The Lightning couldn’t avoid being swept in the season series against the Washington Capitals, but if after the previous two games there was a feeling that the Bolts played better, this time it was a deserved loss. The Lightning couldn’t capitalize on countless power-play opportunities and the offense didn’t really show up until the third period. Curtis McElhinney did a great job keeping the Bolts in the game and was named the third star. The Lightning are facing the Florida Panthers on Monday and might want to win this game.
At least Nikita Kucherov scored his 200th career goal.
Jack Eichel returned to the line-up after missing the last game against the Philadelphia Flyers due to injury and assisted on Victor Olofsson’s game-winning goal against the Los Angeles Kings. It helped him to extend his point streak to 18 games. The Sabres also ended their three-game losing streak and currently are tied for the third place in the Division with the Panthers.
The Montreal Canadiens were the only the team in the Atlantic Division competing with the Lightning for a playoff spot who also lost on Saturday night. The Oilers reunited Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same line: they both scored one assist and one goal and gave the Oilers a lead going into the third period. Early in the third, Max Domi scored a beautiful goal, tying the game for the Habs. But later in the game, Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan ran on a 2-on-1 breakaway and Sheahan beat Carey Price, earning a win for the Oilers. The Canadiens are 6-4-0 in the latest ten games
The Boston Bruins lost their third game in a row in overtime and have won just two games in the past ten games. Despite a horrible losing streak, the Bruins are still comfortably sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division with a nine point advantage over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Red Wings 1, Maple Leafs 4
The Maple Leafs have finally found their game under Sheldon Keefe, Since hiring him, the Maple Leafs are top-3 in many essential advanced metrics, including expected goals share and Corsi For. On Saturday night, they defeated the Detroit Red Wings, who are stuck at the bottom of the standings. Auston Matthews scored two times, the Leafs backup Michael Hutchinson earned the first win the season. Tyler Bertuzzi scored the only goal for the Red Wings.
Anthony Duclair is having a career season. Last night he scored already his 21st goal and is currently tied with players like Connor McDavid, Sebastian Aho and Nathan Mackinnon for sixth place in goals in the whole league. The Senators lost to the Flyers in the shootout, but still earned a deserved point, despite missing top pair defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, Ron Hainsey and Dylan Demelo.
Panthers 4, Hurricanes 2
The Florida Panthers returned to a playoff spot after beating the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. They are sitting one point behind the Leafs, having two games in hand. Noel Acciari scored in the third game in a row. However it wasn’t a hat-trick this time. He has seven goals in the last three games
Noel Acciari has scored seven goals over his last three games. Pavel Bure (8 from Feb 10-16, 2001) is the only @FlaPanthers player in franchise history to tally more goals in a three-game span. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/EYwPhm2dyx— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 22, 2019
The Lightning are still in sixth place in the division and still have some games in hand comparing to their opponents, but it doesn’t seem as comforting as it was before, unless they start to be consistent and start earning points in those games where they’re supposed to.
Other Lightning org news
The Syracuse Crunch won their last game before the Christmas break. The Binghamton Devils were defeated 2-5. Mike Condon earned his second win with the team and Mathieu Joseph recorded his first goal for the Crunch since May 3, 2018.
The Orlando Solar Bears also won their last game before the Christmas. Last night they destroyed the Atlanta Gladiators 8-2, while forward Michael Brodzinski set a new franchise record, recording six points in that game.
Also, this happened:
“This season I’ve been pretty inconsistent,” Vasilevskiy said. “If last year, I had 5-6 good games, one bad. This season, I have one good, one bad. It’s been the whole season like that. I have to find consistency. There are some games where I face 30-40 shots and feel pretty good, and the next game we give up 15 shots and I gave up four. It’s embarrassing.