“We’re just excited at getting a crack to play against a team’s that won 10 in a row. It’s so tough to do in this league, so expect their best tonight and expect ourselves to be at our best.”#Bolts get a regular back for tonight’s showdown vs. Buffalo.https://t.co/st2Wsw4G33— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) November 29, 2018
Going into the evening, the Lightning had some good news to bolster them: forward Ondrej Palat was ready to go.
#TBLightning Ondrej Palat, who returns to action after an injury, with his team before warmups. And Louis Domingue, making his 9th straight start, bumps fists with kids in the tunnel as he leads his team onto the ice for warmups #NHL @TBLightning pic.twitter.com/SdLKCK1ciS— Dirk Shadd (@DirkShadd) November 30, 2018
For those in Syracuse, they got to see their first glimpse of the future in TampaCuse, with newly recalled goalie Connor Ingram taking the ice for warm ups. Although it’s assumed Ingram has only been recalled so that Eddie Pasquale can go play with Syracuse and get some games in, it’s still exciting to see another prospect/player from the Crunch on the ice with the Lightning.
The first period of the game was a bit intense, a back-and-forth contest that ended with the Lightning up by a 3-2 score. Dan Girardi, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa.
This then happened to Girardi...
Dan Girardi, who scored the first goal in this game, leaves after taking a bad check to the leg. Wasn’t pretty. Needed to be helped off the ice. pic.twitter.com/XaW3cBkbn0— Ryan Bass (@Ry_Bass) November 30, 2018
...But fortunately he managed to return to the game before the end of the first...
Girardium is the most resilient against damage of all the elements.— Cam (@Cam81965123) November 30, 2018
...Unfortunately, then this happened to Ryan McDonagh, who took Giradri’s place in the dressing room:
Ryan McDonagh was boarded by Eichel, sparking a brawl and sending Eichel to the box to wipe out the Sabres power play. McDonagh was down for a while before skating off under his own power. #Bolts #BUFvsTBL— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) November 30, 2018
The events of the first period didn’t seem to please Steven Stamkos (rightfully so, IMO):
Stamkos over talking to the referees during the commercial break. He doesn't look happy that he's had two players have to leave the game and referees have only called one minor in those two plays.— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) November 30, 2018
By the time the first was done, it felt like an entire game had been played. This was where things stood:
After 20— Matthew Esteves (@mattesteves89) November 30, 2018
Shots 16-7 #GoBolts
Score 3-2 #GoBolts
TB controlled that period. 64% of the shot attempts at 5v5 were in their favor. Outchanced BUF 13-6 with 7 of those being High Danger to BUF's 1. BUF had a deflected goal and a fluke bounce off Domingue.
The win halted the Sabres’ winning streak and moved the Lightning back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Although Pasquale hasn’t seen any NHL time yet with the Lightning, either, the experience of practicing with the Bolts has been invaluable.
“Going up there, playing against NHL guys, you get a bit more confidence from that."— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) November 29, 2018
Eddie Pasquale after spending some time up with Tampa. pic.twitter.com/JBnJpL6A10
Kucherov is good, you guys.
Top 10 #NHL scorers by country: RUSSIA— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) November 29, 2018
Kucherov TB 33
Malkin PIT 30
Ovechkin WSH 28
Panarin CLB 26
Dadonov FLA 23
Kuznetsov WSH 21
Radulov DAL 20
Tarasenko STL 19
Goldobin VAN 16
Kovalchuk LA 14 pic.twitter.com/BWqwdhmayY
#TBLightning go up 3 to 2 with the goal as Nikita Kucherov drops to his knee and gives a big fist pump after scoring to beat @BuffaloSabres Carter Hutton. p2 starts now #NHL @TBLightning pic.twitter.com/OHg11wDmcs— Dirk Shadd (@DirkShadd) November 30, 2018
The Lightning’s depth has long been talked about, and here’s another collection of data to add to the pile: Tampa’s bottom-six forwards are among some of the best in the NHL.
The average bottom-six forward in this tier outscores their opponent 52 to 48 while on the ice (Goal: 52%). It must be a great feeling to know that even your depth forwards can beat up on other teams around the league. It’s one of the finest luxuries a team can have, allowing coaches to get creative with how they deploy their lineup because they know that there are few team weaknesses.
Alan took a look at how the teams in the Atlantic Division are doing now as compared to last season. A lot has changed:
Entering last season, hockey media panned the Atlantic Division as the worst division in the league. That’s not the case anymore. The Atlantic has the three best teams in the NHL in terms of standings points at the twenty-five game mark of the season. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, and Toronto Maple Leafs would all be in first place in any of the other divisions except for the Metropolitan where the Nashville Predators are currently tied with the Lightning as the second-best team in the NHL.
Tampa’s popular holiday packs are now available, with two different groups of games to choose from. The packs all include a signed puck.
Did you know that Rev Ty, the gentleman behind all those awesome church signs, and Paul Driscoll have a podcast? Here’s Ty’s sign after last night’s win:
Do you live in Orlando (Hi, Acha!), love the Lightning, but hate traffic? Good news! Brightline has received the green light from the state to negotiate for land to add passenger rail service from Orlando to Tampa.
Additional negotiations are expected by the privately funded rail service with utilities, local land owners and communities along the route --- which would go from Orlando International Airport, through Osceola and Polk counties, to downtown Tampa.
The Crunch is zipping up the charts with their improved play, and their recent streak of 9-0-1 in their last ten games has them at #5 in one blogger’s power rankings. Haven’t had a chance to catch the Crunch yet? Syracuse will be featured on TSN on December 12th when they face off in Toronto against the Marlies.
What’s been working for Syracuse? Defenseman Cameron Gaunce has some ideas.
“We’ve started to commit to our systems a bit more. As a team, we had the skill all along, but I think meshing and being a bit better in cohesion with each other and within the systems is really helping us.”— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) November 30, 2018
Cameron Gaunce on what’s working. pic.twitter.com/dh916mykgu
Those local can catch Andy Andreoff and Carter Verhaeghe celebrity bartending in Syracuse next week.
Our @Molson_Canadian / @MillerLite Celebrity Bartending Series is back next Wednesday, Dec. 5.— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) November 29, 2018
Join @andyandreoff and @CVerhaeghe21 as they sling drinks behind the bar at Clinton Street Pub.
Details: https://t.co/h86mpzYQ6I pic.twitter.com/Oo9CUFaBZq
MSG Network and the New York Islanders have a two-woman intermission team, and the voices of AJ Mleczko, Jennifer Botterill, and host Shannon Hogan will hopefully help to lead the way for women to achieve more prominent spots in sports broadcasting.
Women have been carving larger roles in sports broadcasts the past few years, though opportunities can still feel limited. The fact that a network has included three women to analyze and report on a men’s game feels like a crucial step forward; it quashes any perception that any are simply token hires. Botterill flies in for the games from Toronto; Mleczko comes in from Boston. It’s a serious investment and proof that there’s room for more than one female voice, especially if the voices are strong.
An NHL team has finally invited the moms along for a trip. Sadly, the Lightning wasn’t the first to do it, but we sure hope they follow suit soon!
The moms got a chance to see what past dads and siblings trips were like, getting a close-up view of life on the road in the NHL. They watched morning skates and traveled on the team’s chartered aircraft between Nashville and Tampa and Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale.
“I think it’s special,” Ducks winger Rickard Rakell said of having his mother and 18 other moms along for the ride for the first time. “Every time we’ve had a dads trip or a siblings trip, she was whining at home and asking when was the moms trip. She’s very happy to be here.”
Matt Smaby, who suited up for both the Crunch and the Lightning at different points in his career, has joined the University of North Dakota’s hockey team as a student manager as he works to finish up his degree and brush up on his coaching skills.
Former Crunch forward David Broll will be out for the forseeable future with a broken hand. Broll, who now plays for the Providence Bruins and had been out since breaking his hand during the AHL’s preseason, re-injured himself in his first shift of this season during a fight.
The Rochester Americans’ mascot was getting into the holiday spirit yesterday, helping to collect toys for local charities.
Speaking of the Amerks, they finally have a new deal in place with Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena. It will be effective January 1, 2019 and run through December 31, 2033