lineup tonight from the Lightning and a pleasantly surprising performance. Tonight's group mixed in more NHL forwards, at least on the wings, but they pretty much went with Syracuse's defensive corps plus Nikita Nesterov, who may be a bubble player in this camp. It helps when you have Vasilevskiy behind you, but to almost get a shutout with that group is not too shabby.
Brayden Point had 4 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 16:09. He was also 33% on 9 draws. Sorry, son, you don't get to score a goal every game.
Cam Darcy had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 11:31 and was 30% on 10 draws. PLEASE, Jeff Halpern, teach these kids to win faceoffs.
Joel Vermin had 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 18:44.
Gabriel Dumont had 1 shot, 4 hits, and 4 blocked shots in 14:02. For a guy who didn't score, his stat line still looks quite active, I have to say.
Henri Ikonen had 1 blocked shot in 14:15. The window is closing on the young Finn.
Brian Hart had 4 hits in 10:14. He then hit someone with an aluminum chair and put them in the Sharpshooter.
Luke Witkowski was +1 with 4 hits and 2 blocked shots in 21:10. He's not giving any quarter in camp to anybody.
Dominik Masin had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 2 hits in 19:55.
Matt Taormina had 1 shot in 19:46.
Dylan Blujus had 3 blocked shots in 19:29.
Jake Dotchin had 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 19:10.
Syracuse Crunch clamp down on Panthers B squad.
Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout victory. This is an excellent start for a netminder who just got a prove it contract who may have an NHL backup opportunity looming in his future once the Lightning sort out their starting situation up top.
3:54 TB Morin (1), (unassisted)
14:48 TB Point (2), (Morin, Bournival)
Gudlevskis, Jeremy Morin, and Slater Koekkoek were the game's three stars. Kudos to the Lightning equipment guys for having the sense of humor to stick Morin in #33. He's one letter away from being a Lightning all-timer. Made me double-take, for certain.
If the Lightning preseason opener was a showcase for the team's junior prospects, tonight was an opportunity for many prospects earmarked for the Syracuse Crunch. And, on first blush, I'd think new coach Benoit Groulx will be pleased with what he saw tonight.
Matthew Peca had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 19:37. 90% on 10 draws is pleasing to the eye. I remain convinced that for Syracuse to go anywhere, Peca's going to have to become a big time AHL player. He'll have a little more help this season with Brayden Point in Syracuse, but as an older and more experienced guy, he's one I suspect needs to become one of the leaders for the Crunch.
Tanner Richard had 2 hits in 16:49. 13% on 8 draws is a little cringe-worthy stat line on draws. He's on the clock now to make a push and earn a look in the NHL. Not sure he really flashed enough tonight.
Brayden Point had his second goal in as many games and was +2 with 3 shots in 14:02. He was also 45% on 11 draws. The Lightning are already trying to tamp down expectations because they know Point needs seasoning and experience, but his raw talent is undeniable.
Yanni Gourde had 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots in 16:58.
Mike Halmo had 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 11:48.
Gabriel Dumont had 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:57.
Daniel Walcott had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:43.
Dylan Blujus had 3 shots and 4 blocked shots in 18:34. Blujus is a guy who somewhat falls into the same boat as Richard. He needs to start making a push to challenge Witkowski to become the Lightning's first righty callup from Syracuse.
Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 17:48.
Slater Koekkoek was +1 in 16:40. The Lightning have played Koekkoek in both games, which is telling, but they've also resolved not to give him a gigantic load of minutes in these games as they might've been tempted to do. That tells me they're easing Koekkoek into a marathon rather than putting him through a sprint of a look-see.
Valiant Third Period comeback bid by Junior Lightning gives hope for the future.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 23 shots before giving way to Adam Wilcox, who allowed 1 goal on 15 shots for ye old backdoor loss. It was a respectable outing for both netminders who get additional time thanks to the World Cup of Hockey.
19:07 CAR Br. Sutter (1), (Foegele)
10:26 CAR Wallmark (1), (Kuokkanen)
11:28 CAR Skinner (1), (Stempniak, Pesce)
11:28 TB Point (1), (Johnson, Hajek)
18:41 TB Imama (1), (Vermin, Cerelli)
Brayden Point was the game's third star.
This is going to be a strange camp/preseason because of it being chopped up by the WCOH. The silver lining is some extra time for potential future contributors like Point, who didn't embarrass themselves tonight. Among those prospects, the ice time was as follows, revealing more who the organization wanted to take a long early look at for the future than who they trust and are thinking about from an NHL roster standpoint for this season...
Brett Howden was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:50. He was also 44% on 9 draws.
Point had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 15:38. He was also 57% on 7 draws.
Anthony Cirelli had a helper and 1 shot in 15:36. He was also 39% on 18 draws.
Joel Vermin had a helper and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 15:19.
Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:04.
Dennis Yan had 2 penalty minutes in 12:40.
Boko Imama had 1 goal, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 10:28. He also killed 0 Hurricanes with his fists... this time.
Libor Hajek had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in a hefty 20:45.
Luke Witkowski was -1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:59.
Matthew Spencer was -1 with 4 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 18:51.
Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:23.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning will participate in a four-team rookie tournament at the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Florida from Saturday, September 17 through Tuesday, September 20, the team announced today. The event is free and open to the public.
Also participating in the tournament will be the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and the Washington Capitals. Tampa Bay’s roster will be announced at a later date but will feature some of the top young talent in the organization’s system. The annual tournament was hosted by the Lightning last year at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year contract worth an annual average of $1,937,500-million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Namestnikov, 23, skated in 80 games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 season, collecting 14 goals and 35 points to go along with 45 penalty minutes. The Zhukovskiy, Russia native set career highs this past season for games played, goals, assists, points and plus/minus (plus-17). Namestnikov ranked second on the Bolts for plus/minus, was tied for fourth for goals and seventh for points. He registered his first career NHL hat trick on January 15 this past season against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward has appeared in 127 career NHL games, posting 23 goals and 51 points to go along with 62 penalty minutes. Namestnikov has also played in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning, recording a goal and four points. He skated in 17 playoff games with the Lightning in 2016, collecting a goal and three points.
Namestnikov was originally drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 27th overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Alex Killorn to a seven-year contract worth an average of $4.45 million per season, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Killorn, 26, played in 81 games for the Lightning last season, collecting 14 goals and 40 points to go along with 44 penalty minutes. Killorn ranked tied for fourth for goals and points among Lightning skaters. Killorn also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2016, where he recorded five goals and 13 points. He ranked tied for third on the team for goals, was fifth for points and led all skaters with 42 penalty minutes. Killorn also ranked fourth on Tampa Bay for time on ice among forwards with 18:19 per contest. He netted two goals in the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins and three in the opening round against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia native has played in 272 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, amassing 53 goals and 138 points. He also has a career plus-24 rating. Killorn set career highs with 17 goals and 41 points in 2013-14. He made his NHL debut on February 10, 2013 against the New York Rangers, recording an assist in the game. Killorn has played in 47 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording 15 goals and 33 points. He ranked third on the Bolts for goals and points in helping Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup Final during the 2015 playoffs.
Killorn was originally selected by the Lightning in the third round, 77th overall, at the 2007 NHL Draft.