After a sobering loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning head out on the road for a four-game trip that takes them through Columbus and Nashville. It’s their last big road trip of the season and hopefully time together in a couple of hotels will help them get their act together.
While they are mired in a bit of slump, they aren’t that far off from clicking. Even in their losses there have been portions of the game where they looked like the Lightning that buzzed their way through last year’s playoffs and the beginning of this season. It’s just seemed to be a lack of focus at times that comes back to haunt them. There are no major flaws in their game and with a little focus they should be able to get back on track and finish things out the season strongly.
With the next two games against a struggling Columbus (3-6-1 in their last 10) they have a really good chance to start off the road trip successfully. Of course, we said similar things last week when they faced off against the Blue Jackets and they had a rough go of it by splitting the two games. They need to do better this week in order to bank the four points and keep pace with Florida.
Nashville has been on a tear recently, winning eight of their last ten to vault back into a playoff spot, although they are still a whopping twelve points out of the third spot. All of a sudden they’ve become tough to score against as they’ve allowed two or fewer goals in six of their last seven games. Not exactly what the Lightning want to run into with their recent scoring woes.
The Bolts are going to make the playoffs, but they don’t want to limp in. Now would be an excellent time to start up a nice little stretch of winning.
Every Lightning fan recognizes Sonya Bryson-Kirksey’s voice. Since 2013 she’s been singing the National Anthem prior to Lightning home games. Soon, more people around the world will become familiar with it. Sonya and her sister, Phillis McMiller, have created the Sonni Reading Project which features the former Air Force technical sergeant reading books aloud for young people.
The Lightning and the trade deadline (subscription required)
Joe Smith delves into the situation facing the Lightning as they head into the trade deadline with a pretty set roster and little cap space. Still, if anyone can figure out a way to improve the roster it’s probably Julien BriseBois.
Vladislav Kolyachonok, a 2019 second round pick for the Florida Panthers, was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch. The defenseman had been playing for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL where he put up one goal and five assists in 46 games.
Bill Daly is nothing if not an optimist. Despite Vancouver currently sporting a robust 17 players (Nils Hoglander being the latest) on the COVID-19 protocol list, the league’s second in command believes they will still complete their 56-game schedule. Sure, they might need half of the Utica Comets roster to do it, but they’re going to do it.
Three more games, two in the North and one in the East, have been rescheduled. The next hurdle for the schedule makers will come when Vancouver is cleared to resume playing.
Mathew Barzal (3 goals, 4 assists), Martin Jones (4 wins, 1.71 GAA, .942 SV%), and Brad Marchand (5 goals, 2 assists) were the league’s three stars from last week.
A nice league-wide look at who might be available over the next week as the contenders load up for a playoff run.