Opponent: @ Carolina
Did I Watch Live?: Nope
Why Not?: Went to Ikea
Did I watch the replay?: Yup
Three Stars: 3. Kris Versteeg 2. Ryan Callahan 1. Nikita Kucherov
Worst Play: After breaking a 4-game losing streak there are no worst plays
Yes, I passed on an opportunity to watch the game live so that I could head out to the suburbs to pick up some things from Ikea. The Duchess had spilled some coffee on the couch and we needed a new cover for it. It was an excuse to ride in a car and spend some time outside of the apartment with the wife. When you work second shift hours you have to make the most of your time together and I’ve spent the last few nights with the headphones on watching the game on the computer.
We own a car but I haven’t been in it since some time in July or August. I think it was August. I can’t even remember the last time I actually drove it other then to move it on a street cleaning day. So I rode shotgun out to Schaumberg for a little Swedish shopping.
What did I miss? Only the best offensive performance since the Bolts were in Winnipeg. Four goals by four different players and a strong season debut for Andrei Vasilevskiy. The four goals double the amount the team had been able to produce in the previous FOUR GAMES and brought a little relief to Lightning Nation.
Also feeling a little bit of relief was the forward who scored the fourth goal for the Lightning - Tyler Johnson. Number 9 finally broke his scoring drought when he roofed a nifty little wrister under the crossbar on a 2-on-1 midway through the third period. The goal gave the Lightning a 4-1 lead and pretty much salted away the game.
The four goals ended up being just enough to edge out the Hurricanes, a team that had been riding a bit of a hot streak as they had won three in a row coming into the game. Vasilevskiy was solid in his return, stopping 32 of 35 shots in earning his first win of the season. It looks like he has recovered from his surgery and is ready to settle in as Ben Bishop’s backup.
Carolina would draw within two when Kris Versteeg snuck a breakaway goal past Vasilevskiy with a few minutes left to play. Jordan Staal would score the least dramatic buzzer beater in history as he scorched a slap shot past the Russian goalie with 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
Kind of a letdown finish to the game, but a win is a win is a win. Capturing two points on the first game of another four game road trip is a great way to start. It will be interesting to see if they can keep the offense going against a Red Wings team that handed them their first loss of the season.
A Jonathan Drouin Comparison:
Jonathan Drouin is stuck on the sidelines with a lower body injury. Until he returns to challenge Johnny Hockey I will be comparing him to some players with similar Lightning stats. In 33 games with the Lightning Drouin has scored 5 goals. Another Lightning forward who has five career goals for the team - Jaroslav Svejkovsky.
Svejkovsky found himself on one of the worst teams in franchise history when he was traded to Tampa in January of 2000. He would end up playing in 29 games for a team that only won 19 games all season long. He actually faired well netting 10 points (5 goals and 5 assists).
The Czech forward was a number one draft pick for the Washington Capitals in 1996. Drafted 17th overall (just after the Lightning drafted Mario Larocque) “Yogi” was part of a young nucleus for the Caps that included Richard Zednik and Jan Bulis. While a prolific scorer in the minors (he scored 58 goals for the Tri-City American in 1995-96 and 38 for the Portland Pirates in 1996-97) he never transferred that scoring touch to the NHL.
After the one partial season with the Lightning he would play 2 games for their IHL affiliate in Detroit before suffering a concussion that would end his career. He is currently serving as a coach for the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League.