GAME SUMMARIES–(Home Team in CAPS)
LIGHTNING 6, Islanders 2
Goals: Point (10), Sustr (2), Gourde 2 (8), Namestnikov (11), Kunitz (4)
Saves: Vasilevskiy (29), 18-4-1
LIGHTNING 5, Avalanche 2
Goals: Stamkos (12), Kunitz (5), Namestnikov (12), Killorn (3), Point (11)
Saves: Budaj (28), 2-2-1
LIGHTNING 4, Jets 3 (OT)
Goals: Gourde (9), Sergachev (7), Kucherov (20), Point (12)
Saves: Vasilevskiy (17), 19-4-1
SEASON: 21-6-2, 44 points, 1st place in the Atlantic Division
- Any time you finish a four-game home stand 4-0-0, you’re doing a lot of things right and the Lightning were no exception after they completed their own four game sweep with a 4-3 overtime win against Winnipeg Saturday night. During the homestand, Tampa Bay averaged five goals per game and only allowed an average of 2.25 goals per game. In these four wins, they outshot their opponents 137-108. successfully killed six out of seven penalties and extended their consecutive games streak with a power play goal to nine. Not a bad formula for winning four straight home games.
- From a numbers standpoint, the Lightning are leaving no doubt as to why they are currently the best team in the NHL. They lead the league in goal differential (+36), goals per game (3.8) and power play percentage (28.4%) and tied for the league lead with St. Louis in wins (21) and points (44). Defensively, they are strong as well, allowing a NHL fifth best goals per game (2.5) and sporting the eighth best penalty kill (82.6%) through the first third of the season.
- For the first time this season, the Lightning won the majority of their face-offs for the week. They won 93 of a possible 173 face-offs (53.7%) in their three games last week that included a 33-25 face-off victory against the Islanders and a 35-26 margin over Colorado. It’s a trend the Lightning need to continue as they embark on a four-game road trip.
- One way Tampa’s opponents are attempting to slow down their explosive offense is by being more physical. This strategy was on full display last week when the Islanders, Avalanche and Jets combined to out-hit the Lightning 67-50. Even though Tampa Bay won all three games last week, it will be interesting to see if more of their opponents will adopt this philosophy and how the Lightning will adjust to a more physical style of play.
- Despite coming away with a 5-2 victory over Colorado, the game showed that the Lightning need to acquire a better back-up goaltender. Peter Budaj, who earned the victory against the Avalanche, is the current back-up and his play in five games this season has made it clear that general manager Steve Yzerman needs to make a deal to improve the team’s goaltending roster.
- If you’re a fan of the Ottawa Senators, the season, so far, has been a major disappointment. Coming off their Game 7 double-overtime loss to Pittsburgh in last year’s Eastern Conference finals, Ottawa fans expected to see another extended playoff run. Instead, the Senators are 9-12-7, 19 points behind the Lightning in the Atlantic Division and only five points ahead of last place Buffalo. Now comes word that the ownership and management in Ottawa have asked all their players with modified no-trade clauses, including All-Star defenseman, Eric Karlsson, to list the teams they want or don’t want to be traded to. It seems a fire sale in Ottawa is in the offing.
THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
- Brayden Point–3 goals, 1 assist, 4 points, 1 game winning goal
- Yanni Gourde–3 goals, 1 assist ,4 points, 1 game winning goal
- Tyler Johnson–5 assists, 5 points
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
- Tuesday–at St. Louis
- Thursday–at Arizona
- Saturday–at Colorado