Lightning Round: Stars of the Week for the Bolts
Honestly, only two players stood out over the past week.
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished the week with a 1-1-1 record. Following a shootout win against the Colorado Avalanche they dropped a shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes. A weird loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday finished off their road trip and week. Looking at the stats revealed, that for one of the few weeks this season, the scoring wasn’t led by the top line. Brandon Hagel, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov combined for just one goal in 29:49 of 5v5 time together.
There was a touch of bad luck as they did combine for a 2.39 xGF and put together 34 scoring chances. Unfortunately 13 of those scoring chances came against Arizona where Conner Ingram decided to be the second coming of Ken Dryden.
With the top line finally slowing down for a few games, they needed some scoring from the other lines. Enter Vlad Namestnikov (2 goals), Anthony Cirelli, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Corey Perry, the even-strength goal scorers of the week. Kind of a motley crew there, eh?
On the special teams front, it was a good week for the penalty kill. First of all, the Lightning were only shorthanded six times and they killed them all off. For a team that’s averaging 3.16 times shorthanded per game, cutting it down to just 2.0 per game is a positive trend.
The power play for Tampa Bay wasn’t as positive. They had 12 opportunities and converted just one of them (Steven Stamkos against the Golden Knights). Had they been able to record even one power play goal against the Coyotes in their 5 chances that would have been another point in the books for them. There aren’t going to be many nights when they generate 13 power play scoring chances with 12 shots on goal and not put one in the net.
With four games coming up this week, including two against division rivals, the Lightning are going to want to get their power play, and their top line back on track.
Stars of the Week:
1 Game Played, 0 Wins, 26 Saves, 1.00 SV%, 0.00 GAA, 1 Shutout
It’s not often that a player, even a goaltender, is going to make this list with just one appearance, but Elliott was really, really good against the Coyotes. He just got outshone by Ingram. While it was the Lightning that lit up the Arizona net for most of the night, when the Coyotes did get the puck into the zone, they had some quality chances.
Elliott was credited with 9 High-Danger saves and posted a 2.59 Goals Saved Above Expected. With his players fading in front of him in the third period due to their back-to-back games, Elliott was able to secure a point with 13 saves. Considering he hadn’t played in 8 days makes it even more impressive.
3 games played, 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 7 Shots, 8 Shot Attempts, 0.64 iXG
After a slow start in his second stint with the Lightning, Namestnikov finally got the puck to go into the net. Even with the two goals last week, he’s still on the wrong side of the expected goals mark. He has 6 actual goals with an individual expected goals of 8.1. Perhaps he’s starting to find his finishing touch. His goal against Colorado was one of the team’s best of the season:
Vladdy with perfect form on that swan dive #TBLvsCOL— Lightning Radio (@BoltsRadio) February 15, 2023
Vladdy Namestnikov ties it again for the Lightning, as called by @DaveMishkin
🎧: @1025TheBone or Lightning Radio 24/7 on the Lightning app pic.twitter.com/nMnXyPhuro
Lightning / NHL News
Three things we learned from the Lightning’s road trip [Tampa Bay Times]
Scoring first is nice. Ending the first period with the lead is even better as the Bolts are 20-0-1 when hitting the first intermission up on the scoreboard. The players on the third and fourth line had a good week, which might help them keep their jobs as the deadline creeps closer.
TRAAAAAAAAADDDDDEEEE [Blueshirt Banter]
The New York Rangers continue their quest to win the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline as they acquired a little depth up front in Tyler Motte. They sent Julien Gauthier and a conditional 2023 seventh-round pick. It’s the second year in a row that the Rangers have picked up Motte around the trade deadline as they sent a fourth-round pick to Vancouver last year to secure his services.
Could Motte have been on the Lightning’s radar? Possibly. He’s a bottom-six forward that can kill penalties and had a contract that would not have required too much cap manipulating. Would he have been an upgrade? Other than adding a little speed, probably not.
Timo Meier day-to-day with an upper body injury [Corey Masisak Twitter]
The most coveted player at this season’s deadline is going to miss at least one game as the deadline moves under the two week mark. Could it be the case that he has an extremely minor injury and the San Jose Sharks don’t want to risk further injury? Possibly. Could this be a “sit him out for trade-related reasons” under a different name? Also possible. Will it affect his trade value? To be determined.
Jonathan Toews off of the trade market [Second City Hockey]
The team released a statement about the health of their captain. Toews is dealing with symptoms of Long COVID and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. He hasn’t played since the All-Star Break and will likely be out a little while longer. He dealt with CIRS back in 2021, missing the entire season and now will be off of the trade market.
Best of the Stadium Series [Carolina Hurricanes]
A compilation of the best moments from Saturday’s outdoor game in Carolina. Looks like everyone had a good time.