(Photo by Gabby Shirley)
By Jake Ricker
The Lightning kicked off the preseason with a matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, but things did not go their way. Here is everything that happened through the game and some of the key takeaways as the Lightning get set for the 2022-23 season.
The hurricanes looked like the better team early, and they would be rewarded as Gage Gonclaves took the first penalty of the game. The Lightning PK unit got to work, though, and shut down the hurricanes and killed off the penalty. Nick Paul, Brandon Hagel, and Ross Colton then got to work for the Lightning generating a few great chances in close, but Anderson stood tall and kept them off the board.
The Lightning then got a power play chance as the Hurricanes would take a hooking penalty. The Lightning would generate a few opportunities, but the Hurricanes killed off the penalty and got back to full strength. The game then quickly turned into a battle of the goaltenders, with both Anderson and Legace making save after save.
Both teams would pick up a few more looks on offense as the period would come to a close. Despite the Hurricanes dominating the stats, the Lightning had played well. Especially considering the Hurricanes had the more "NHL" heavy lineup.
The Lightning got off to a strong start in the second period putting some pressure on the Hurricanes. As the Lightning kept up the pressure, the top line was able to draw a penalty to give the Lightning their second power play chance of the night. Despite a few good looks on net, the Lightning were once again shut down on the power play, and we would remain scoreless.
Legace also continued to impress as the Hurricanes tried to make a push of their own, but he kept everything out of the net. The Hurricane's pressure would then be rewarded as the Lightning took a penalty midway through the second. Things then finally paid off for the Hurricanes as Svechnikov blasted one from the point to take a 1-0 lead.
Namestnikov then went off to the races with a partial breakaway, but he was unable to get a clean shot off and the Lightning still trailed by one. The Hurricanes continued to take control of the period as the Lightning took another penalty late in the second. The Hurricane's power play success would continue as they deflected a shot from the point past Legace for a 2-0 lead.
The second period would then come to a close, and the Lighting found themselves trailing by two and would need a big third to tie this one up.
The Lightning opened up with a quick chance in the third, but the Hurricanes again responded. Haden Fleury then made a nice defensive play. Unfortunately for the Lightning, things started to fall apart quickly as Aho and Jarvis made two great plays to beat their defenders and give the Hurricanes a 4-0 lead.
The Lightning then finally got themselves on the board as Vlad Namestnikov found himself alone in front of the net, where he waked the puck past Anderson to make it a 4-1 hockey game. The Hurricanes would get one last chance on the power play late in the third and once again converted to make it 5-1.
The game would then come to a close, and the Lightning would drop the first preseason game to the Hurricanes by a final score of 5-1.
Despite the score, the Lightning had a few positives to take away from this game. Legace was the most impressive, stopping 41 of 46 shots. There were a few goals we are sure he would want back but considering he went up against a lot of NHL-caliber players; it was a good outing. The Lightning got their fair share of chances, with a goal being scored by Namestnikov and lots of quality chances from Colton, Hagle, and Paul.
Not everything went well, though, for obvious reasons. The Penalty kill was the weakest point for the Lightning, going 2/5. The Hurricanes made quick work during the man advantage, and the Lightning were never able to get too many good clears and relieve pressure. Roman Schmidt got undressed by Aho during this game, which led to a Carolina goal. I'm sure he will be looking to forget that one soon.
Overall though, it wasn't an awful game for the Lightning. The important thing to remember is this is only the first preseason game, and there is a lot of time for the team to get their feet under them.
Three Stars Via NHL.com
1. Andrei Svechnikov (1G,1A)
2. Dylan Coghlan (3A)
3. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (2A)
The next preseason game will be on Thursday, September 29th, against the Nashville Predators at 7:00 PM.
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