Two teams are battling it out for the Stanley Cup on catfish-laden ice. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Lightning are not one of those two teams. In order to fill the void for Lightning fans, Raw Charge is breaking down the past season team by team to see who helped and who hurt the season.
Did Colorado help or hurt the Lightning this season?
To put it bluntly this series hurt Tampa Bay. Yes, Tampa Bay did win in February to gain two points, but not securing four points from the worst team in the NHL is a bold strategy that Cotton and I were really interested to see play out (HINT: IT DIDN’T). The Lightning missed the playoffs by one game. ONE ****ING GAME! If Tampa Bay had just won the October 20th game who knows what could’ve happened in the playoffs. [Writers Note: Yes, I know. Hindsight is a fickle thing. JUST LET ME HAVE THIS OK!?]
The rematch in February was a better showing by the Lightning; however, old (bad) habits started rearing their heads as regulation came to a close. Colorado tied it and Tampa Bay was saved in overtime by the wonderful hands of Jonathan Drouin.
The Colorado series (in addition to the Arizona and Vancouver games) was one that the Lightning had to sweep. Out of the three worst teams in the league (Arizona, Colorado, and Vancouver) Tampa Bay went 1-5, with the sole win coming against Colorado. The Lightning can’t afford to have that poor of a record against the worst teams in the league next season.
October 20, 2016: Colorado 4 Tampa Bay 0
February 19, 2017: Tampa Bay 3 Colorado 2 (OT)
Goals: Jonathan Drouin (1), Vladislav Namestnikov (1), Brayden Point (1)
Assists: Brian Boyle (1), Valterri Filppula (1), Victor Hedman (1), Alex Killorn (1)
Save Percentage: Ben Bishop: .867 SV% (6 goals on 45 shots)
Notes from the Previews:
October 20th, @dbaldwinUSF, A celebration and a reunion
“The Colorado Avalanche come into this game with a 2-1-0 record, starting off the season with a two-game winning streak before getting trounced by the Washington Capitals on the second half of a back-to-back. It is a cliché statement to make, but the Avs will almost certainly be out to prove that loss was a fluke.” [Writers Note: Oh boy did they...]
February 19th, @loserpoints, Who will weather the storm?
“Let’s start with the obvious. The Avs are bad. They have struggled in almost every area this season. The comparison chart at the bottom of the page puts a visual to it. They generate so little offense that even their defensive improvement over last season isn’t enough to keep them from being the worst team in the NHL. If the Lightning are going to make a run at getting back into the playoff race in the Atlantic, they cannot leave Denver with anything less than two points.”
Notes from the Recaps:
October 20th, @Bethelhub, Lightning Struggle to Find Offense in 4-0 Loss to Avalanche
“It just seemed like one of those games. Recording only 16 total shots on net, the Avalanche were able to put up 11 scoring chances, four of which the Bolts were unable to defend. This can be compared to the Bolts’ 27 shots with 16 scoring chances; a big difference seemed to be Colorado's defensive play.”
February 19th, @tanyarezak, Tampa Bay Lightning snitch overtime victory from Colorado Avalanche, win 3-2
“Drouin and Point have excellent chemistry. In 92 minutes of ice time together, they've garnered one goal and two assists, and a 57.9 CF%. Will we see more of this duo?”
(The only joyful moment of the series against Colorado. Please don’t trade this kid Yzerman.)
View From the Other Bench:
Ryan Murphy of Mile High Hockey weighed in on the season series between Tampa Bay and Colorado.
Ah, to be naive and hopeful! That's how we Burgundy & Blue faithful felt on October 20th, 2016, as the Avalanche handled the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Our team had just barely missed the playoffs the year before. All we needed was a new coach who had heard of possession metrics and we would be Stanley Cup bound, right? Well, it sure seemed that way after four games, off to a 3-1 record with Matt Duchene chipping in two goals and an assist—and Semyon Varlamov stopping all 27 pucks on net. Sure, the shot attempts were a little lopsided, but score effects! And the team was never going to consistently play competitive possession hockey every night right away.
Look how innocent we were! Never would we see it coming.
It goes without saying that our expectations were more realistic by the February 19th match-up. With a record of 16-38-3, we were very much looking toward the future and were happy to witness strong performances by Mikko Rantanen and Nikita Zadorov. Duchene also put in another strong showing, adding another two points, including an exciting last-minute goal in the third period to force overtime. Yeah, this one ended up a loss, but one might argue it was a stronger overall performance. (Especially after the slow first-period start.) It was also one of Calvin Pickard's stronger performances in net, posting a .925 save percentage in an abysmal year. I think most of our followers would agree that we wish more of our losses last year would have been of this variety.
The Last Laugh:
Colorado had a rough season that was made even worse during the Draft Lottery where the New Jersey Devils took the #1 overall pick. Additionally, Colorado was pushed to pick #4(LOL).
NO!— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 30, 2017
CoLOLorado, indeed.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 30, 2017
Congratulations to the Avalanche on being the first team to ever be the NHL's worst by 20+ points and not even get a top three pick.— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) April 30, 2017
The Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks can't have nice things.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 30, 2017
everything is fine meme in human form pic.twitter.com/3lGOBfqnPO— Filipovic Forsberg (@DimFilipovic) April 30, 2017