Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning had a game against the Philadelphia Flyers that totally justified the extra defensemen we carry. According to Matt’s recap, Mikhail Sergachev took a slapshot to the knee, and while he returned to the bench after the kneepuckin’, he didn’t see any ice time after that. We were waiting for an update yesterday, and got one from Bryan Burns at morning skate:
Mikhail Sergachev is on the ice for #Bolts practice today and wearing a regular jersey. Doesn't seem to be favoring his knee either. Good news after he was drilled directly in the knee by a Scott Laughton slap shot late in last night's win.— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 28, 2018
On the other hand, JT Miller and Mathieu Joseph are still out.
Miller (upper body) is still being re-evaluated. Joseph is day to day, says he’s feeling better (still on IR though). No concern w Sergachev #tblightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) December 28, 2018
So, are we going to go 11/7 tonight against the Montreal Canadiens?
I’m leading with this article just because the headline and photo are great: Andrei Vasilevskiy Was Bug-Eyed With Disbelief At His Own Save [Deadspin]
On a Flyers power play in the first, Andrei Vasilevskiy somehow denied Wayne Simmonds from his belly by kicking away a mid-air puck with his heel. “He fights for every puck,” Yanni Gourde said of Vasilevskiy, and I suppose that’s exactly what that truism looks like in action.
This was an interesting exploration of why the league in general is scoring more goals, from noted Tampa Bay Lightning fan Dimitri Filipovic: Trendspotting: Tampa Bay’s power surge, Sergei Bobrovsky’s renaissance and more [ESPN]
No team better encapsulates where the league is right now than the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are currently in the process of lapping the field all across the board. Having rattled off 11 wins in the past 12 games, they’re now sitting atop the entire league with 58 points and a whopping plus-48 goal differential through 37 games.
Joe Smith got Marty to weigh in on why Steven Stamkos has been looking so good lately: What sparked highest-scoring month in Steven Stamkos’ career? [The Athletic, paid content]
“He’s hot,” St. Louis said Friday. “To me, he looks like he’s having fun out there and he’s playing with a ton of confidence. He’s making a lot of good reads and that’s what it’s all about. The best players are the best because they read the game better. Of course, his shot is deadly, but it’s not easy to get open like he has the past month.”
Tampa Bay Lightning fans sure are lucky we have this guy: 6 things we learned in the NHL: Kucherov passes Rantanen in scoring race [Sportsnet]
With another super-human effort — his second consecutive game registering at least four points — Kucherov became the first player this season to collect 60 points. In doing so, he also knocked off Colorado Avalanche winger Rantanen (59 points) from the top spot in NHL scoring.
Dave Mishkin never pulls his punches: Mishkin’s Extra Shift: Lightning 6, Flyers 5 - OT [Tampa Bay Lightning]
Certainly, the Lightning would have preferred to close out this game in regulation and not deal with another Philadelphia comeback. They’ll also look to tighten things up defensively in their next game. But make no mistake - they earned the goals they scored tonight. And, as it turned out, they would need all of them.
Are you ready for more verse libre poetry? Martin Fennelly is back and realized that Stammer rhymes with Hammer: Lightning fans, rejoice! Stammer the Hammer is back [TBTimes]
Stamkos cautions all of us about this Lightning breakaway start.
”We’re not even halfway through the season,” he said.
So, er, I take it the Syracuse Crunch won a game last night:
Repeat after me, Syracuse Crunch twitter person: “Bless your heart.”
The #SyrCrunch scored 10 goals at home for the first time since Nov. 5, 1994 (10-4 vs. Rochester)— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) December 29, 2018
Dennis Yan made it an even ten as the Crunch kept their forecheck up with less than two minutes to go. Volkov chipped the puck into the zone and chased after it. He took out the Comets defender, allowing Bourke to get the loose puck. He then slid it over Yan who put it past Kulbakov for the tenth Syracuse goal of the night.
It was the first time since 2008 that the Crunch have hit double digits on the scoreboard.
Ducks have placed Jake Dotchin on waivers— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 28, 2018
This one comes via Lauren, whose coverage of WJC has been excellent (go read it here):
Czech player scores a goal with his face. The beautiful game pic.twitter.com/itntmB6ZbD— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 29, 2018
The Wysh list: Bold predictions for 2019; Gritty gets into holiday spirit [ESPN]
We see at least one offer sheet signed, and one William Nylander-like stalemate from the RFAs. I’ll go Brayden Point on the offer sheet and William Karlsson with the Willie Special.
No comment from a fan of a functional team over here, I just feel bad for everyone involved: Stars ownership, management go on expletive-laden tirade over poor performance from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin [The Athletic, paid content] — I am excerpting from the article instead of embedding the tweet because it contains a LOT of swears. Eek?
Frustration has arisen throughout the organization about Benn and Seguin’s play this season. The two are currently ranked 57th and 67th in league scoring, while the Stars are currently clawing for their life in the Western Conference playoff race. Annoyance about the two players’ uncharacteristic scoring issues bubbled to the surface, and Lites requested an interview with a couple of media members on Friday to make the concerns public.