TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Saturday’s chippy scoreless game led to shoot outs, and put the Panthers up 1-0 to top the Lightning in the preseason finale. Last night’s match became an unexpected neck and neck showdown. The Panthers and the Lightning battled it out just to get on the board, the Panthers with 28 shots on goal to the Lightning’s 26, but the score remained 0-0. In the first period, the Panthers looked to set up and maintain more puck possession than the Lightning, evoking the Tampa’s defensemen’s strengths. Of course, it helps to have one of the best goalies in the net, Vasilevskiy.
The Bolts came out skating a bit harder in the second period. We saw more play setups and shooting, but it seemed as if they were taking too much time to set up for goals. Early in the second period, Cedric Paquette got tangled up with a couple of Panther players, causing an undisclosed injury. Shortly after Paquette left the game, coach Jon Cooper also pulled Tyler Johnson, later saying that he pulled Johnson more for precautionary measures rather than a worrisome injury.
The loss of Paquette and Johnson was unfortunate, but we saw a lot of talent out of Verhaeghe with his skating and puck handling. Coach Cooper said that Verhaeghe has come a long way in the past two years and it’s been impressive to watch. He added that he has good hockey smarts and we caught many glimpses of that in the game. As for Verhaeghe sealing a spot on the roaster, Coach said we’ll see what happens over the next couple days as they make their final cuts. Verhaeghe said that he’s played hard and at this point it’s not up to him if he makes the roster, so we’ll see what takes place soon.
Tampa Bay showed a lot of physicality throughout the game, which will be a force in the coming season. One of the Bolts’ advantage is that their defensive players are not afraid to take offensive opportunities. Defensive player Luke Witkowski has played forward in the last two games, which can bring a versatility to this team. Another defense player stepping into a combination role is Erik Cernak, a physical defensive player who took five shots on goal. He’s not afraid to go for the slap shots on the perimeter.
Cooper said that regardless of the loss that he liked what he saw in the game, his players played very well and now it’s time to finalize the roster over the next couple of days and focus on the home opener. The Lightning will host the Panthers again Thursday night to officially begin the 2019-2020 NHL season.
Stay tune with Florida National News for this season’s Bolts coverage!
Kasey Hudson is a Tampa team contributor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
Lightning Sign D Mikhail Sergachev, F Anthony Cirelli and D Erik Cernak to Eight-Year Contract Extensions
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.
NHL: Lightning Re-Sign Forward Simon Ryfors to a One-Year, Two-Way Contract
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).
Lightning Acquire F Brandon Hagel, Two 4th Round Picks from Chicago
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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