Lightning Round: Three Stars of the Week
Welcome to the Bye Week!
As we enjoy a week of no hockey (and scramble to find relevant stories for this daily post) we still have a chance to look back at last week, which was a very good seven days. After a rough end to their road trip, the Tampa Bay Lightning had three home games against three pretty good teams. In a workmanlike fashion they handled all three games, emerging with three wins.
The most impressive part of the week, where they ran their home-winning streak to 12 games, is that they didn’t need any overly impressive performances to do it. It was a pretty consistent effort all week long, something we haven’t seen at times this season.
Our Three Stars of the Week:
3 Games Plays, 1 Goal, 2 Assists, .51 xG, 3 iHDCF
Colton had a really strong game against Minnesota as he picked up two assists (on tipped goals by Corey Perry) and then broke an 8-game goalless streak when he tallied against Los Angeles. He’s been really noticeable in the last few games and if the Lightning start getting consistent offensive production out of that third line, it could ease general manager Julien BriseBois’ job at the trade deadline.
3 Games Played, 2 Goals, 3 Assists, 1.5 xG, 9 iHDCF
Nikita Kucherov gets all of the points, Steven Stamkos gets all of the milestones, and Brandon Hagel is the shiny new toy. However, the fact that Brayden Point is healthy and back to playing like a number one center is huge for the Lightning. It was another strong week for Point who put up 5 points in 3 games and is now just 4 points off of matching his season total (58) from last year. His 3.4 points/60 is the second highest of his career and his 1.8 goals/60 is the best he’s ever posted.
3 Games Played, 3 Wins, .941 SV%, 2.00 GAA, 2.81 GSAx
The Lightning needed the Big Cat to be at his best this week and he was pretty dang good. He stopped 96 of the 102 shots he faced, allowing just 2 goals in each of his 3 starts. He was also pretty solid when the opponents had their best chances, posting a .920 SV% (23 saves on 25 shots) in high-danger situations. The best players have to be the best players and he was this week.
Raw Charge Community Survey [Raw Charge]
Thank you to those who have responded so far. We’ll keep this up a few more days.
Rudy Balcers on waivers [Cap Friendly]
Balcers had been in Syracuse on a conditioning loan and the team hopes he clears so he can stay there while the Lightning are on the bye.
How Nikita Kucherov makes his team better [Tampa Bay Times]
It seems like it was just the other day that Kucherov was the dynamic young forward on the Lightning. Now he’s the grizzled veteran helping out the youngsters. To be fair he helps out the older guys as well.
Mishkin’s Extra Shift [NHL.com]
The Voice of the Lightning recaps the win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Lightning take on challenges through the week [Lightning Insider]
The Lightning faced three tough teams, the tendency to look ahead to a long break, and personal loss this week.
Crunch shut out Bruins [Syracuse Crunch]
Hugo Alnefelt made 51 saves while Alex Barré-Boulet had a goal and an assist.
Predicting Bruins’ rest of the season [ESPN]
The Bruins have been the best team in the first half of the season. Good for them. They’ve also failed to win their last two games in the state of Florida. The ESPN team breaks down what the rest of the season for them. Props to Wysh for correctly predicting the Lightning could be their toughest playoff opponent...which would be in the second round. Love the playoff format.
How Ilya Mikheyev played through a nearly entirely torn ACL [Canucks Army]
An in-depth look at the role of the ACL in a hockey player’s body and how someone could play 4 months with a partially torn knee ligament.
Owen Beck should have been given one more game in Montreal [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
Owen Beck is a player I will follow throughout his career simply because I was hoping the Lightning would draft him last summer. The Habs prospect was an emergency call-up for Montreal last night and is having a strong season in the OHL with 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists) in 38 games for Mississauga and Peterborough.
Gotta get the pirate lingo down, boys 🤣 pic.twitter.com/ilsQowcrm9— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 28, 2023