Tyler Johnson looking like a Triplet once again
He’s gone through some changes and he looks back to being his old Triplet Self again.
When the Triplets were reunited for the third game of the Tampa Bay Lightning season, I was somewhat reserved about it and at the same time quietly optimistic. While they had been successful since their incredible 2014-15 campaign, they hadn’t been quite the same dominant force. They aren’t back to being that either and so far in a small sample size on the advanced stats side of things, they’re worse than they were in previous seasons together.
Nikita Kucherov looks to still be struggling with his timing. His passes have been off the mark, he’s mishandled pucks, and the frustration has shown on the ice. He’s still trying to rediscover the chemistry he had with Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. I feel they can get it together and there are some good signs mixed in with the bad.
One of the things that has struck me though, is that Johnson looks much more like he did as a Triplet than he has the past few seasons. Injuries have had something to do with that. But apparently, the composition of his body has had an impact as well. On the post-game radio show after Tuesday night’s win against the Carolina Hurricanes that featured Johnson’s hat trick, Fox Sports Sun Color Analyst and co-host of the radio show had some comments about Johnson that resonated with me.
We talked about him being lighter and quicker again this year than he was. He looks more like he did three and four years ago. A lot of times players will go through that. Especially guys who are a little shorter in stature because they figure they need the power in his game. Tyler Johnson is just ripped. I mean, these guys are all in great shape.
He said at the beginning of this year, last year I went to the heavy weights a lot. I think I was too bulky. But during the year, it’s really hard to change that. So, you have to wait ‘til the offseason. Change your diet a little bit. Certainly change the way you work out. He said he did a lot more stretching. And I think things like yoga and things like that. As compared to as many heavy weights as he’d done before. He said I just literally feel looser and able to move more quickly. It shows.
Audio clip for the quote provided of Lightning Radio. Some uhms, ands, y’knows, and extraneous words have been removed for clarity.
When Engblom mentioned this, I couldn’t help but think back to moments during the game where I was telling myself he looked a lot like the old Johnson that we know and love. The one that went north-south and was hard to play against and used his speed to drive the net with the puck.
Watch his second goal of his hat trick from Tuesday night. Erne does a terrific job to get him the puck. Coming with speed, Johnson was able to split the defense and then use his tree trunk legs to power past them, fight off a hook, and score the goal anyways.
This short handed goal from 2013-14 is a little bit different in that he didn’t have to force his way past the defense. Instead, he used his speed to attack and just make the defense fall down because they couldn’t keep up. The following highlight video also shows more of that north-south attack by Johnson.
With Tyler Johnson getting back to that north-south speed game, it bodes well for his line to really start clicking. Once they get their timing down and start making those passes that they used to make routinely, this line can be dangerous. It’s something that I’ll continue to watch as they go on this road trip. They’ll have some time away from home to bond. They’ll also have a quick succession of games to get their rhythm together.