)
Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning-Hurricanes: 5 things we learned

Tampa Bay didn’t play many regulars in its loss to Carolina, so it was a chance to see several players on the roster bubble.
The Carolina Hurricanes' Jesper Sellgren (56) moves the puck away from the Lightning's Jack Finley (62) during the first period of Tuesday's game in Raleigh, N.C.
The Carolina Hurricanes' Jesper Sellgren (56) moves the puck away from the Lightning's Jack Finley (62) during the first period of Tuesday's game in Raleigh, N.C. [ KARL B DEBLAKER | AP ]
Published Sep. 29, 2021|Updated Sep. 29, 2021

The Lightning opened the preseason with a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday at PNC Center in Raleigh, N.C. There weren’t many veterans on the trip — Mikhail Sergachev, Ross Colton, Mathieu Joseph and Jan Rutta were the only regulars — but it offered an opportunity to see some of the team’s younger players in action as they battle for the few roster spots available.

Here are five things we learned:

Katchouk gives off Gourde vibes

Boris Katchouk, pictured during training camp earlier this month at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon, arguably was the Lightning’s best player Tuesday.
Boris Katchouk, pictured during training camp earlier this month at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon, arguably was the Lightning’s best player Tuesday. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Boris Katchouk, who had 11 goals and 34 points last season at AHL Syracuse, is much bigger than Yanni Gourde but finds his way to the puck much like the Lightning’s former third-line center does. The 6-foot-2 forward and former second-rounder has a lot of hustle and arguably was the Lightning’s best player Tuesday. He was around the puck, quick up the ice and strong on the forecheck. Katchouk made a great feed to set up Alex Barre-Boulet’s second-period goal and almost scored his own after stealing the puck behind the Carolina net and making a wraparound move. He also played 1 minute, 41 seconds on the penalty kill.

Katchouk’s performance did nothing but solidify his standing as a contender to make the opening night roster. The spots are there, and while the Lightning believe he’ll be in the NHL eventually this season, it could be sooner than later if he continues to play with such resilience.

“People can say there’s more openings, but I think I have a mindset to come into this camp to make a statement and show why I belong here,” Katchouk said. “There’s really no outside noise. I just have to be myself, show what I’m capable of and don’t really look to the future things.”

Lot of work to do in faceoff circle

Even Ross Colton struggled in the faceoff circle, going 7-for-17 against Carolina on Tuesday.
Even Ross Colton struggled in the faceoff circle, going 7-for-17 against Carolina on Tuesday. [ KARL B DEBLAKER | AP ]

With Carolina playing at home, the Hurricanes had more experienced players suited up. But the way the Lightning were dominated in the faceoff circle has to be disappointing no matter what. The Hurricanes enjoyed a 48-19 advantage, and the Lightning’s Simon Ryfors won just four of his 17 faceoff duels. Ryfors, who is making the transition to the NHL after playing in Sweden’s top league, has great parts to his game but will have to get better in the circle. 2021 fifth-round pick Cameron McDonald was 2-for-13.

Joseph will definitely get PK minutes

If Tuesday was any indication, Mathieu Joseph will be a big part of the Lightning's rebuilt penalty-kill unit.
If Tuesday was any indication, Mathieu Joseph will be a big part of the Lightning's rebuilt penalty-kill unit. [ KARL B DEBLAKER | AP ]
Follow all the action on and off the ice

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Subscribe to our free Lightning Strikes newsletter

We’ll send you news, analysis and commentary on the Bolts weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

The Lightning are counting on Joseph taking the next step forward, and coach Jon Cooper said part of that could be more time on the penalty kill. Joseph played there a bit last season (31 seconds a game), but if Tuesday was any indication (1:13 on the PK), he should see significantly more time in shorthanded situations. It’s a compliment to Joseph’s game, a sign that he’s earned the team’s trust as a defender.

Lagace played better than his stat line

Lightning goaltender Maxime Lagace allowed three goals early but was impressive down the stretch while consistently facing pressure from the Hurricanes.
Lightning goaltender Maxime Lagace allowed three goals early but was impressive down the stretch while consistently facing pressure from the Hurricanes. [ KARL B DEBLAKER | AP ]

We know Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott will be the Lightning’s top two goaltenders, but there is a battle for No. 3 on the organizational depth chart. Maxime Lagace, who played in the AHL last season and has 17 NHL games under his belt, is in that mix. He allowed three goals in the first 23 minutes Tuesday but had no shot at stopping any of them. He settled in down the stretch, including a huge stop on a Josh Leivo breakaway midway through the third period to keep it a two-goal game and finished with 29 saves.

It’s time to take notice of Hudon

Charles Hudon doesn't immediately jump to mind when you think of players fighting for roster spots, but he played a lot on the power play Tuesday.
Charles Hudon doesn't immediately jump to mind when you think of players fighting for roster spots, but he played a lot on the power play Tuesday. [ KARL B DEBLAKER | AP ]

Who had the second-most ice time on the power play among Lightning forwards? If your answer is Charles Hudon, you win — and should probably go buy a Powerball ticket. Again, keep in mind that most regulars didn’t make the trip to Raleigh. Still, Hudon’s 2:43 with the man advantage is something to note. In fact, Hudon — who spent last season in Switzerland and has played 125 NHL games with Montreal — is quietly having a strong camp. His great feed to Ryfors in front of the net in the first period was the Lightning’s best scoring chance early on.

• • •

The Tampa Bay Times has commemorated the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover coffee table book, Striking Twice. Order now.

Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge