Steven Stamkos scored his 1000th career NHL point, assisting on one of Nick Paul’s two goals in a 4-1 Tampa Bay Lightning win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrei Vasilevskiy had so much free time in this game, only having to stop 21 of 22 shots, he got himself an assist on Cole’s goal in the third period. Brandon Hagel also scored for the Lightning in the win.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had three shots in nine minutes on the night he passed Antoine Roussel for the most NHL games played by a Frenchman. Bellemare spent some time away from the team earlier in the week to visit his ailing mother, who raised him and his four siblings alone in France, driving between countries on a regular basis so Bellemare could play hockey. Bellemare didn’t make the NHL until he was 29, with the Flyers coincidentally, and has now played 608 games over nine seasons. Congrats to the Bellemare family.
The Lightning got to an early lead on the Flyers, and faced very little pushback for the rest of the way, apart from a little score effects at the end of the game. Despite leading, the Lightning had an astonishingly easy second period where they out-shot the Flyers 24-3 (14-1 on net). At 5v5, the Lightning carried 65% of the shots, 77% of the expected goals, and a shocking 91% of the high danger scoring chances. Pretty fitting on Stamkos’ big night. 77 is a pretty nice coincidence, too.
Colton and Hagel led the Lightning in scoring chances with three each.
The Lightning owned the offensive zone, while the Flyers never felt bothered with the front of the net, choosing instead to try and score from the wings. They did once, but it wasn’t an effective strategy as Vasilevskiy had no problems moving laterally.
Just a lineup note for the start, the Lightning went with 11 forwards, so Kucherov was taking offensive shifts with Vlad Namestnikov’s line pretty regularly. Cooper went back to his heavy fourth line without Koepke and Perbix as the extra defender.
It was a tepid start to the game as both teams had zone time but weren’t generating any actual chances.
Hart robbed Killorn alone in front as Hedman took a shot for a rebound while the defenders were caught high in the zone.
Perbix had a one-time chance. Kucherov followed it up with a backhand on a breakaway. Point drew a power play. All this happened during some back and forth play, Vasy had to make some big saves.
PAUL! The first unit couldn’t get a goal on the power play — Hart got a piece of Stamkos’ one timer — so the second unit gave it a go and they succeeded! Nick Paul scored his 10th of the season in front of the net, fed to him from behind the net by Perry. Clever feed, and the Lightning have power play goals in nine consecutive games.
The Lightning comfortably carried the majority of the play, with 53% of the shots and 57% of the expected goals (and 100% of the real goals). Especially jarring was the 15-8 margin in scoring chances from the slot. Kucherov had the biggest rush chance, and Stamkos was creating a lot of chances near the front of the net for Killorn and Paul.
STEEEEEEEEVVVVAANNNNNNN STTAAAAAAAAAAAAMKOSSSSSSSSSS gets the assist on NIIIIIIIIIIICKKKKKKKKKK PAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLL’s second goal of the game and 11th of the season to double the lead against the Flyers. Stamkos’ primary assist was his 1000th point in his legendary NHL career.
ALLLLLLL THE HUGS FOR STAMMER pic.twitter.com/Phi5Lj4wVm— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 2, 2022
Point no. 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/jjxNLmTp4J— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 2, 2022
We're not crying, you're crying pic.twitter.com/kBa7Q638wc— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 2, 2022
Maroon drew a holding penalty on Ristolainen, giving the Lightning another power play. Kucherov and Stamkos played some catch (thanks for leaving the slot open, Flyers) but Hart was playing out of his mind. This should be a 4-0 game at this point.
Hagel drew a penalty on MacEwen by...well simply existing. Hagel ha dumped the puck into the offensive zone from the red line and two beats later MacEwen ran him into the boards from behind. Thanks for the free power play, I guess.
BAGEL! Brandon Hagel scored with only four seconds left in the period to make it a three-goal lead for the Lightning.
The Boss buildin' that lead pic.twitter.com/bA3RWpeo3k— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 2, 2022
The kind of game I described in the preview this morning is exactly what the second period looked like. The Lightning scored twice, but were also able to hem the Flyers indefinitely in their own zone, making two line chances while keeping the same exhausted Flyers in the defensive zone. The first seven minutes I don’t think the puck was on the Lightning’s side of the red line for more than 10 seconds. Shots at the end of the period were an astonishing 24-3, and among those three shots for the Flyers only one was on net and zero were scoring chances.
The Flyers had a brief bounceback where they spun off a handful of shots at the start of the third, but Vasilevskiy was tracking the puck well and never felt out of control.
Cole dumped the puck in front aaaand the puck goes off the end boards, off Hart’s skate pad, and into the net. On a night where Hart was playing really well despite the team in front of him, this was cruel. Cernak and Vasilevskiy got the assists. This is Vasilevskiy’s 17th point in his career and first of the season. Vasilevskiy has gotten a point in seven straight seasons.
Konecny got the Flyers on the board as the Lightning started to hang back and let the Flyers move around them. Eventually they scored. Hopefully that woke the Bolts up from their mid-game nap.
Welcome back, Travis Konecny. Nice feed from Travis Sanheim to set him up. pic.twitter.com/f8Ocs2KNek— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) December 2, 2022
The clock ticked down without any events. Ballgame!