Sergachev shows why the Lightning should keep him

by Gary Shelton on October 20, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Sergachev celebrates with Stamkos./CARMEN MANDATO

Sergachev celebrates with Stamkos./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

Now? Are you going to think about sending the kid down now?

Nineteen-year-old Mikhail Sergachev said hello to the National Hockey League Thursday night. Then he said it again.

Before long, you wonder how many times he might say it further.

Sergachev scored the first two goals of his career in a 2-0 victory over the

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Vasilevskiy had a 43-save shutout./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy had a 43-save shutout./JEFFREY S. KING

Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night as the hot streak of the Lightning continued. Tampa Bay took five of a possible six points on its road trip and are 5-0-1 in their last six games.

"He’s actually made great strides as a player just in his first eight games in the league, especially these last couple games have been his strongest of the year,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “He’s earning his ice time now and he’s earning power-play time. It’s just a learning process, but you can see the skill he has. He’s got the shot. One thing was the slap shot but then to come right down Broadway and pick a corner like that, that just shows the skill set he has.”

Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov did not score a goal for the first time in eight games, but he had assists on both of Sergachev's goals.

The Lightning has two more games before making a decision on Sergachev. If they send him down, they can pick up an extra second-round draft pick. But after Thursday night, how could they?

Meanwhile, the Bolts keep rolling.

"This is a tough league to win in regardless, but Detroit was 4-1 and New Jersey was 4-1 and now you’ve got a 5-1 team (Columbus) and to come on the road with three (games) in four (days) and get five of six points, I'm extremely pleased,” said Cooper. “But what I really liked tonight was just the defensive effort. You look at the stat sheet and say we gave up 40 shots or whatever it was, but most of them were harmless. And I thought we kept them to the outside. Would I have liked to have generated more in the second and third, got a little bit away from why we had success  in the first, but bottom line is the guys dug in deep in our zone and we were able to get two points out of it.”

Also pleasing was the play of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 43 shots in his first shutout of the year (and fifth overall). Vasilevskiy has six victories this season.

The Bolts return home on Saturday night. They play the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

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