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Lightning Round: Three Stars of the Week

It was another solid week for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they rolled off three victories scoring 15 goals along the way. More importantly, they only allowed 4 to their opponents. It appears the Lightning have found their groove. Now, they just have to find a way to move up in the standings.

While it was a true team effort (11 different skaters scored goals in the three games), there were a few players who stood out. Those three players are our Stars of the Week.

Victor Hedman

3 Games, 0 Goals, 5 Assists, 23:25 ice time, 0.53 ixG, 6 Blocks

Reports of the demise of The Big Swede may have been a bit premature. For the Lightning, having Hedman return to form could not come at a better time as they’ve been without the services of Mikhail Sergachev over the last two games. Hedman recorded points in all three games and had two-point games in two of them.

It seemed like something was bothering him a bit at points throughout the season, but over the last two weeks or so he seems to be resembling the player that has been a Norris finalist for the last six seasons. For one thing, he is carrying the puck out of the Lightning zone and through the middle of the ice more often than he had earlier in the season. He was credited with two rush attacks over the week, an excellent sign for the Bolts.

Brandon Hagel

3 Games, 4 Goals, 3 Assists, 19:10 ice time, 1.9 ixG

Hagel continues to show that he belongs on the top line as he posted back-to-back three point games and continued his season-best five game point streak. Six of his seven points came at even strength, so it’s not like he’s relying on the power play to bank points. With 26 points in 30 games, he’s well on pace to obliterate his career highs.

Andrei Vasilevskiy / Brian Elliott

3 Games, 3 Wins, .954 SV%, 1.33 GAA, 2.13 GSAx

No matter how well the Lightning offense functions, their success is always going to start in the net. After some early season inconsistency, I’m sorry to tell the rest of the NHL that Vasilevskiy is back on his game. It’s not just this week, but the entire month of December. Only once in six games this month has he allowed 3 or more goals in a game (the 4-3 OT win against Toronto). He’s also positive GSAx numbers in every game this month.

Meanwhile, Brian Elliott’s over numbers aren’t going to win him a Vezina but he’s doing exactly what a backup netminder is supposed to do – give his team a chance to win. He wasn’t called on often in his win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he made the saves he needed to when they needed him to. His best two games have been his two most recent games, a solid trend for the Lightning.

Lightning / NHL News

Veteran Perry a critical calming force for Lightning [Tampa Bay Lightning]

For 18 seasons Perry has stood in front of the opponent’s net and helped his team win games. His vibes have been a calming influence for the Lightning over the last two seasons.

Lightning did in fact remember to pack their offense for the road trip [Lightning Insider]

“Heading out on to the road for the first time in over two weeks, the Tampa Bay Lightning had that sort of jarring moment in the first game away from home since December 1. But after frantically rifling through their luggage, the Lightning figured out they actually did remember to pack their game with them.”

#AskKrenner: Chris Krenn answers your questions [NHL.com]

Lightning beat writer Chris Krenn answers your questions about Sergachev, Perbix, and his favorite moment covering the team. He also confirms that the “Disrupt the Night” jerseys are permanently out of the rotation for the Lightning.

Team Canada names captains for Men’s Under-20 World Junior team [Team Canada]

Seattle Kraken forward Shane Wright will wear the captain’s “C” for his country. Alternate captains will be Ethan Del Mastro, Nathan Gaucher, Logan Stankhoven, and Dylan Guenther.

Court filing reveals new details about alleged Hockey Canada group sexual assault [Globe and Mail]

“Police investigators in London, Ont., say they have reasonable grounds to believe that five members of the 2018 world junior hockey team sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room after a Hockey Canada fundraising gala, a recent filing to the Ontario Court of Justice indicates.”

Goalie Goal!

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