The Tampa Bay Lightning got back to winning ways with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Nikita Kucherov finally scored his first goal of the season, Nick Perbix got his first career NHL point with an assist, and Brian Elliott got his second win of the season with a 19-save effort.
Alongside Kucherov on the boxscore was Mikhail Sergachev with his first of the season, Brandon Hagel with his third, and Nick Paul on the empty net. Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras scored for the Ducks in the loss. Despite some shakey defense at the beginning, Sergachev was one of three players to get a multi-point night, adding an assist to his goal. Paul paired his goal with an assist, while Victor Hedman finished with two assists.
I thought this game was interesting because I thought the Ducks were playing well. They are quick on pucks and play a fast game. They’re talented, but they work hard and have defenders that can jump into the rush. At one point I saw them go five-wide, which was pretty cool to see a team of Ducks do that.
But when I looked at the results of their actions, it was always a lot of shots against and a lot of goals against. And that’s how the game went for the Lightning. Between periods of the Ducks making things difficult, the Lightning kept peppering the net with shots and several of them went in.
Despite the Lightning having led for approximately 40 minutes in this game, they were ahead in shots 62-47 (57%), with expected goals a whopping 70% in their favor. The Lightning got to the front of the net with impunity and I think that made the Ducks losing the shots battle impossible to turn around.
I think I understand the Ducks a little better now. They have good players and have the mechanics of a good team on the ice, but they also have only two players who can float above 50% in shots and goals in games, the two I mentioned above. It’s a very clever and entertaining tank, I gotta say. I found it impressive that a guy I’ve never heard of, Brett Leason, went the perfect 0-11 on shots tonight. Shout out to that guy.
The Lightning were on the kill first with Sergachev in the box. They killed it off, but the best chance came when Sergachev was back on the ice. He got caught chasing Drysdale with the puck on the right side of the ice and left Comtois (I think) all alone at the far post. Luckily he missed the attempt, leaving the score at zeros.
Kucherov had a head in his hands moment when he was given a great opportunity to break his goal drought, but he shot the rush chance high on a feed from Hagel.
Zegras scored a few minutes later after a poor giveaway by Hedman who looked very flat footed behind his own net as he got surrounded by two sticks as his teammates tried to move up the ice. A lot of Lightning defenders (namely Myers) looked like this at one point or another in this game. Anyway, the puck went around the perimeter and Zegras got enough distance on Hedman to take a shot and beat Elliott.
Minutes later, the Lightning got a goal. Perbix, Paul, and Sergachev were doing a light cycle at the top of the zone before Sergachev threw the puck on net with Killorn in front. Somehow it went in and tied was the game. Not sure where the breakdown on the Ducks side came, if one did at all, but the Lightning were due for a goal as they had gotten about five chances before that goal in the period.
And in rapid succession, Kucherov got the monkey off his back with about a minute left in the period with a big slap shot from the wing, teed up by Hedman. There was a big defensive breakdown here by the Ducks forwards. Namely, two of them chased high to the point and were literally chasing the puck around the horn, while the center quickly realized how big of a gap there was in the middle of the ice, but couldn’t cover all the space needed as Hedman sent a 90ft pass to Kucherov and Gibson had no chance to get across and find the puck. If the Ducks have been doing this type of stuff from their second “veteran” line I can understand why they’ve lost six straight game.
It was a good period for the Lightning, who out-shot the Ducks 18-9 at 5v5, the Ducks had 15 total shots when you include their power play. The biggest positive for the Lightning was that they were carrying two thirds of the possession and getting better than that in terms of expected goals based on their shot locations. It ended up being two distance shots that went in the net, but they were doing a lot of work to open up opportunities down low.
Shattenkirk went to the box early in the period for tripping Koepke, sending the Lightning to the power play. They got four shots but couldn’t find that grade-A chance.
Myers got mugged and left in his underwear by Troy Terry who cut right through Myers and stole the puck before finding the back of the net past Elliott. Not sure what more to say on this.
just another day at the office for Troy Terry pic.twitter.com/hWLprkqFk5— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) October 27, 2022
That tying goals was a bit deflating, turning a period that probably should’ve seen an extending goal for the Lightning get back to evens. The Lightning led in shots 25-17 (60%) and put up a whole 72% of the expected goals, that’s three out of every four chances. The Lightning were definitely stretching their legs as the Ducks struggled defensively with the long change, a refreshing situation considering my last recap was the Panthers game.
Oh yeah, there’s that Hagel shooting talent I’ve been waiting for! A big shot on the second power play unit from beyond the hash marks gave Hagel his third goal of the season and the lead back in the hands of the Lightning. Up to that point, the Lightning had peppered another 14 shots towards the net and were looking like the only team of the two that was trying to win it. Assists to Sergachev and Colton on the second unit.
Nick Paul secured the victory with an empty net goal in the dying seconds. On the final faceoff, Zegras got into it with Paul, about what I’m not sure. Possibly going for the empty net with only a couple seconds left? Flimsy reasoning if that’s it. The two were battling hard when Paul overpowered Zegras for the puck and scored. Maybe it’s that. Either way, the two sides were separated and the Lightning deemed victorious.