Welcome to this edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stock Up and Stock Down, a weekly column detailing the highs and lows of the team’s performance.
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished off a successful week by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime on Saturday night (Dec. 3). Previously, they fell to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night (Nov. 29) 3-1 before rebounding to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night (Dec. 1) to conclude their brief three-game road trip.
Alex Killorn provided the winner in overtime against the Leafs in what head coach Jon Cooper described as “a weird game.” Those sentiments were echoed by players and coaches on both sides, summed up nicely by the Leafs’ John Tavares after the game. “It was hard to find any rhythm and flow, We can’t just put it on the officials, but certainly in a competitive game like this, two good teams, there’s some tight [calls] there.” Taveras was referring to the fact that there were 15 penalties called in the game, giving the teams 11 combined power-play chances.
Stock Up: Lightning Milestones
The Lightning played in their 2,300th game in franchise history on Saturday night. Also, on Saturday, Corey Perry played in his 1,200th career game, adding two assists in the winning effort. The 37-year-old is the 122nd NHL player to reach that milestone.
He has been a major contributor to every team he has played with, a necessity to play this long in the NHL. He spent the first 14 seasons of his career with the Anaheim Ducks before playing one season with both the Dallas Stars and the Montreal Canadiens before joining the Lightning.
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Also on Saturday, Steven Stamkos was honored by the team and the NHL as he became the first Lightning player and 95th in the NHL to reach 1,000 points Thursday night at Philadelphia. In that ceremony, he received a Tiffany Crystal from Don VanMassenhoven, who represented the NHL, and an engraved gold stick from Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. This will undoubtedly be one of the many ceremonies that the Lightning will have for a player that has been such an integral part of the team’s success.
Stock Down: Another Shorty
There are categories that a team would be happy to lead the league in. Giving up shorthanded goals is not one of them, yet the Lightning lead that category after giving up another one on Saturday night. In what could only be described as guys playing like it was Sunday night rec league, the Lightning’s sloppiness with the puck led to two Mitch Marner attempts at a shorthanded goal, with him sniping the second one past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Reckless, inexcusable. Pick your own adjective, but the bottom line is that the Lightning must get better at controlling the pick on their own power play if they want to have any success this season.
Stock Up: Cirelli Returns
Anthony Cirelli made his season debut following offseason shoulder surgery on Friday night. He promptly made an impact as he set up Killorn for the overtime game-winner against the Leafs. “It felt great just to be out there with the guys,” Cirelli said after the game. “It’s awesome. It’s been a while.” Some say too long, but the Lightning have at least held their own while he was out. He is a significant player for the team, and his return makes the Lightning a much stronger and deeper team.
Stock Up: Pat Maroon
Much has already been said and written about the unfortunate comments made by the Boston Bruins’ play-by-play announcer concerning Maroon’s weight during Tuesday’s game. This will not be re-hashed here since it’s already been covered, and the particular announcer who made the comments does not deserve any more publicity, good or bad. What needs mentioning is the classy response that was given by the 34-year-old who decided to turn a negative into a positive when he asked people to donate to Tampa Bay Thrives, a nonprofit assisting those struggling with mental health and substance use issues by providing navigation, access, and awareness.
It has been very heartwarming to see the positive responses to Maroon and the foundation, of which the veteran forward donated $2000 himself. It was somewhat unfortunate to see some who are not fans of the black-and-gold make excuses for his comments, saying that he was joking. Even though the announcer finally apologized on Friday, the uncalled-for and unnecessary comments should not have been made at a time when so many, including the NHL, are trying to make others aware of important social issues.
Stock Up: Vladislav Namestnikov
The Lightning did respond shortly after giving up the shorthanded goal on Saturday night as Namestnikov scored his first goal of the season, a welcome relief for the 30-year-old and the team. In ending a 23-game scoring drought, Cooper described Namestnikov’s celebration as something that “blew the roof off a little bit when he scored that one.”
The Lightning, who are 8-2 in their last ten games, will host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night (Dec. 6), the Nashville Predators on Thursday (Dec. 8) and will finish the week hosting their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers on Saturday night (Dec. 10).
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Jim Bay writes about the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators for THW. A retired Special Education Teacher, Jim enjoys writing about hockey and all sports when he is not slashing his way around local golf courses. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Jim on Twitter. (https://twitter.com/baysports007)