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Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev contrite about 'huge mistake'

DIRK SHADD   |   Times   Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) move the puck while on the ice against the Vegas Golden Knights during second period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/18/18).
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) move the puck while on the ice against the Vegas Golden Knights during second period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/18/18).
Published Jan. 25, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Most of his teammates had already boarded the first bus back to the hotel after Thursday's morning skate, but there was Lightning rookie D Mikhail Sergachev, still on the Wells Fargo Center Ice.

Sergachev, 19, a healthy scratch for the second straight game, spent an extra half-hour working out with the other scratch for the game against the Flyers, F Cory Conacher.

It's tough to sit. But Sergachev understands. He has been struggling; he is minus-6 in his past eight games. And Sergachev took a bad penalty Monday against the Blackhawks, mouthing off at the referee and throwing a towel, resulting in a four-minute Chicago power play.

"Huge mistake I made, putting myself in that situation," Sergachev said. "First off all, the cross-check in the face. Then unsportsmanlike conduct. I'm disappointed with that. Definitely won't do it again."

Sergachev said Monday was an emotional game, and the Blackhawks were successful in getting under his skin. He went through a similar stretch in juniors last season with Windsor, taking too many of what he called stupid penalties. Eventually, Sergachev found his way back. He said practices could help him.

"Obviously, I'm struggling," he said. "Now I'm just trying to work my way out of it."

Sergachev believes this is just a blip. Players have often said that sitting out a game and watching gives them needed perspective. Captain Steven Stamkos went through something similar as a rookie and took notes during games.

"I think it's impressive at (Sergachev's) age that he's in the National Hockey League," coach Jon Cooper said. "That's the way you've got to look at it. At the end of the year, he's going to have a lot more games in the lineup than out. It never hurts to take a step back, watch and learn. He's a really, really talented player and has got a long future in this league."

Slap shots

G Andrei Vasilevskiy started Thursday at the place he made his NHL debut. … Tuesday's tying goal in the overtime win against the Predators was a signature moment for Steven Stamkos' season, but it also might have been one for D Slater Koekkoek, too. Koekkoek set the play up with a savvy shot fake before feeding Stamkos. "It felt good. 'Stammer' was happy. He thanked me profusely for the pass," Koekkoek said. "Not one of his most memorable, but one of mine, for sure." … Thursday's game was the Lightning's last before the break for the All-Star Game in Tampa.