The Tampa Bay Lightning played their first game of the 2015 prospects tournament in Estero, Florida Saturday night. The game saw back and forth action during the first 20 minutes. In the end, the Lightning earned their first win of the tournament against the Nashville Predators with the final score being 5-1.
The game started with both teams having quality chances early. The Preds were able to score on their first powerplay chance of the game when Kevin Fiala put a shot past Lightning goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis. The lead didn’t last long as Brayden Point wristed a shot past Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros to tie up the game.
From there the Lightning dominated the game. Mitchell Stephens started what was an impressive performance when he put a rebound past Saros to give the Bolts the lead. Mathieu Joseph added his first goal of the tournament after cleaning up another rebound around the net.
The third period saw some of the same with Mitchell Stephens adding to what was a fantastic first game in a Lightning uniform after he made a fantastic move to get around new Preds goaltender Brandon Whitney. Cam Darcy added his first goal of the tournament when he put his own rebound past Whitney.
Kristers Gudlevskis played a fantastic game stopping 18/19 Nashville shots. He really impressed me with his movement in the net and his ability to see around screens. He played the first 30 minuts of the game before backup Adam Wilcox came in relief and did not surrender a goal.
Tonight I saw a fantastic group of talented prospects come together and play a sold game. It wasn’t a perfect effort by any means, but each group played a role in earning his win.
Some of the standouts to me were Jake Dotchin, Mitchell Stephens, and Brayden Point. Dotchin played a solid game in all three zones tonight. He was on the power play, penalty kill, and on the top defensive pair tonight and showed great poise and effort. He also played a physical game that really stood out.
Besides his two goals tonight, Mitchell Stephens did a lot of things well. He is very talented offensively, but he also played a solid two-way game tonight. Stephens is young, but the 2015 second round pick is a great leader and will be someone you want to keep an eye on as he progresses through the Tampa Bay Lightning system.
Brayden Point was all over the place tonight. His fantastic shot past Juuse Saros and his ability to move the puck around to his teammates are some of the reasons why is one of the organizations top prospects.
the Tampa Bay Lightning will take on the Washington Capitals tomorrow night at 7 PM. No games Monday, but the Bolts will take on the Florida Panthers Tuesday evening to conclude this years tournament.
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