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Lightning Round: Atlantic Division teams continue to be inconsistent

At least, the Syracuse Crunch have won

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images

Saturday night featured 14 games around the NHL. Let’s focus on the Tampa Bay Lightning and their opponents from the Atlantic Division.

Capitals 5, Lightning 2

The Lightning again lost against a strong team despite showing overall good performance. The Bolts were killed by a horrendous turnover by Jan Rutta early in the first period and during a one-minute stretch in the third period when the Bolts lost concentration and allowed two goals. The Lightning also lost Nikita Kucherov in the second period, after he blocked a John Carlson shot with his foot and had to leave the game. Jon Cooper didn’t have an update on his status during postgame press conference.

You can check our QuickCap and the more detailed recap is coming a little bit later.

Maple Leafs 4, Oilers 1

After firing Mike Babcock, the Toronto Maple Leafs have improved their results, winning seven times in 11 games, although their old problems haven’t disappeared yet. The Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers mostly because of a good effort by their bottom lines, as players like Alexander Kerfoot, Ilya Mikheyev and Frederik Gauthier each scored a goal, while big names Auston Matthews and John Tavares couldn’t convert their chances. The Leafs defenceman Tyson Barrie suffered an ankle injury and will likely miss several games. The team has also announced that they’re going to revisit sending Rasmus Sandin to the World Juniors

Blue Jackets 3, Senators 4 (OT)

The Ottawa Senators are playing the Lightning on Tuesday’s night. The Sens are at the bottom of the standings, but could be a serious problem for any team in a single game, which the Lightning already know as they lost to them in the first game of the season. Last night, Ottawa upset the Columbus Blue Jackets. Anthony Duclair was named first star of the game after scoring three goals, including an overtime winner, in front of his last season’s head coach John Tortorella. Duclair has blossomed on a weak team. He already scored 18 goals and is two goals away from his career-high in just 33 games.

Sabres 2, Islanders 3 (OT)

After slowing down in November, the Sabres got back on track by winning four of seven games since the start of December and earning points in six of them. The Sabres had a slow start against the Islanders and had to chase the opponent as the Islanders took a lead two times during regulation. But Buffalo eventually managed to move the game into overtime, where they lost after an Anthony Beauvillier goal. Jack Eichel extended his point streak to 16 games by adding an assist on Victor Olofsson’s goal and scoring the game tying goal late in the third period.

Red Wings 2, Canadiens 1

After posting a hideous losing streak of 12 games, the Red Wings have won their second game in a row against the Montreal Canadiens. During the game, the Red Wings were completely outshot by their opponent, as the Habs had 43 shots on goal against just 23 by Red Wings. But Jonathan Bernier was outstanding, making 42 saves. Anthony Mantha returned to line-up after missing almost three weeks due to injury.

Bruins 4, Panthers 2

The Boston Bruins finished their six-game losing streak by defeating the Florida Panthers. David Pastrnak scored another two goals and is running away from Alex Ovechkin and Jack Eichel with total 28 goals. The Panthers are currently 3-7-0 in the past 10 games and lost their best player Alexander Barkov due to injury last night.

The Standings

Aside from the Boston Bruins, who are comfortably sitting in first place, six teams are separated by four points in the Atlantic Division. The Tampa Bay Lightning still have 2-3 games in hand and a better goal differential than their opponents. With Metropolitan Division teams showing more consistent results, just three teams will very likely make the playoffs from the Atlantic DIvision.

NHL.com/standings

Other Lightning org news

Ending the article on a high note: the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday night. Boris Katchouk scored the game-winning goal.

The Orlando Solar Bears shutdown the Jacksonville Icemen and improved to 5-0-0-0 against them this season.