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Lightning Round: Yanni Gourde scores first goal since November!

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And it was the overtime winner.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins
PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 11: Yanni Gourde #37 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with teammates after a 2-1 overtime win agains the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 11, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

It has been two days since Alan wrote an article calling for Yanni Gourde to go find an exorcist because his goal drought was hitting unbelievable levels.

Between November 25th and February 11th — 25 games — Yanni did not score a single goal. His drought during this time was incomprehensible. 51 shots — over two a game and he only went eight games without recording a shot — and he hit over 4.7 expected goals, meaning he should’ve had somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4-5 goals in that time if he was getting what he deserved.

Looking at his goal drought through expected goals was the rabbit that led Alan down the hole that ended up being the article linked above. Everyone should read it if they haven’t already. Heck, everyone who already read it should again just to compare before and after.

But as noted above, players experience droughts relative to their own typical performance. So in order to meaningfully measure how Gourde’s drought feels, we have to compare that 4.7 expected goals since his last goal to his career average. As it turns out, he typically scores a goal for every 0.75 expected goals he accumulates meaning he’s been an above average finisher in his four NHL seasons. That number includes the current drought.

But now the drought it over. It’s finally over!

There are so many things I like about this goal. For one, it won the game in overtime. Two, it almost didn’t go in for Yanni. The puck just barely squeezed over Murray’s shoulder and the crossbar and Brayden Point almost felt like he needed to bang the puck in just in case.

That gets me to his teammates’ reactions. They were elated. Point and Victor Hedman were literally jumping as they chased Gourde behind the net and the bench reaction was even more fun. Everyone knew how long this drought was for Gourde and they were ecstatic to see him beat it. Even Gourde did the classic “Monkey off his back” celebration. That’s my favourite celly because you can just *feel* the emotional baggage getting thrown into the stands. I love it.

Now, if he can stick to his new “one goal per game” pace, Gourde should be able to finish the season comfortably with 32 goals, which would be a new career high!

Lightning Links

  • Gourde’s goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 overtime win for the second night in a row, this one over the Pittsburgh Penguins. I thought the Penguins plus newly acquired Jason Zucker were going to run over the heavily injured Lightning, but the boys played their hearts out and grinded out the victory. [Raw Charge]
  • It wasn’t all good news from the game, however, as both Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov were forced to leave the game with lower body injuries. They join Steven Stamkos, Ryan McDonagh, and Jan Rutta on the shelf.
  • Bryan Burns has quotes and updates in his 3 Things recap. [NHL dot com]
  • Around the Syracuse Crunch Corner, the boys in the AHL put together a really solid week, including three wins that have brought them all the way back up to within a few points of a playoff spot after having looked like they were going in the wrong direction the week before. [Raw Charge]