Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

A disallowed Drouin goal saps early Lightning momentum (w/video)

TAMPA — Amalie Arena was rocking a little more than five minutes into Tuesday's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final when Jonathan Drouin slammed the puck into a yawning net and the Lightning had a momentum-swinging 1-0 lead against the Penguins.

And then it didn't.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan challenged the goal, and a replay review showed Drouin was offside as Victor Hedman carried the puck across the blue line.

No goal. The momentum was gone. The building was quiet.

"We dodged a bullet there," Sullivan said.

It was a pivotal moment in the Lightning's 5-2 loss. There was still more than 44 minutes to play in the game and the Lightning came to life during the final 20, but momentum is so important in playoff hockey. So are leads.

Now the Lightning has to win Game 7 on Thursday in Pittsburgh to advance to its second consecutive Stanley Cup final.

What might have happened had Drouin's goal stood?

"I thought it was an important part of the game," Sullivan said. "If they get the first goal it lights up the building."

How deflating was it to see a goal come off the scoreboard?

"It didn't seem like it would be (deflating)," Brian Boyle said, "but it might have been."

Sullivan, taking advantage of the new rule that allows coaches to challenge offsides and goalie interference, challenged that Drouin had entered the zone ahead of the puck. Replay officials in Toronto, with the help of cameras on both ends of the blue line, saw that, by letter of the rule, Drouin did.

Skating up the far boards with Hedman to his left, Drouin tried to halt his progress by sticking his right skate in the ice. In doing so, he leaned forward, causing his back (left) skate to come off the ice. With his right skate already across the blue line, it was ruled Drouin was not straddling the blue line and thus already inside the offensive zone.

"It's part of the game," he said. "I can't worry too much about it."

Because the Lightning lost, coach Jon Cooper said it's easy to say having that goal denied was a game-changer.

"It was really early in the game. I felt we had lots of energy," Cooper said. "It would have been nice if that counted, but I don't think something that early should have an impact on the game, so no."

Comments
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Published: 12/12/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blues

Andrei Vasilevskiy might have made the save of the year. With the Lightning leading by one midway through the second, an Alex Steen dump-in took a wild carom off the boards. Vasilevskiiy somehow sprawled out for a right-toe save. Then, on his back, V...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

The Lightning's west coast trip will start with a bang tonight in St. Louis.Tonight's game will pit the top two teams in the NHL, with Tampa Bay (21-6-2) atop the Eastern Conference, the Blues (21-8-2) the No. 1 team in the West.Fittingly, an NBCSN-a...
Published: 12/12/17