It was a goalie duel between the two kids in net from start to finish.

Tonight was a goalie duel between two of the League’s best young starting netminders in Andrei Vasilevskiy (23) and John Gibson (24). In the end, The Tampa Bay Lightning triumphed over the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 2-1.

The game began like a Harlem Globetrotters episode featuring the Lightning as Harlem, but ended up a hotly contested and fairly even affair.

Here are my stream-of-consciousness notes during the game.

First Period

Right off the bat, Corey Perry goes to the box for hooking Victor Hedman and the league’s most deadly power play gets an early chance. Sadly, the first power play unit was unable to create anything dangerous. The second unit was able to get something going, with Tyler johnson getting a shot off in the slot, but the puck was stopped by Ducks’ goalie John Gibson.

The Ondrej PalatBrayden PointYanni Gourde second line have been buzzing early. They have already been able to turn defensive zone starts into offensive zone time twice in this game, and we are barely five minutes in.

On the third instance of this, with Nikita Kucherov taking a shift on the right side, Palat nearly buries one in the Ducks’ net but is denied by Gibson, yet again. The shot clock hits 12-4 and the shot attempt clocks reaches a whopping 25-8 with that chance. Gibson is standing on his head early.

With great skill comes great puck-luck.

Steven Stamkos speeds into the offensive zone and heads to the blue paint while Anton Stralman throws the puck on the net. Stamkos is able to corral the rebound Gibson created off the initial shot and throw it to the net while he is falling. Unfortunately, he is robbed by Gibson’s right toe. This kid might be good.

The period comes to an end, but not before Gibson makes a quality save off an Alex Killorn tip of Vladislav Namestnikov’s tip of Hedman’s wrister. Lots of tips and Gibson saw them all. I’m not turning into a Ducks fan, I swear!

After One

The first period comes to a close with the Lightning showing their dominance all over the score sheet. The Lightning doubled up the Ducks or better in shots (17-7), shot attempts (34-13), and scoring chances (18-9). Corsica.Hockey tracks High Danger Shots Against (HDSA) for each goalie and the Lightning lead in that statistic by a margin of 4-1.

Second Period

The Ducks come out of the intermission on the front foot and pepper Andrei Vasilevskiy with several early chances, including a breakaway from Derek Grant. The young goaltender is up to the task and stops them all.

1-0 (Finally)

Brandon Montour takes a hooking penalty, the second of the game for Anaheim, and the Lightning go to the powerplay. A Kucherov shot set up by Stamkos gets Gibson sprawling, during the chaos Namestnikov puts the puck into the open cage. Powerplay goal!

Mikhail Sergachev dangles Chris Wagner at the point before rushing to the net and setting up a potential goal for Ryan Callahan but he is stopped at the goal line. The attempt is reviewed to make sure the puck did not get across the goal-line and the call on the ice is confirmed. No goal.

Namestnikov is carrying the puck into the offensive zone but blows a tire and falls down. The puck goes the other way as Vladdy heads to the bench. His replacement, Ondrej Palat, comes onto the ice just as Braydon Coburn retrieves the puck. Coburn sends a bullet to Palat who is alone on a breakaway but is stopped by Gibson. Brandon Montour, who was sliding on the ice to try and poke-check the puck away from Palat, plows right into Gibson. Stopping the Duck definitely hurt more than the puck as both are slow to get up. Thankfully for a injury riddled roster, both stay in the game.

After Two

Well, we got a goal! Anaheim has caught up a little bit, also known as not doubled up, in shots (12-7), and shot attempts (27-21) in the period. Scoring chances, in fact, were even for the period at 13-13. In total, Tampa Bay is still running the show with an impressive 29 shots on net in the game, Anaheim only has 14 shots.

Third Period

Kucherov, Stamkos, and… Dan Girardi?? combine for a nice 3-on-2 rush where Stamkos is able to let loose a nasty one-timer that Gibson somehow finds a way to stop. More larceny from the 24-year-old.

1-1

As is third-period tradition across the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning crawl into a turtle shell while up by a goal. This allows Anaheim to sustain some offensive-zone time and gain a few offensive-zone faceoffs. The resulting pressure leads to Andrew Cogliano throwing the puck on from the point towards a crowd of bodies that includes Jakob Silfverberg, the Duck that is able to shoot home the reboud, finally beating Vasy.

That may have only been the 18th shot against Vasilevskiy but he has had to be sharp and solid all night in order to keep the score as close as it is. Both young starters have played incredibly so far in this game.

So, umm, during the commercial timeout, John Gibson left the ice and ran to the locker room to potentially go to the bathroom or get some equipment adjusted. In any case Gibson almost doesn’t make it back to the ice in time for puck-drop, forcing the Ducks to announce that Reto Berra was coming in. Thankfully for Berra, Gibson returns right in the nick of time. Berra keeps his 0:00 TOI intact.

2-1

J.T. Brown scores his first goal of the season! His shot on John Gibson from the slot was the product of some great hard work behind the net by the two big Bolt veterans: Callahan and Kunitz. Callahan is able to separate the defenseman from the puck, which allows Kunitz to grab the puck and find an open Brown who is in the soft spot on the ice, just to the right of the slot.

Brown is the 16th different Bolt to score a goal this season. 19 different skaters have points this season for the high-flying Lightning, leaving only Gabriel Dumont and Andrej Sustr pointless so far this season. Both have only played in seven games so far so there is still time!

Callahan tries to get around his man while on the forecheck but takes a holding penalty instead. On the penalty kill, the Ducks’ set piece forces Vasilevskiy to make a splendid sprawling save that may or may not have gone in. The play is put under review and the referees declare it to be a no goal because the referees could not physically see if the puck did not cross the goal line. Vasy makes some more quality saves and the Lightning survive the penalty unscathed.

With a minute and a half to go in the game, Anaheim pulls their goalie. The fourth line of Kunitz-Callahan-Brown along with Stralman and Coburn do a great job of keeping the Ducks to the outside. The second line comes on with Girardi and Hedman to help try and close the game.

They do, and the Tampa Bay Lightning improve to 14-2-2, and are the first team to 30 points on the year.


I would personally give Vasy or Brownov a star but Gibson, Vladdy, and Heddy are all very worthy recipients. Lots of great players in this game.

More numbers!

All of my stats can be found at HockeyStats.ca — they are where I go to keep up with live games.