Lightning Round: Three Stars of the Week

It was a pretty good week for the Lightning.

Lightning Round: Three Stars of the Week
Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning @TBLightning

How is everyone feeling out there? A little better about things? The Tampa Bay Lightning went 3-0 with two shutouts as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders. Hmm...maybe they should petition to move to the Metro Division. In doing so, the Lightning clinched a spot in the playoffs for the sixth year in a row and will be facing the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second year in a row.

After a season that's featured some really tough spots (especially since the All-Star break) it's good to see the team getting back to their core concepts of team defense and strong physical play. Starting with the game against the Bruins last Saturday it seemed like there was a lot more engagement in their play, especially in their own zone.

With two weeks and five games to go, the Lightning seemed to be rounding into playoff form. Will it be good enough to beat the Leafs? Unfortunately we won't find that out until they play.

Anthony Cirelli

3 Games, 0 Goals, 2 Assists, 64.3% F0%

Not going to lie, this one is based purely on vibes. It seemed at least three or four times a game in the past week, Cirelli would break up plays either on a backcheck or just by being in the right spot at the right time. He wasn't on the ice for a goal against this past week (then again, with two shutouts not many players were).  

He also won 61.9% of his face-offs in the defensive zone while taking 21 of them in his own zone. Steven Stamkos and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare were second in defensive zone face-offs with 9 each. On a line with Alex Killorn and Pat Maroon the trio only allowed a high-danger chance as well. Could this be a potential shut down line as they head into the playoffs?

Steven Stamkos

3 Games, 3 Goals, 3 Assists, 2 Game-winning Goals, 0.76 iXG

This one was pretty close as Stamkos and Brayden Point had pretty much similar stat lines for the week. The Captain gets the edge for his two game-winning goals and the fact that he was better in the face-off circle. It had been a pretty quiet month for Stamkos, but the six-point week brought him to 80 points for the season. It all but assures that the 33-year-old will have the 11th season of his career where he averages more than a point per game. Consistency, thy name is Steven Stamkos.

Andrei Vasilevskiy

3 Games, 3 Wins, 2 Shutouts, .990 SV%, 0.33 GAA, 8.68 GSAx

Who are we kidding, we all knew this guy would be the number one star for the Lightning this week. On 100 shots over three games he allowed just one goal. While a lot of credit goes to the team playing in front of him, he still was expected to give up just almost ten goals based on the shot quality. Perhaps the best part of his performance this past week was that he really didn't have to make any over-the-top, crazy athletic, top-10 highlight reel saves. His positioning and rebound control was superb.  

Lightning News

Tanner Jeannot hitting his stride as Lightning head into playoffs [Tampa Bay Times]

We'll have our own take on this a little later today, but it seems Jeannot is finding his place on the team.

Lightning clinch playoff spot [Lightning Insider]

Erik Erlendsson recaps the win over the Islanders and talks about the impact of Jeannot and Darren Raddysh.

Stamkos' painful road to 1,000 games []

Mike Zeisberger breaks out laundry list of Stamkos' injuries over the years to showcase The Captain's perseverance as ambles his way to 1,000 career games played.

NHL News

For Kris Letang, reaching 1,000 games is a symbol of an extraordinary, difficult journey [The Athletic]

Speaking of tough roads to 1,000 games, Letang has been through two strokes, multiple concussions, and a severe neck injury to hit the 1,000 game mark.

Marco Kasper debuts for Detroit in Toronto [Michigan Live]

The 18-year-old was the 8th overall pick in the 2022 draft and will join three other first round picks selected by Steve Yzerman Lucas Raymond (2020), Simon Edvinsson (2021), and Moritz Seider (2019). Kind of a different strategy than Mr. Yzerman had in Tampa.