It's difficult for me to feel confident that things have been corrected with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thursday's win against the New York Islanders was their finest, most complete effort of the season. That was a game that is the typical blueprint that past-team successes have been built upon.
But that's just one game. One win.
The challenge for the Lightning now is to recreate that effort, and not stray too far from it as they have for too many games to start this season. The Bolts need to build on things that they did right, and show that their effort Thursday was not an aberration.
In other words, they have to win again. To accomplish that tonight, they'll have to do it against a hot Buffalo Sabres team.
The Lightning and Sabres open a home-and-home series tonight, with the two teams squaring off again in Buffalo on Tuesday. For the Sabres, who have 10 points in 6 games this season, they're coming off a shut out victory over the Panthers in Sunrise last night. 3-0 the final in that game. Ryan Miller was the starter for that one, could the Bolts face him in the second of back-to-back starts? Or will they see Jhonas Enroth? Seeing Miller faced only 22 shots from the Panthers last night, it's a safe bet he'll be in net again for Buffalo.
As for the Lightning goalie situation, Mathieu "Non!" Garon has been the better of Tampa Bay's goalies, it would be wise to give him another start in goal tonight. That's not to write off Dwayne Roloson, but more to emphasize he needs to get his head on straight. The Roloson we've seen this season has been more scattered than the one who carried he team to the brink of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Thomas Vanek is tearing up the league in early going this season. He's on a goal-a-game pace, and 10 points on the season... Oh, and he's a Lightning killer on top of that. Vanek has scored 22 goals in 24 games all-time against the Lightning. That includes three hat-tricks to his name. If the Bolts are due to repeat their effort from Thursday night's victory over the Islanders, they'll have to contain Vanek.
Since being scratched versus the Panthers last week, Lightning forward Teddy Purcell has 3 points in two games played.
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