Tampa Bay Lightning forwards trample Edmonton Oilers’ defense in 6-3 victory
The Bolts out-classed the Oilers all over the ice. Forwards. Defense. Goaltending.
The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their Western Canadian road trip taking seven out of a possible eight points (damn you, Winnipeg!) following a 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Steven Stamkos shone once again, scoring the first goal for the Bolts, and then the eventual brace that sealed the win for the Lightning. With those two goals, he has 20 on the season for the 10th time in his career (most of those years, he also had well over 20 goals).
#TBLightning Steven Stamkos records his 10th career 20-goal season— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) December 23, 2018
Not to be out-done, Nikita Kucherov recorded the twelfth five-point night in Lightning history by scoring a goal and getting four assists en route to the win. He and Tyler Johnson were brilliant together all night, especially when the Oilers gave them half a dozen 2-on-1’s.
Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point were credited with assists on Tyler Johnson's empty-net goal, giving Kucherov 5 points (goal, 4 assists) on the night. Kucherov registers the 12th game of 5 or more points in #Bolts history. #TBLvsEDM— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 23, 2018
Connor McDavid got the first chance of the game when he was fed a great pass into the middle of the ice off the rush. He deked left, right, left, but then lost the puck on the extra move. Minutes later, Steven Stamkos and Yanni Gourde broke away on a 2-on-1. Gourde got the puck over to Stamkos, who tried to pass it back to Gourde for a tap in, but the minute winger got his stick tied up by Adam Larsson.
The third pair got caught out against McDavid’s line and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his 12th goal of the season. Braydon Coburn, Brayden Point, and Tyler Johnson all got caught chasing the puck in the corner, leaving poor Mikhail Sergachev — who just returned to the line-up after missing a few games — in no-man’s land against Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid.
Later in the period, Gourde picked up a turnover in the defensive zone, and initiated another odd-man rush. Gourde set up Stamkos for a brilliant chance in tight, but Miko Koskinen made not one, but two saves to stop him and Sergachev — who was driving the net.
Stammer would get it right on his third chance on the power play at the end of the first period. Hedman. Kucherov. Stamkos. Goal. Classic.
At the last gasp of the period, Point and Alex Chiasson got into a scuffle away from the play. You gotta love Point, he’s doesn’t back down to anyone, even though he’s smaller and more talented than 99.9% of the league. Nevertheless, the kid wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t back down when he gets bullied.
With both players in the box for roughing, McDavid broke in alone on the Lightning net. McDavid went left on Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the 24-year-old goaltender stoned him with yet another amazing pad save!
Robbed 👏 by 👏 Vasy 👏 pic.twitter.com/6A5aDjL2OI— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) December 23, 2018
The Lightning owned the Oilers in the first period. The Lightning out Corsi’d the Oilers 19-14, out-shot the Oilers 15-7, and out-chanced the Oilers 12-7. McDavid may have gotten a few good chances, but Stamkos and his line had three massive chances on their own to cancel out that potential impact. Beyond the McDavid line (who played over a third of the period), the Lightning owned the Oilers.
After Stamkos took a hooking penalty early in the second, the Oilers took advantage and scored. Darnell Nurse fired a point shot and Chiasson provided the smallest of tips that beat Vasy through the five-hole.
Jesse Puljujarvi gave the puck away to Kucherov at the Lightning blueline, and Kuch burst away all alone and sniped on Koskinen. This goal came after Kucherov’s earlier attempt on a breakaway failed when he tried to beat Koskinen five-hole right at the beginning of the period.
Barely a minute-an-a-half later, Erik Cernak fed J.T. Miller for the Lightning’s third goal of the game. This whole play started when Alex Killorn broke the ankles of Eric Gryba with a drop pass to Cernak. Miller then fought for the inside positioning in front of the net and won it over Drake Caggiula. He just had to stand there so Cernak could shoot the puck off his stick and into the net. Easy.
The Lightning continued their dominance in the shot clock, as well as on the scoresheet. Aside from a brief moment in the middle of the period, the shot-share was completely in favor of the Lightning in the second. After two, the Lightning led in Corsi (18-15), shots (12-7), but were behind in scoring chances (6-8). That ratio evens up when you add in both team’s power plays.
The Oilers did a terrible job keeping numbers back against counterattacks in this game, and it hurt them on this goal. After a winning face-off by Point, Hedman sent the puck up to Kucherov, who released Point and Johnson for a 2-on-1. Johnson set up Point for a one-timer, but Koskinen stopped it. Johnson went right to the net and buried the rebound. The goal is Johnson’s 15th of the season.
McDonagh took a tripping penalty and Leon Draisaitl scored on the power play on a quick shot from the bottom of the faceoff dot.
The Oilers tried to come back, but they ended up being out-shot for much of the third period. After an offensive chance by McDavid got broken up by Hedman, Kucherov and Johnson went back the other way, and eventually set up Stamkos for his second goal of the game. Oh, and that’s his 20th goal of the year.
And four minutes later, Johnson put the game away with a goal on the empty net, his 16th of the season. After all this, the Oilers tried to fight the Lightning, which is so sad of them. Get a life and win a game once in a while.
- The fact that the Bolts (heavily) out-shot and out-scored the Oilers in the third period, despite it being the Oilers who desperately needed a goal is just the funniest thing and it’s one of the big reasons why I love this team.
- I have to give the Oilers credit. Koskinen is a heck of a goalie. He may have given up five goals, but he took 45 shots like a champ in front of that defense. If the Oilers make the playoffs, it’s because of him, not Hitchcock.
- Holy crap did I not give Hedman enough love in this recap reading back. He was amazing. One of the only Lightning defenders to successfully stop McDavid every shift, and his ability to quickly turn defense into offense definitely threw the Oilers on their heels. Sergachev, too. He had a slow start, but really showed off his skills as the game went on. I can’t believe he’s only 20-years-old. /