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NHL: Lightning Fall to Blackhawks 5-2 at Home

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Photo: NHL.
TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Tampa Bay Lightning were seemingly in control of Thursday night’s matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks as they took a 2-0 lead to the locker room at the end of the second period. They had outshot Chicago 27-17 to that point, but failed to convert four power play opportunities.
The missed chances cost the Bolts in a major way in the third period as the Blackhawks opened fire on backup goalie Curtis McIlheney with five third period goals, surpassing the Lightning 5-2 in Amalie Arena.
Chicago collected five goals, with four coming in a 7:07 stretch in the third period. Winger Dominik Kubalik recorded a hat trick with his third goal coming at even strength at the 17:29 mark of the third period.
“It was something special,” said Kubalik, who has consistently been able to contribute multi-goal games this season. “Just trying to do the same thing and be around the net because lots of goals are laying there and I have been lucky.”
Kubalik had earlier connected on the Blackhawks’ lone power play goal of the evening when he scored at 11:43 on assists from Duncan Keith and Alex Debrincat. It was Chicago’s fourth game in a row with a power play marker as the Blackhawks had a season-high of three power play goals in Tuesday night’s 6-5 loss to St. Louis.
Kubalik leads all NHL rookies with 29 goals and has seven goals and three assists in his last seven games.
“We have done well since we got together,” said Kubalik of his move to the power play line. “The first couple of power plays were good and they just didn’t go in. We just stayed with it and kept shooting.”
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead at the 15:31 mark of the second period when center Brayden Point scored his 23rd goal of the season on assists from Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov. Point collected the puck and literally circled the left face off circle in the Chicago zone. He fired the puck past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford on the weak side.
“It’s frustrating, but they are all frustrating when you lose,” said Point. “You can look at the good things that come from games. We have to go to practice tomorrow and see what we did wrong to fix and move on.”
The Lightning scored immediately in the third period to take a 2-0 lead as Nikita Kucherov connected on his 31st goal of the season. Kucherov literally golfed a pass from Point into the net by collecting the puck at the bottom of the right circle.
The Lightning lost their fourth consecutive game after winning 22 of 25 in moving to the 40-win plateau. Tampa Bay is currently sitting at second in the Eastern Conference, with 85 points and are seven points off the conference and Atlantic Division leading Boston Bruins.
“It’s obviously a tough one to swallow,” said defenseman Victor Hedman. “We did a lot of good things for 42 minutes. We take a couple of penalties and they score right after one and then on the power play. At the end of the day, you can’t give up five goals in one period.”
The power play was a major issue for the Lightning as they were 0-for-5 on the evening while missing on all 11 shots with the extra man advantage. The team is 2-of-19 over the last seven games.
“We didn’t have that much success,” Point noted. “Tonight, new unit, new guys, different spots. We had to throw pucks at the net. Tough to digest tonight with new guys in new spots.”
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Kenneth Cross is a Florida National News sports contributor. | sports@floridanationalnews.com

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Lightning Sign D Mikhail Sergachev, F Anthony Cirelli and D Erik Cernak to Eight-Year Contract Extensions

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TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak each to an eight-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

Sergachev, 24, has skated in 362 career regular season games, 358 of them with the Lightning, notching 36 goals and 174 points. He ranks fifth all-time in Tampa Bay franchise history among defensemen for goals and scoring and fourth for assists (138). The former ninth overall pick (of Montreal) in the 2016 NHL Draft has also played in 92 postseason games and posted eight goals and 30 points. He ranks second in Lightning history among defensemen for playoff games, goals, assists (22) and scoring. Sergachev’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $8.5 million.

Cirelli, 24, has skated in 294 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, recording 66 goals and 159 points. During the 2021-22 season, Cirelli posted 17-26—43 points in 76 games played, one point shy of his career high 16-28—44 pts. from the 2019-20 season. He led Tampa Bay forwards for blocked shots (67), ranked sixth in the NHL for penalties drawn (42) and finished fifth in Selke Trophy voting in 2021-22. In postseason play, Cirelli has notched 14 goals and 34 points in 92 games, ranking 11th all-time in Lightning playoff history for scoring. Cirelli’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $6.25 million.

Cernak, 25, has skated in 226 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, posting 16 goals, 59 points and a plus-51 rating. During the 2021-22 regular season, the Kosice, Slovakia native notched a goal and 13 points and led the Lightning for hits (165) in 55 games. Cernak has played in 73 career postseason games, recording two goals and 19 points. He netted the Stanley Cup-opening goal in Game 1 of the 2021 Cup Final versus Montreal, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to net his first career playoff goal in a Stanley Cup Final. A second round selection of the Los Angeles Kings (43rd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Cernak was traded to the Lightning on February 26, 2017. Cernak’s eight-year contract is worth an AAV of $5.2 million.

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NHL: Lightning Re-Sign Forward Simon Ryfors to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract

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Simon Ryfors had two goals and an assist in the Lightning’s 5-2 win over Nashville in the opening game of the NHL Prospect Showcase Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena. Photo: Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times.

TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Simon Ryfors to a one-year, two-way contract, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced.

Ryfors, 24, played in 72 games during the regular season for the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate, posting 11 goals and 35 points, ranking tied for seventh on the Crunch for scoring. He also skated in five Calder Cup Playoff games with the Crunch and notched a goal, assist and a plus-four rating.

The Stockholm, Sweden native originally signed with the Lightning organization on May 12, 2021. Prior to that, he skated seven seasons with Rogle BK of the SHL, tallying 41 goals and 93 points to go along with 165 penalty minutes in 250 games. He set career bests in the SHL in 2020-21 for goals (25), assists (20) and points (45).

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Lightning Acquire F Brandon Hagel, Two 4th Round Picks from Chicago

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Forward Brandon Hagel. Photo: NHL.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Tampa Bay Lightning // The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Brandon Hagel, Chicago’s fourth-round selection in 2022 and fourth-round pick in 2024 from the Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, Tampa’s first-round selection in 2023 and first-round selection in 2024, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. Both first-round picks the Lightning are sending to Chicago are top 10 protected.

Hagel, 23, has played in 55 games so far this season for Chicago, recording 21 goals and 37 points. Hagel ranks second on the Blackhawks for goals and game-winning goals (3) and fourth for scoring and power-play goals (4). In 108 games with Chicago over three seasons, Hagel has posted 30 goals and 61 points. He made his NHL debut March 11, 2020 versus San Jose, the only game he played during the 2019-20 season. Hagel is under contract through the 2023-2024 season with a salary cap number of $1,500,000.

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