As the calendar flips to November, the Tampa Bay Lightning have their work cut out for them. A slightly above .500 October had left them six point behind the Atlantic Division leading Boston Bruins and tied with a bevy of teams at 10 points that are in the hunt for a wild card spot. Granted the end of the season is still fairly far off, but it’s never too early to start worrying about things.
The good news is that after playing only two games at home last month the Lightning have nine at home this month, including seven of the next eight. Also on the positive side, there is only one back-to-back series and that doesn’t come until the end of the month. That’s is quite a change from last month where they had three of them in four weeks. The move to a more routine schedule should get them into a regular flow.
Now, not everything is sunshine and candy drops. The level of competition that they face will be pretty steep. Of the 13 games they have on the schedule, only 4 of them will be against competition that is currently below them in the standings. The two games against Boston at the end of the month loom large, but Washington (x2), Carolina, and Edmonton will also pose quite a challenge.
It’s also a much more Eastern Conference focused schedule with only four games against Western Conference teams (Edmonton, St. Louis, Dallas, and Calgary). One of the division teams they face will be the Ottawa Senators and it will mark the first game in Amalie Arena for Mathieu Joseph as a visitor. We should see a pretty nice video package for the forward who grew up in the Lightning system and helped them win a Stanley Cup as he had two assists in the five games against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
We’ll find out pretty quickly on is this recent run of success is for real or just a mirage built on wins over lesser competition.
Lightning / NHL News
Crunch struggle to find wins last week [Raw Charge]
It takes awhile for rosters to adjust to coach Ben Groulx’s style, and we’re seeing some early season struggles, but despite having only one win on the season they are picking up some points and are only 5 points out of first place in the North. A solid week and they could be right back in it. Oh, and Alex Barre-Boulet is leading the league in scoring with 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists).
For Lightning to breakout requires an element of breaking in [Lightning Insider]
Getting everyone on the same page takes time when there are new players on the ice. The lack of familiarity has led to some goofs on their breakouts. That has led to some goals. More goals then we’re used to seeing.
Anthony Cirelli and Zach Bogosian participants in today’s #GoBolts practice while still in no contact jerseys, Victor Hedman, however, is not practicing as #TBLightning set to host Ottawa tomorrow night. Hedman missed 10 minutes of the first period on Saturday pic.twitter.com/besUzogGuf— Lightning Insider (@Erik_Erlendsson) October 31, 2022
An excellent sign for the team as Anthony Cirelli and Zach Bogosian were both participating in practice (although with the red no-contact jerseys). Their returns are not eminent, but are getting closer.
Oliver Kapanen named to the Finnish U20 squad for the tournament in Czechia. The #Habs prospect has had a strong start of the season, and will be relied up on to take a big role for the mini Lions before the WJC. #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/WH6F0hcIm8— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) October 31, 2022
Niko Huuhtanen made the roster for Finland’s Under-20 squad in a lead-up tournament to the World Juniors. The 19-year-old is off to a strong start with Jukurit, posting 4 goals and 2 assists in 13 games.
Nick Paul officially wins Halloween. pic.twitter.com/bHM36QSDhO— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 31, 2022
It’s the absolute deadpan look on his face that sells the bit.
“You’re a wizard, Mikhail!”
Parrot, Goldmember, Nick Paul really does it all.
Dallas Stars sign Matt Murray [NHL.com]
No, not that Matt Murray. With Jake Oettinger injured, the Stars signed their AHL goaltender to a one-year contract. The former University of Massachusetts netminder posted a 2-2 record with the Texas Stars so far this season.
NHL names their Three Stars of the Week [NHL.com]
Connor McDavid, Jesper Bratt, and Marc-Andre Fleury were the lucky honorees. Quite a turnaround for Fleury who was off to a rough start, giving up 18 goals in his first four games.
Rogers has had naming rights since 2010 and they’ve been broadcasting through Sportsnet since 1998. That’s a pretty solid relationship.
Tough news for the young blueliner who has 40 points in 113 career games with the Anaheim Ducks.
Some better news for Ducks fans - it looks like they are throwing it back in regards to a new jersey: