Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars: The best vs. the mediocre

The Lightning might be the last team the Dallas Stars want to see right now.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars: Game# 46

Time: 8:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: American Airlines Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: FSSW, SunS

Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D

The Lightning head to Dallas for their first meeting with the Stars this season. How are things going in Texas?

I have not been able to change the culture of mediocrity

Oh my. You know a team is struggling when the head coach admitting that his team is mediocre isn’t the worst quote coming from the organization.  It’s been a couple of weeks since CEO Jim Lites went on an expletive-filled tirade about the performance of the Stars’ top players. Since his rant, they are a rather mediocre 4-4 and are riding a two-game losing streak in which they’ve scored a total of two goals.

As a bit of a shake-up they traded forward Devin Shore to Anaheim for Andrew Cogliano who is basically an older, more expensive version of Shore. Is it the move that is going to get them back on track and moving up the standings in the Central Division? Unlikely. The good news is that no one else other than the Winnipeg Jets seem overly interested in winning so they are still holding on to a playoff spot.

As for the two players Lites called out specifically, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, well they’ve been pretty good. Benn has 3 goals in the 7 games since the comments while Seguin has 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists). They just haven’t been getting much help from the rest of the forwards. It could be a struggle for them to keep up with offense of the Lightning.

Turning to the Lightning, they are looking to bounce back from a rather poor showing against the New York Islanders. Their habitual slow start finally caught up with them as they gave up three goals in the first period en route to a 5-1 loss.

In past games, their offense has been able to bail them out of their early deficits as they have posted an outstanding 16-7 record when giving up the first goal of the game. They also have a 10-6 record when trailing after the first period and they are 6-6 when trailing after two. With their offensive firepower, they are never out of a game. No matter what the score may be.

Andrei Vasilevskiy took the loss in the match against the Islanders, surrendering 4 goals on 27 shots. So should we be worried? The young netminder has seven losses (including OT losses) on the season. In the games he’s started following a loss, he’s 5-0 (not counting the start following the Ottawa overtime loss because he was hurt in practice after that game and missed a bunch of time).

His last loss prior to the one against the Islanders came against San Jose on January 5th. Vasilevskiy followed that up with a 31-save shutout of Columbus, so I wouldn’t be worried about him too much.

The condition of Victor Hedman may be of a slightly higher concern. He left the game after colliding with referee Chris Rooney. He was holding his face in obvious discomfort. Per coach Jon Cooper, he was not in the concussion protocol after the game, so that’s good. We’ll have to assume he’s day-to-day at this point and may miss the game against the Stars. We will update if any news comes out during the day.

Potential Lines

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller

Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Scratched: Adam Erne, Danick Martel


Ryan McDonagh- Anton Stralman

Dan Girardi - Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Scratched: Victor Hedman?


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Dallas Stars


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Erik Condra

Valeri Nichushkin - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick

Andrew Cogliano - Roope Hintz - Blake Comeau


Esa Lindell - John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak

Julius Honka - Taylor Fedun


Ben Bishop