After almost five months of uncertainty and preparations, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned to action with an exhibition game against the Florida Panthers. Even without Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, the Bolts showed an excellent offensive performance, beating the opponent 5-0. For more detailed information check out Hardev’s quick cap [Raw Charge]
It was an easy-going scrimmage for the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they dispatched the Florida Panthers on Wednesday afternoon by a score of 5-0. Brayden Point led the way with two goals and two assists, Nikita Kucherov scored twice and an assist, and Luke Schenn (!) also added a goal for the Bolts. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 26 shots he faced for his first career pre-playoffs shutout. That’s a stat that will probably never be broken.
Their next opponent the Washington Capitals have also debuted on the ice in Toronto against a team which eliminated them from the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs – the Carolina Hurricanes. This time the Caps were better, defeating the Canes 3-2; Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added an assist.
In the another exhibition game of yesterday, the Colorado Avalanche have beaten the Minnesota Wild 3-2, besides other things this game will be remembered by this gesture by four POC players from both teams.
Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, Matt Dumba, Nazem Kadri, and Jordan Greenway stand together during the anthem before today's exhibition game between the Wild and Avalanche. pic.twitter.com/QKh0zxc8Fn— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) July 29, 2020
Other News and Notes
In the next edition of our new series Matt’s explaining why the Lightning would want to face the Florida Panthers in the first round of playoffs (and it’s hard to disagree after yesterday’s game) [Raw Charge]
Over the course of Tampa Bay’s existence, they hold an all-time record of 62-53-10-13 (W-L-T-OTL) against Florida. Since Jeff Vinik’s purchase of the Lightning in 2010 they’ve held a 27-9-4 record against the Panthers with the only losing record coming in the 2015-2016 season where the Lightning went 1-3-1 against them.
Cal Foote hasn’t been included in an extended Lightning roster for 24-team tournament, but a young defenceman had a solid training camp, Joe Smith reviewed his and Alex Barre-Boulet’s progress [The Athletic, paid content]
This is not to say that it’s a guarantee Foote will make the Lightning roster next fall. But with just three defensemen currently under contract (Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Braydon Coburn), Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak due raises as restricted free agents, Tampa Bay will be hard-pressed just to squeeze those five in the flat $81.5 million cap. The Lightning already have over $76 million committed to 15 players, so there will have to be tough decisions to make it work. Sliding Foote in at his entry-level deal, just below $1 million, could be a solution.
Alex KIllorn presented a new look during Phase 4.
Apparently the Lightning have brought to Toronto a pane of glass signed by their fans.
How cool is this? The #TBLightning had fans sign a pane of glass that's been installed at Scotiabank Arena for today's game against Florida.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 29, 2020
Just as cool -- the players signed a pane that's been installed as a safety barrier in the emergency room at a Tampa hospital. https://t.co/ZJ3NDSGRfB
The Chicago Blackhawks released a statement to their community.
Reportedly the AHL is planning to start the 2020-21 season as early as December 1.
AHL UPDATE:— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) July 29, 2020
Earliest start date for the season is 12/1 for 72 game schedule, or 1/1 for 60 game schedule.
Vote coming 8/4 on those options, with 9/15 deadline for teams to opt in/out on 2020-21 season.
NHL is funding covid testing for AHL; other issues still being worked out.