Whenever we get into the playoffs, I like to look at both teams in a series and compare their NHL playoff experience. The Tampa Bay Lightning have gotten plenty of experience in the playoffs. 11 players currently on the roster have been with the team since the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals run (or longer) and many of the other players that have been brought in have also had playoff experience elsewhere along the way. The Columbus Blue Jackets on the other hand have never made it out of the second round, so players that have been with them for a while have not had an opportunity to rack up experience or points in the playoffs.
Let’s do a quick comparison to see how far apart these two teams are in both experience and point production.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Total Games: 1225
Goalie Games: 30
Defensemen Games: 587
Forward Games: 608
Total Goals: 189
Defensemen Goals: 36
Forward Goals: 153
Total Points: 530
Defensemen Points: 192
Forward Points: 338
Columbus Blue Jackets
Total Games: 364
Goalie Games: 25
Defensemen Games: 133
Forward Games: 206
Total Goals: 45
Defensemen Goals: 7
Forward Goals: 38
Total Points: 139
Defensemen Points: 35
Forward Points: 104
From the summary, you can quickly see that the Lightning roster has played over three times as many games as the Blue Jackets. They’ve also scored significantly more, but at only a slightly higher overall per game pace. This is at least in part because top players are still top players and bottom players are still, well, bottom players.
You also will notice a trend in looking at playoff statistics that the points per game of bottom six forwards and third pair defensemen tends to go down from the regular season to the playoffs. That’s not much of a surprise though as those defensive minded players will clamp down even more defensively and also not get as much ice time as the heavy hitter lines.
- The Lightning have four defensemen and one forward with over 100 games of playoff experience.
- The Lightning’s top six most experienced players have more games played in the playoffs (82-139 games played) than the Blue Jackets most experienced player, Adam McQuaid (68 games played).
- The Blue Jackets imported McQuaid, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel at the trade deadline. While McQuaid brings plenty of playoff experience, Dzingel and Duchene bring a combined 23 games, 2 goals, and 9 points.
- 6 Lightning players have scored at least 20 goals in the playoffs, and 7 players have scored at least 10. Brandon Dubinsky leads the Blue Jackets with 9 career goals.
- Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy aren’t far off in experience with Bobrovsky having played 23 playoff games to Vasilevskiy’s 29.
- The Lightning’s leading playoff point scorer is Nikita Kucherov with 59 points in 62 games. He’s followed by Steven Stamkos’ 51 points in 66 games, and Tyler Johnson’s 50 points in 64 games.
- Victor Hedman leads the Lightning’s defense with 48 points in 82 games. Ryan McDonagh has 10 goals to lead defensemen and his 46 points is 2nd among defensemen to Hedman.
- Artemi Panarin only has 17 NHL playoff games, but is no stranger to high stakes hockey. He has 29 points in 42 KHL playoff games. He has also won a KHL Championship.
- Joonas Korpisalo, Dean Kukan, Andrew Peeke, Markus Hannikainen, Eric Robinson, and Alexandre Texier of the Blue Jackets have never appeared in an NHL playoff game. Peeke would also be making his NHL debut if he were to play a game.
- Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, Adam Erne, Mathieu Joseph, and Danick Martel of the Lightning have never appeared in an NHL playoff game.
- Scott Harrington and Lukas Sedlak are the only skaters in the series that have played an NHL playoff game and not recorded a point.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy is a career 15-11 in the playoffs with a .919 save percentage with no shutouts. He has never recorded a playoff point.
- Sergei Bobrovsku is a career 5-14 in the playoffs with an .891 save percentage with no shutouts. He has never recorded a playoff point.