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Lightning Round: The resurgence of Ondrej Palat

Alex Volkov is recalled from Syracuse

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Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As was announced on Friday, Ondrej Palat is day-to-day with a lower-body injury after a knee-on-knee hit by Taylor Hall during the Lightning’s last game against the Arizona Coyotes. Jon Cooper hopes that his injury isn’t serious, but the Czech forward didn’t practice with the team yesterday and the team already announced that Alex Volkov is recalled from the Syracuse Crunch.

We are also hoping that Ondrej Palat recovers soon, because he has been a very important part of this season’s Tampa Bay Lightning and his solid play is one of most surprising things (in a positive way) of current season. And while the increasing productivity of Alex Killorn or rising importance of Mikhail Sergachev has been discussed a lot, it seems like Ondrej Palat has been in a shadow.

Since entering the league in 2013, Palat has been dealing with a lot of injuries. The highest amount of games he played was in his rookie season 2013-14, when he played 81 games. Since that moment, that number has drastically fallen down and during the two previous seasons, he played just 56 and 64 games respectively.

It also affected the quality of his game. Ge was still solid defensively but took a step back in producing offense. During last summer, Palat made some changes in his training routine and it brought some good results.

This season Ondrej Palat is playing mostly with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. According to Moneypuck.com, their line is second in the league in expected goal share, trailing only the Pacioretty-Stephenson-Stone line, while spending more time on the ice together.

http://moneypuck.com/lines.htm

His individual stats are also trending up. Per Evolving-hockey.com he’s getting 0.78 ixG/60, which is the highest number over his career. Palat’s also ranked high among his team, he is fourth in expected goals per 60 minutes, behind only Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and surprisingly Carter Verhaeghe. He’s also second among the team in shot attempts percentage at 55.52%, a little bit behind Nikita Kucherov.

Palat’s defensive numbers remain outstanding. This visualization from Micah Blake McCurdy’s site Hockey Viz clearly illustrates his impact in defensive zone. With him on the ice, the Lightning allow many less shot attempts.

https://hockeyviz.com/player/palaton91/T.B/1920

Lightning Org News

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced yesterday the recall of Russian forward Alex Volkov who made his NHL debut earlier this season [Raw Charge]

In 25 games for the Crunch this season, Volkov has recorded just two goals, but 13 assists to give him 15 points. This is a departure from his previous two seasons with the Crunch where he scored 23 goals in each season and had 22 and 25 assists. His overall scoring pace is down just a touch, but he is scoring a lot less goals and a lot more assists than he did the previous two seasons.

Joe Smith from the Athletic revealed his grades for every Lightning players for the first half of the season [The Athletic, paid content].

J.T. Miller joined Dan Girardi on his podcast.

The Syracuse Crunch lost to the Laval Rockets in a game with a lot of goals.

Hockey News

Nashville Predators’ blog On The Forcheck reviewed every goal scored in the league by goaltender, after their own goalie Pekka Rinne scored a goal on a Thursday night.