Following a road trip closing loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 on Tuesday. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy put 31 save performance en-route to his second shut-out of the season. Ahead of the game Tuesday it was announced Vasilevskiy would replace Carey Price as a goalie for the Atlantic Division in the All Star game.
TAMPA BAY – Can anyone stop the Tampa Bay Lightning? The number one scoring team in the NHL is getting scoring from everyone and every line. So far heading into tonight’s game there are three guys with over 20 goals (Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point.) And those three guys almost all have 50 points (Kucherov 71, Point 57 and Stamkos 47). And it is not just the big boys who are scoring, the young guys are chipping in too. Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph both have 16 points so far. Fourth line center Cedric Paquette is even getting in on the scoring with eight goals in 42 games. His 10 points though 42 games beats his nine points through 56 last season. Another stat is his plus minus, which a season ago was a -5. So far this season he is a +4 just past the mid way point.
Point pushing to be the “Last Man In”
Through 42 games Lightning forward Brayden Point ranks 5th in the NHL in goals with 26. He is also ranks 7th for points behind leader Kucherov. Since game 22 on November 19th he has only been held without a point four times. In the same time-frame he has registered multiple points in 11 games. While every player on the last man in deserves to be in the All Star game, the only player who should get in on his stats alone besides Point is Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner.
Johnny B Really Good
The last time the Lightning faced the Carolina Hurricanes, forward Tyler Johnson had three goals. Actually in 18 contests against the Hurricanes, Johnson has six multi point games. In his last two games he has scored three goals against Carolina. Johnson is close to being the next member of the 20 goal club this season. It would be his 4th time since 2013-2014 scoring 20 goals in a season. His best season came in 2014-2015 when he notched 72 points in 77 games.
Mrazek hates facing the Lightning… during the regular season
While he has never said that, his record against the Lightning would appear to make that a true statement. While playing for two different teams against the Lightning, Petr Mrazek has only beaten the Lightning once in the regular season on March 28th 2015 as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. In 10 playoff games against the Lightning he has a little bit of a better winning percentage. In those games he is 4-5-1, so one would say he is a little more effective again them in the playoffs.
Mr Game 7 strikes first
If you want a reliable player for a playoff game seven, look no further than Justin Williams of the Carolina Hurricanes. As a player he has three Stanley Cup rings, a 7-1 record in game sevens to go along with seven goals and 14 points. Tonight, while not a game seven he struck for his 300th career goal off a rebound shot Vasilevskiy couldn’t quite coral. Point nearly tied it up near the midway point of the 2nd, however the goal was overturned due to an off-sides call and the score remained 1-0 Carolina.
Palat taps it in to tie it up, Point then puts the exclamation “point” on the game
With the Lightning on the power play due to a Andrei Svechnikov hooking call, Ondrej Palat would notch his fifth goal of the season. Stamkos would take a wrist shot to the left of Mrazek, but the puck deflected off a Carolina defensemens stick. With the a wide open net due to Mrazek committing to Stamkos’ shot, Palat would put just enough on a shot for the puck to trickle into the net for a 1-1 game. Just under five minutes later once again on the power play this time due to a Greg McKegg slashing call, Point would put the Lightning up 2-1. Victor Hedman kept the puck in the zone with a pass to Kucherov, who then dished it to Point in the slot who buried it past Mrazek for a no-doubter. With the net empty Point would get his second of the night and 28th of the season. He now has back to back games with two goals. His empty-netter would seal the game 3-1 for the Lightning.
The Lightning will travel to New York to face the Buffalo Sabres at 7pm on Saturday 1/12/19
3 Stars of the Game
1st Star – Andrei Vasilevskiy: Kept the Lightning in the game (26 saves on 27 shots, 1 goal allowed)
2nd Star – Brayden Point: Had one goal overturned, decided to score two just for good measure.
3rd Star – Justin Williams: Got Carolina their lone goal, and his 300th of his career.
Stats for this recap were found on Hockey-Reference.com
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