Woodward: The Tampa Bay Lightning Weekly Report

by Benjamin Woodward | Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Player of the Week - Nikita Kucherov

Player of the Week – Nikita Kucherov

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning Weekly Report, where we break down everything you need to know in preparation for another week of Bolts’ hockey. In each post, we will include a brief analysis of every recent game, present Tampa Bay’s key performers of the week and evaluate all potential roster moves by the Lightning.
(Nikita Kucherov Photo/Susan Ferlita)

GAME ANALYSIS

Thursday December 11 – Tampa Bay Lightning 2 – Carolina Hurricanes 1

Bolts’ MVP of the Game:  Nikita Kucherov (2 goals, plus-1 rating)

  • In a game highlighted by a pair of dueling goaltenders, neither offense could muster
    Nikita Kucherov

    Nikita Kucherov

    a great deal of quality scoring opportunities. Carolina goalie Cam Ward stopped 25 of the 27 shots thrown his way, while Lightning reserve netminder Evgeni Nabokov had his best outing of the season, recording 29 saves on 30 shots. After neither side found the twine in the game’s opening forty minutes, Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov broke through with a power-play goal early in the third. Carolina soon answered on defenseman Justin Faulk’s fifth of the campaign, but Kucherov came right back with his second tally of the night, sealing a 2-1 Tampa Bay victory. This certainly wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but the Lightning still managed to emerge with two valuable points. (Photo/Tarra Dunlop)

Saturday December 13 – Washington Capitals 4 – Tampa Bay Lightning 2

Bolts’ MVP of the Game:  Matt Carle (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1 rating)

  • On the road for the second contest of their extended road trip, the Lightning were
    Matt Carle

    Matt Carle

    dealt a 4-2 loss at Verizon Center this past weekend. Aided by a stellar performance from uber-talented first line pivot Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals secured their second victory of the season against their former division rivals from Tampa Bay. Backstrom got on the board with a pair of tallies in the second period before completing his first career regular season hat-trick in the early moments of the final frame. Tampa Bay answered back with goals from Tyler Johnson and Matt Carle, cutting the deficit to 3-2, but their fate was sealed on Eric Fehr’s empty-netter with just forty seconds left in regulation. Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby performed excellently in this one, stopping 26 of the Bolts’ 28 shots on net. (Photo/Susan Ferlita)

Monday December 15 – Pittsburgh Penguins 4 – Tampa Bay Lightning 2

Bolts’ MVP of the Game:  Nikita Kucherov (1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1 rating)

  • With Penguins’ team captain Sidney Crosby sidelined due to a case of the mumps
    Nikita Kucherov

    Nikita Kucherov

    the Lightning entered Monday’s game in Pittsburgh with an excellent opportunity to secure two points against the Eastern Conference’s top team. Unfortunately for the Bolts, starting netminder Ben Bishop was injured in the game’s early going, forcing head coach Jon Cooper to insert reserve goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Upon his arrival in the crease, Nabokov would allow three consecutive goals, quickly turning a 1-1 contest into a prohibitive 4-1 deficit for the Lightning. Rookie forward Nikita Kucherov would add a late tally for Tampa Bay, continuing his impressive debut campaign with goal number 12 of the season. Penguins’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury continued to make a strong case for the Vezina Trophy, stopping 28 of Tampa Bay’s 30 shots on goal. (Photo/Susan Ferlita)

Tuesday December 16 – Tampa Bay Lightning 3 – Philadelphia Flyers 1

Bolts’ MVP of the Game:  Andrei Vasilevskiy (23 saves, 1st career NHL victory)

  • Between the pipes for his first career start in the National Hockey League, Lightning
    Avasilevskiy 29

    Andrei Vasilevskiy

    goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was tremendously impressive. The 20-year-old Russian rookie filled in admirably for the injured Ben Bishop, turning away 23 of 24 shots faced in his big league debut. It was certainly a solid start to the career of a player the Lightning hope will one day take the reigns as their franchise netminder. The Flyers tallied first when winger Wayne Simmonds cashed in on his 14th goal of the season during the final minute of the opening period. In the middle frame, Tampa Bay jumped ahead of Philadelphia, 2-1, after goals from both Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson. In the game’s final seconds, Valtteri Filppula would connect with an empty-net tally, sealing a crucial road victory for the Lightning. (Photo/Susan Ferlita)

INJURY REPORT

Player
Ben Bishop Tue, Dec 16, 2014 lower body missed Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia
Radko Gudas Tue, Dec 16, 2014 stomach virus missed Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia
Ondrej Palat Tue, Dec 16, 2014 lower body missed Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2014.

ROSTER MOVES

The Lightning recalled goalie Andrei Vasilevsky from Syracuse.

THREE STARS OF THE WEEK

1) Nikita Kucherov – 3 goals, 3 assists, plus-3 rating in 4 GP

2) Tyler Johnson – 2 goals, 2 assists, plus-4 rating in 4 GP

3) Matt Carle – 1 goal, 2 assists, plus-4 rating in 4 GP

STANDINGS AND TEAM STATISTICS

Rk Team AvAge GP W L OL PTS PTS% GF GA PP PP% PPOA PK%
1 Anaheim Ducks 33 21 7 5 47 .712 97 89 20 17.70 109 80.73
2 Chicago Blackhawks 32 22 9 1 45 .703 100 64 22 18.18 91 91.21
3 St. Louis Blues 31 21 8 2 44 .710 94 72 27 24.32 100 81.00
4 Pittsburgh Penguins 30 20 6 4 44 .733 98 71 26 26.26 114 85.96
5 Tampa Bay Lightning 33 20 10 3 43 .652 110 87 24 21.24 109 80.73
6 Detroit Red Wings 32 17 7 8 42 .656 92 80 27 22.31 118 88.14
7 Nashville Predators 30 20 8 2 42 .700 81 59 11 11.46 79 81.01
8 Montreal Canadiens 32 20 10 2 42 .656 87 80 13 14.61 116 85.34
9 New York Islanders 31 21 10 0 42 .677 99 89 22 19.47 90 71.11
10 Toronto Maple Leafs 31 19 9 3 41 .661 109 87 24 21.05 106 83.96
11 Winnipeg Jets 32 16 10 6 38 .594 78 75 17 15.74 125 84.00
12 San Jose Sharks 32 17 11 4 38 .594 90 82 23 24.21 93 83.87
13 Vancouver Canucks 30 18 10 2 38 .633 89 86 17 18.09 101 86.14
14 Calgary Flames 33 17 14 2 36 .545 97 90 23 20.35 83 77.11
15 Los Angeles Kings 32 15 11 6 36 .563 84 78 17 15.60 111 81.08
16 Washington Capitals 30 14 10 6 34 .567 86 81 23 27.06 89 77.53
17 Florida Panthers 29 13 8 8 34 .586 66 75 12 13.48 101 80.20
18 New York Rangers 29 15 10 4 34 .586 89 79 14 15.56 91 81.32
19 Boston Bruins 31 15 13 3 33 .532 78 81 12 16.67 99 78.79
20 Minnesota Wild 29 16 12 1 33 .569 84 75 12 12.63 90 86.67
21 Ottawa Senators 30 12 12 6 30 .500 80 86 21 19.09 105 81.90
22 Columbus Blue Jackets 30 13 15 2 28 .467 72 95 25 22.52 108 77.78
23 Buffalo Sabres 32 13 17 2 28 .438 62 100 8 8.79 112 79.46
24 New Jersey Devils 32 11 15 6 28 .438 74 94 21 23.08 118 77.12
25 Colorado Avalanche 30 10 13 7 27 .450 78 98 13 13.00 110 85.45
26 Philadelphia Flyers 30 11 14 5 27 .450 80 90 25 24.27 104 75.00
27 Dallas Stars 29 11 13 5 27 .466 85 103 16 15.38 102 78.43
28 Arizona Coyotes 31 11 16 4 26 .419 72 100 21 20.39 100 76.00
29 Edmonton Oilers 32 7 19 6 20 .313 66 106 12 12.63 91 80.22
30 Carolina Hurricanes 30 8 19 3 19 .317 62 87 18 18.37 81 82.72
League Average 31 15 12 4 35 .561 85 85 19 18.60 102 81.37
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2014.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Lightning will wrap up their current road trip through the Metropolitan Division with a final pair of games this weekend. First up is a trip to New Jersey on Friday where the Bolts will take on the Devils at the Prudential Center. Less than twenty-four hours later, the Lightning will be on Long Island for a showdown against the surging Islanders. From there the Bolts will return home to finish out their pre-Christmas schedule, taking on the Penguins at Amalie Arena on Tuesday December 23.

Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward and please “like” LightningShout on Facebook. You can email us at Info@LightningShout.com.

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Benjamin Woodward
About the Author

Lead Writer Benjamin Woodward is a native Bostonian and lifelong hockey fanatic. After three years of covering the Boston Bruins for various media outlets, including Hockey Independent, SB Nation and the New England Hockey Journal, Benjamin has chosen to tackle a new challenge here in Tampa Bay. He enjoys golfing and football and is a die-hard University of Michigan supporter.

Displaying 6 Comments
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  1. ITMAN says:

    Agree 100% with Kucherov, but Carle? I guess the pickin’s were slim. LOL

  2. BigKahuna says:

    Can find no fault in your selections. My main concern is Stamkos only getting a couple of shots per game. Just ridiculous. Maybe Drouin will spark this line. And Callahan hasn’t scored in like 9 games!

    • Benjamin Woodward Benjamin Woodward says:

      I agree with your thoughts there, Big Kahuna. He hasn’t produced up to his own superstar standard over the past week or two. He has to work on getting more pucks to the net. I would also like to see them use Drouin on that line.

  3. Jake says:

    C’mon! Get outta hbere with the Carle pick! :) How about…anyone else?

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