TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Thursday night’s game presented another solid effort that had an unfortunate ending for the Lightning at Amalie Arena. Coach Cooper made an agreeable comment in the post-game press conference, “we should have won that game.”
The Dallas Stars opened up the first period appearing to control the game, scoring first less than 6 minutes into the period on a power play that shifted shortly after the goal. Apparently Vasilevskiy didn’t like the feel of that, which motivated him to make some strong saves moving forward. Afterward, the whole team kicked things into another gear.
Roughly 8 minutes after the Stars goal, the Bolts got a power play due to a hooking call. Sergachev hit a slap shot on goal, tying up the game and creating momentum amongst the team. A few minutes after, Dallas had a miscommunication and too many players on the ice, serving up another power play to Tampa Bay. An electric connection sparked as Hedman set up Kucherov and Kucherov passed it in to Killorn for a goal and a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Bolts are a largely skilled team with a very talented lineup and they hit the ice in the second period showing just that. Their offensive zone time was impressive, they were creating passing lanes that cause confusion amongst the Stars. Centre Tyler Seguin even said that the way the Bolts were playing caused them to misread and play too far back. The Bolts’ defensive men were setting up perimeters that gave them time to structure plays to execute. 3:52 seconds into the period, Sergachev took another shot on goal that deflects off of Palat to take Tampa to a 2-point lead. It wasn’t until 2:03 left in the second period that Dallas found a small gap, creating an opportunity to score and minimize the Bolts lead to one point.
The third period is where the unfortunate series of events began to unfold. Tampa came out continuing to control the game with double the amount of shots on goal than the Stars, but they were unable to get that much-needed extra goal. Granted, Stars goalie Khudobin is one of the highest ranked goalies in the league right now sitting at a .927 percentage and only allowing 2.29 goals per game. As Khudobin kept Dallas in the game, Dickenson landed a goal with under five minutes left to play in regulation that sent this game into overtime (the Bolts’ second overtime game this week).
The Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli had a speedy breakaway scoring the overtime goal in Tuesday’s game versus the Senators. Cirelli nearly had another moment to capitalize on, but the Stars managed to defend. Back and forth both teams went until 3 minutes in when Seguin created space to charge up the ice, putting him in a one on one with Vasilevskiy that he won, hitting the top right corner on the goal, making the final score 4-3.
Tampa’s walking a fine line for playoffs. The potential is there, the play is there, but the execution has been hard to pin down. There is still time, if the Bolts can withstand the next few match-ups. The Lightning head to our nation’s Capital for a rematch with the Capitals Saturday.
Kasey Hudson is the Sports Associate Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.