Victor Hedman leads Lightning shorthanded against Kings, 6-4
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the LA Kings 6-4 in a late-night rumble at Crypto.com Arena. Victor Hedman finished the game with two goals and an assist playing a full 32 minutes for his team after injuries prevented the team from being able to dress only 16 skaters (four defensemen) before the game.
Mathieu Joseph and Nikita Kucherov both finished with a goal and an assist at key moments in the game, with new All-Star Steven Stamkos adding two more points to his scoring bag. Andrei Vasilevskiy was unspectacular, but he stopped 32 of 36 shots in the win, saving his best work for the third period where he saved a few goals at crucial moments.
In addition to Hedman’s 32 minutes, Ryan McDonagh skated 29 minutes, Mikhail Sergachev skated 27, and Cal Foot 24. All the guys contributed (except the fourth row who only played eight minutes).
Going back to this roster thing, the Lightning had to play with only four defensemen (Hedman, McDonagh, Sergachev, Foote) because Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta and Zach Bogosian were all injured and the team had no more space to call. up to Andrej Sustr or Daniel Walcott. The Bolts had the players available to have six defensemen, but the NHL doesn’t give cap exemptions until they’ve played on the roster (meaning they can call those guys up for the consecutive weekend. ). Also, the Taxi Squad exemption is only for COVID protocol players, apparently.
It’s happened to a few teams this year, including Toronto who used their EBUG overnight, so that’s the rule. I don’t agree with that, I think if you’re missing one person, you take care of it, but if the team has to lose two skaters, it’s not acceptable. Teams should be able to have a minimum for each position – 11 forwards, five defenders, one goalkeeper – and create an exemption for that. This is my proposal.
Unfortunately, none of the Lightning players received the memo to stay outside the penalty area to save the defenders from the penalty spot as there were 20 PIMs given out in the second half alone in this very hectic game. Things calmed down in the third, which helped the Lightning shut things down and head to Anaheim with two points.
Boris Katchouk fired a high-sticking penalty minutes into the game. The first unit on the power play didn’t advance much, but Corey Perry unleashed a slapshot that headed for the top corner before Cal Peterson deflected it.
It looked like the forwards and defense had traded places for a shift, as Hedman got a breakaway and lasered the puck into the top corner to give the Lightning the lead in the first period. Hedman stole the puck from Anze Kopitar, who was trying to pass it back to Olli Maatta on point, but Hedman stole the puck and just blew through everyone to get the breakaway. Okay, Heddy, you can put cruise control on now, save that energy.
Despite only having 16 players, the Lightning took too many calls from men they had to kill. They didn’t give up any shots, while Cirelli got a shorthanded chance on an offside face-off.
I’m going to give the Lightning a lot of slack in this game and it’s in the first period that it starts. They were outscored 7-10, with similar odds and goals expected ratios. But they led after a period and by no means seemed exaggerated.
Stamkos almost doubled the lead early in the period, but his shot into the top corner (the same corner as Hedman’s goal) lightly grazed Peterson’s jersey and the post. I thought it was at first sight.
Stamkos gets a free wing peek off the zone entrance. He beats the goalkeeper, but can’t beat the post and he bounces around the other side.
— Raw Charge, a Champa Bay Lightning website (@RawCharge) January 19, 2022
Cirelli took an interference call for another penalty kill. Prior to that moment, the Lightning circled around the Kings for about five minutes. They roamed the lines and kept the Kings in their own zone, tiring them out. The way it ended was when the Kings had a small rush, threw the puck at Vasilevskiy, then piled on the goaltender to get a scrum for an emotional pushback. The Lightning killed the penalty by denying the Kings any kind of good setup, really well done.
Hedman was elbowed to the head, the Kings passed him and scored a goal. And then Blake Lizotte tripped Point so he could walk straight to the net. There should have been two penalties there, but none were called.
Philip Danault beat Point once play resumed, so Point chased him down and fought the former Canadiens center. Danault took a tripping penalty, but Point got roughed up to call them off. Sigh, at least Point took an important player with him.
#tblightning Jon Cooper got ticked there and can see why, he was yelling at the umpires that Danault’s hit was a kick.
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) January 19, 2022
Oh, now the haymakers get kicked out. Killorn and Stamkos were part of a pile-up in the Kings net after Sean Durzi checked Hedman in the back. Half Florida had a heart attack when Heddy came out of the scrum holding his bag and stayed on the ice. Jon Cooper couldn’t bear to watch.
The Lightning got a power play for the cross check, but Alex Iafallo scored on a long-range shot to give the Kings the lead.
But on the same power play, Kucherov fired a ball past Peterson to tie the game. Hedman and Stamkos got both assists, but honestly, Hedman should have gotten two for holding the puck in the zone seconds earlier. He got the puck in the air at a reasonable speed.
But then Pat Maroon got another penalty…
MATHIEU JOSEPH AND PIERRE EDOUARD-BELLEMARE, YOU ARE BAD BAD MEN!!! What a shorthanded goal! Joseph started the game by pulling the puck out along the boards and skating Doughty into the offensive zone. He then led four Kings in a merry chase to the corner of the area before finding PEB completely alone in the slot. From there, PEB made a dazzling deke on Peterson buried the go-ahead goal. I was overwhelmed by this goal, it was incredible.
Arthur Kaliyev scored on the same power play to tie the game with a big shot from the left wing. He aimed for the pass all the way, but it bounced off Hedman’s stick as he tried to cut the play. Unfortunate, but Dustin Brown was going to have it anyway. The main mistake was that Kaliyev passed Killorn in the spot with a few strides towards the face-off spot.
To recap, the Lightning lost the lead, won it back, and then lost it again before the period-ending buzzer, so it was evenly matched going into the third period. It certainly wasn’t the match Jon Cooper would have wanted to play tonight with just 16 guys. High-speed action, players running against each other, Norris defenders holding their backs while crawling away from the net, and key players battling and shortening the roster.
Literally anything that could have made this game harder for his team happened, and arguably half of that came from his own players. Ultimately, if Point, Stamkos, Hedman and the others wanted to play this kind of game, so be it. But even though it’s only January, I still think of May.
minutes D, a progression, after two periods of play:
McDonagh: 10 teams, 10:11 a.m. –> 20 teams, 7:43 p.m.
Sergachev: 13 teams, 9:55 a.m. –> 24 teams, 6:34 p.m.
Hedman: 11 teams, 9:26 a.m. –> 21 teams, 9:58 p.m.
Soccer: 11 teams, 8:33 a.m. –> 20 teams, 4:31 p.m.
— Gabby Shirley (@Gabby_Shirley_) January 19, 2022
Hedman scored his second of the night midway through the third period thanks to another turnover from Trevor Moore. Point and Kucherov fought hard along the boards and Kucherov made a smart backhand pass to Hedman who was coming down with speed. After that, it was all on the Sweet Swede stick.
Vasilevskiy was on his game in the next five minutes as he stopped the Kings several times, including a huge leg save on what was likely a slam dunk goal.
Joseph earned his second point of the night with a huge one-timer with less than five minutes left in the game. Hedman gave Joseph a perfect cross pass almost to the goal line. From there, Joseph had to make the hard angle work and he did.
Joseph’s insurance goal was huge as the Kings immediately retired the goaltender with over four minutes left in the game.
Stamkos scored the empty net thanks to a lot of hard work in Killorn’s defensive and neutral zone. Game over.
I said “game over” Phillip Danault! Alas, he scored a fourth goal over Vasilevskiy, but of no consequence.