Quick Strikes: Lightning lose to Panthers for third time in preseason, 5-2

...And Stamkos reminded himself of the location of his own net.

First, we would like to extend our best wishes to fellow blogger Bill Philp of Lightning Shout. Bill posted yesterday that the blog will soon cease operations due to his health. We hope that he fully recovers as quickly as he can, and that Lightning Shout will once again add to the voices of the fans in our fine hockey town. We’re thinking of you, Bill!

The Bolts

GeoFitz4 is back with a “short” recap of last night’s Panthers-Lightning game, which the Bolts lost 5-2 on the back of a Jared McCann hat trick (and a Steven Stamkos own goal).

Stop me if you’ve heard this. The team seemed to have trouble coming out with much jump in the first period. They slowly warmed up through the game, but by then, it was way too late, and they had already dug themselves a hole by allowing goals and not scoring any of their own.

The most consistent line all game was the Stamkos line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov. Through the game, at even strength, that line had a 60.71% CF% and had 61.11% of the shots on goal while on the ice. At the end of the first period, the Ondrej Palat-Tyler Johnson-Brayden Point and Alex Killorn-Yanni Gourde-Ryan Callahan lines had yet to record a single shot attempt in their favor.

Both lines cleaned it up as the game went on, but still ended up with some sad stats with both lines pulling themselves up into the 33% range after the second period. At the end of the game, the Johnson line was at 44.44% and the Gourde line was at 46.67%.

In addition, the Johnson line was on the ice for three goals against. One bright spot in the game was the Cory Conacher-Cedric Paquette-JT Brown line. They consistently had good possession numbers in each period and ended the game at the 70% mark, and controlled 75% of the shots on goal while on the ice.

I know that over the past few days in particular, I've seen a lot of fans lamenting prospects being sent to the AHL or hyping up certain other unproven prospects. And at the same time, they've maligned Paquette and Brown in particular.

Prospects are very much like the Mystery Box scene from Family Guy. Peter and Lois Griffin go to a timeshare presentation. At the end, their reward for sitting through the presentation is either a brand new boat or a mystery box. Lois starts to say we'll take the boat but Peter stops her and says "But the mystery box could be anything. It could even be a boat!" and Peter takes the mystery box which turns out to be two tickets to a comedy club.

Fans looking at prospects compared to veterans can be a lot like Peter. Particularly when you're looking at certain roles like what Paquette and Brown are expected to play on the roster, there's something to be said for guys with experience that have proven themselves capable of those roles versus the still unknown potential of a prospect.

In this game, the Paquette line was the Lightning's best possession line. They didn't score goals, but most importantly they kept the puck on the other end of the ice for the most part and didn't allow any goals. There's not much more than you can ask of a fourth line to do for your team.

If you want to read the Cats' side of the story, here you go. Jared McCann's preseason hat trick leads Panthers past Lightning 5-2. "Jared McCann scooped up a single red hat in front of the Florida bench. It rested on the tip of his stick momentarily before he removed it from the ice. McCann had his hat trick. A Panthers fan celebrated accordingly." [Sun-Sentinel]

Neat: Lightning head coach to host 2nd annual Coop's Catch for Kids on Oct. 3. "Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper will host the second annual Coop's Catch for Kids charity fishing tournament, presented by Heritage Insurance, benefitting the V Foundation and other local pediatric cancer initiatives, on Tuesday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m." [NHL]

Tampa Bay Lightning sign third-round pick Alexey Lipanov to an entry level contract. "Lipanov only played in one preseason game for the Lightning, the opening game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He played well on a line with Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh, and the line got even better when Raddysh and Alexander Volkov switched places." [Raw Charge]

Raw Charge Thinks about Thoughts: faceoffs and salary caps. "Unlike last week there are no direct thoughts involving the Lightning. There are a couple of casual mentions, one concerning Brayden Point and the other about the Lightning showing interest in a draft pick." [Raw Charge]

Peter Budaj and the not-so-idle life of a backup goalie. "Peter is a great veteran," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. "He did a good job in L.A. and for us he did a good job not in just the games he played but for his impact on our teams, and that's one of the reasons we brought him back." [TBO.com]

The Crunch

Uncertainty of last season helping Syracuse Crunch's Erik Condra brace for the unknown. "About the only thing forward Erik Condra has been able to count on for certain the past year is that if there's a plane taking off somewhere nearby, there's a good chance he might be on it." [Syracuse.com]

Syracuse Crunch look to turn page after Calder Cup Finals loss last season. “How long did it take for you to get over that finals loss? Was it a whole summer thing?” 'The Crunch head coach, whose team fell in six games to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Calder Cup Finals in his first year behind the Syracuse bench last season, smiled and shrugged. While Groulx believes his team had a good showing, it was tough to come up just short.' [Auburn]

AHL's All-Star Classic returning to Utica this season. "The league announced on Thursday that the Comets have been selected as host of the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino on Jan. 28-29." [Syracuse.com]

That one continuing story

Editor's note: If you find a good article that states your case, please feel free to drop it in comments. Politely. Thank you!

It’s lonely living among hockey’s silent majority. "There were fewer than 30 Black NHL players last year in the NHL, the whitest of the four major sports and one largely removed from the issues of the anthem protests." [Toronto Star]

Steven Stamkos would support a teammate's protest. "I see it as someone that has that right, and is using that right to fight for someone's beliefs in that. That's the great thing about this country, is you can do what you feel is right and everyone is going to have their own opinions." [Tampa Bay Times]