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Lightning Round: Winning is better than losing

Sighs of relief from across the Tampa Bay region as the Bolts tie the series

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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Lightning scored early and held on late to tie up the series. It was an interesting game statistically as the Stars racked up a lot of shots (12 of their 29) on the power play but only scored once with the extra skater. The Lightning only had 6 of their 31 shots on the power play, but scored twice.

Tampa Bay eeked out an edge in all of the underlying offensive stats like Corsi, Scoring Chances, and High Danger chances, but the broadcast seemed to think the Stars controlled most of the game. In reality it was a close game, which we expected, with both teams having moments.

Power play shots and goals count just as much to the final score as even-strength ones so if a team is putting up a ton of shots with the extra skater it influences the outcome. Winning the even strength battles, but losing the special teams ones can lead to just as many losses as being on the wrong side of the 5v5 battle. The good news is that the Lightning did convert their opportunities with the extra man early and had the Stars chasing for most of the game.

Last Night’s Game:

The Lightning changed up the line-up and won. Power play goals from Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat gave them an early lead while Kevin Shattenkirk’s even strength goal was the difference. Andrei Vasilevskiy was very good in net. It was nerve-wracking as the Stars worked their way back into the game, but the Lightning held on for the 3-2 win.

A few minutes later the Stars picked up another penalty away from the puck and the Lightning were back at work. Buoyed by their early goal, the Bolts first unit moved the puck around with alacrity and purpose, keeping the Stars penalty killers on the move. Kucherov slid a pass across the ice to a wide open Ondrej Palat who buried the shot.

A recap from the other side of the ice as Defending Big D explains things from a Stars point of view.

The series is now tied 1-1, making it effectively a best-of-five heading forward. Overall, both teams have shown why they won their respective conferences, and there’s no reason to believe either one will run away with the Stanley Cup. Then again, the last time the Stars let up three goals in a Game 2 loss they ended up winning the series in just five games...

Links from Around the League:

Another Tampa Bay Lightning prospect appears to be heading to Europe to start next season. Center Otto Somppi has reportedly been loaned to the Lahden Pelicans of the Finnish Liiga (where he’ll play on the same team as Jesse Ylonen, the son of former Bolt Juha Ylonen). Somppi started last season in Orlando but played his way into a consistent role with the Syracuse Crunch, scoring 5 goals and adding 13 assists. With the details of the AHL season still uncertain at this point, it makes sense for a prospect like Somppi to head overseas before the rosters are filled out. Defenseman Dominik Masin made a similar move earlier this summer.

Blake Coleman is the first born-and-raised Texan to play in the Stanley Cup Final. As you might have guessed, he was a Stars fan growing up. His favorite player was Joe Nieuwendyk fan. He talks a little about that and life in the “concrete jungle” that is the Edmonton bubble in his fifth installment of his Hub Diary for The Athletic (subscription required).

A few guys went over to the soccer/football field and were kicking field goals. Victor Hedman hit a 50-yarder. Ondrej Palat hit one too. I think Zach Bogosian also did. Not me. I didn’t have football in my genes, even growing up in Texas.

Lightning fans might have preferred if Joel Hanley had quit hockey and become a firefighter. Then he wouldn’t have been on the ice to score the series-opening goal for the Dallas Stars. Ken Campbell writes an in-depth look at what the 29-year-old rookie has gone through to make it to the NHL. It hasn’t been easy.

As Joel Hanley sat on the Dallas Stars’ bench in a daze after the goal, he thought a little bit about the long and winding journey he’d taken to be in that moment at that time, about how he almost gave it all up to become a firefighter in his first year of pro, how playing in the Cup final was so far removed from his days of playing Jr. C hockey in his hometown after being an overwhelmed 16-year-old at the London Knights training camp.

Our very own Lauren Kelly will be releasing her final 2020 draft rankings later today here at Raw Charge, but in the meantime the folks at The Athletic (subscription required) put together a mock draft. Unless the Lightning make some deals prior to the draft, all the names mentioned will be long gone before they get around to making a pick. If you don’t have a subscription I’ll spoil it for you - Alexis Lafreniere is heading to the Big Apple.

The Rangers need more top-line talent, and Lafreniere is all of that. He might not play on the first line right off the bat in 2020-21, but he will soon thereafter. They also love that, while he’s not considered a talent on the level of a Conor McDavid, he’s not far behind.

Too early to be talking about expansion and protected roster lists? Not if you’re in the Canadian media, I guess. TSN looks at the seven Canadian-based teams and who they might prevent from being taken by the Kracken. With the likelihood of two drafts, one free agency period, and one trade deadline still to happen before the expansion draft, there’s a high probability that there will be many, many changes to lists like this.

In a frozen cap world, will Montreal have converted draft assets and cap space into protection-worthy players by the time the 2020-21 season rolls out? Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin and maybe even Philip Danault could be up for grabs on the trade market over these next weeks.

Another week and the league announces that there are 0 positive cases of Covid-19 in the bubble. It looks like they may pull this off. What will be interesting is to see if they can pull any lessons learned from the bubble and apply them to the start of regular season play next year, whenever that may be. [NHL PR Twitter]

The NHL announced the winners of some major awards prior to the game on Monday night. The following folks get some shiny new hardware to put on their trophy shelf, or store in a box in their parent’s basement.

Calder Trophy (top rookie): Cale Makar

Hart Trophy (MVP): Leon Draisaitl

Norris Trophy (Best blueliner): Roman Josi

Victor Hedman finished third in voting

Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender): Connor Hellebuyck

Andrei Vasilevskiy finished third.

Ted Lindsey Award (Most outstanding player voted on by NHLPA): Leon Draisatl

While no Tampa Bay Lightning players won an individual award, a couple of familiar names popped up on the second All-Star Team. Congratulations to Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov.