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Lightning Round: Cole Koepke scores his first NHL goal

It took awhile for everyone to realize it, but the rookie finally has one in the goal column

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Coach Jon Cooper was a little put off prior to Sunday’s game when a reporter insinuated that Cole Koepke might be benched in favor of newly acquired winger Rudolfs Balcers.

“I don’t know why you’re pointing out Koepke,” he answered with a quizzical expression on his face. That being said, there is no doubt that the pickup of Balcers has put a few players on notice that their spots in the line-up aren’t as a secure as they once were.

Coach Cooper did mix things up a little as he put Koepke on the fourth line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Pat Maroon while moving Corey Perry up to play with Ross Colton and Vlad Namestnikov. While each line did surrender a goal at 5v5, they played alright. Perry and his new line generated 6 scoring chances and had 75% of the shot attempts while they were on the ice. The new fourth line was also positive in scoring chances by a margin of 3-1.

A hybrid fourth line also managed to score a goal. And what a milestone goal it was as Cole Koepke finally picked up his first NHL goal, even if no one realized it at the time.

As you can see, everyone thought that the puck went off of the post, however, a review determined that it actually caromed off the back of the net and out. The rookie starts the play with a strong forecheck that had the Capitals player bailing out on the pass. As Maroon plays it back to the point (and the Point), Koeple reads it and heads to the front of the net. No one else was there so it was a good place to be.

Point spies him and puts the puck on his stick. It’s a nice, soft first touch and Koepke takes it to his backhand in a race to beat goaltender Charlie Lindgren to the far post. The winger wins the race and elevates it into the back of the net. It was a really nice play for the young forward and with that weight off of his back, perhaps the goals will start coming at a more frequent pace.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning beat Capitals [Raw Charge]

Four first period goals were a welcome sight for a team that has struggled to build multi-goal leads. Keeping the Capitals from generating much offense for most of the night was an even more welcome sight.

Not a bad night for Mikhail Sergachev:

The defense was a little shorthanded for the game:

Lightning expect Balcers to push for ice time [Tampa Bay Times]

“I would single a lot of guys out,” Cooper said. “He [Cole Koepke] might be one of them. Listen, the general manager is trying to improve the team any way he can when he sees the opportunity. And when something like this happens, the tentacles of a few players have probably gone up. So, I wouldn’t just single him out.”

ESPN Power Rankings [ESPN]

Previous ranking: 7

Preseason O/U: 103.5

Points pace: 95

Next seven days: @ WSH (Nov. 11), vs. WSH (Nov. 13), vs. DAL (Nov. 15), vs. CGY (Nov. 17

The Bolts have played to a 100-point pace for the past five seasons, but some injuries and an average start for Andrei Vasilevskiy have them missing their standings target for now.

Thomas Chabot to miss at least a week with a concussion [Sportsnet]

Chabot was injured during Saturday’s 4-1 victory in Philadelphia when he was checked from behind into the boards by Flyers forward Travis Konecny in the third period.

Chabot, who scored in the first period to knot it up 1-1, did not return to the game. No penalty was called on the play.

John Tortorella expressed his pleasure at the effort the Philadelphia Flyers have given during their three-game losing streak. Of course, he did it in his own unique way.

New Jersey Devils win streak is at 9 [All about the Jersey]

Their goaltending duo is currently Akira Schmid and Nico Daws. They are without their big free agent acquisition, Ondrej Palat. It doesn’t matter as the Devils keep winning. They are currently atop the Metropolitan Division and their 24 points trail only the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights. They just might be for real this season.

New rule changes to be discussed at NHL GM meetings [Sportsnet]

Will we see some rule changes following the GM meetings this week? According to Jeff Marek, it’s possible that some tweaks might be coming to video review and coach’s challenges.