And with that, the pre-season festivities draw to a close. From a wins-and-losses standpoint, the exhibition season went just about as well as could be hoped, with the Lightning going 5-1-0, their only blemish being the 1-0 loss at Nashville in the second game. Sure, a team's pre-season record is ultimately meaningless but if you're looking for positive trends, the Lightning have given them to you. Consistent all-around effort from a team that has seemed to get stronger and/or work harder in all facets as the game progresses. Tonight was no exception.
Things didn't get off to a great start when the Panthers opened the scoring at 3:21 of the first on a power play goal from that was deflected by Aleksander Barkov and floated softly over Ben Bishop's shoulder. Brian Campbell and Dmitry Kulikov were credited with assists on the play.
Even though Florida would go on to outshoot Tampa Bay 37 to 28, that would be their only tally on the night.
The Lightning tied the game at 5:46 on a goal by Nikita Kucherov that was scored unassisted but made possible by a crunching hit from Victor Hedman behind the Panthers net that essentially handed the puck to Kucherov.
They took the lead at 10:21 with Steven Stamkos unleashing a booming slapshot from the top of the right circle. Hedman and Ryan Callahan picked up the assists on the game winning power play goal.
They extended the lead to 3-1 at 18:59 with J.T. Brown converting the one-timer from Brian Boyle.
At 4:40 of the second, the score was capped at 4-1 with another power play goal, this time from Anton Stralman, getting help from Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.
With the pre-season wrapped up (aside from some undoubtedly difficult roster decisions), the Lightning will get ready for their next game, the regular season home opener on Thursday, October 9th, when they again host the Florida Panthers.
- The Lightning's all-time pre-season record is now 75-48-23
- The 5-1-0 record is the team's best since 2008, when it was also 5-1-0.
- Tampa Bay has never posted an undefeated pre-season record.
- The Lightning scored at least three goals in each of their five wins, with a high of six in the win over the Dallas Stars in Tampa.
- They only allowed as many as three goals once, that same win over Dallas.
- The team's leading goal scorer during the pre-season has been Kucherov with six. He's followed by Stralman with three and Brown and Jonathan Marchessault with two each.
- The assists leader was Namenstnikov with seven and Boyle with three.
- UPDATE: The latest on Jonathan Drouin is that the latest x-rays came back negative and that "the healing process is ongoing", per general manager Steve Yzerman.