The Tampa Bay Lightning are 1-2-2 with four points in their first five games. Certainly not the start they wanted.
They are in fourth place in the Southeast Division, already four points behind the Washington Capitals and 11th in the Eastern Conference.
After five games, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron leads the team in goals (2), assists (3) and points (5). Forward Steve Downie has accumulated 19 penalty minutes already and goalie Mathieu Garon has a sparkling 2.28 goals against average.
Tampa Bay’s defensemen have started a negative ratings trend with Eric Brewer posting a -4 and Brett Clark at -2 in just five games. Penalties have been piling up. The Lightning have accumulated 79 penalty minutes already, averaging 15.8 minutes per game.
On a positive note, the Bolts have 12 different players who have scored and 17 players with at least a point.
Tampa Bay is 11th in the NHL, averaging almost three goals per game. Unfortunately they are an awful 26th in the league in goals allowed per game ay 3.4. Their power play is 23rd in the league, scoring on only 10% of their power play chances. The Bolts penalty kill has been solid, killing the oppositions power play chances 92.9% of the time.
Game 3 – Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – Washington Capitals 6 OT
Game 4 – Tampa Bay Lightning 1 – New York Islanders 5
Game 5 – Tampa Bay Lightning 2 – Florida Panthers 3 OT
Three Stars of the Week
Marc-Andre Bergeron – Two goals and two assists.
Mathieu Garon – Saved 52 of 54 shots for a .963 save percentage.
Dominic Moore – A goal and two assists.
The Connolly Conundrum
Because of his draft year, 19 year old rookie Brett Connolly is only eligible to play in the NHL or the WHL this season. The Lightning has to decide which one it will be before he plays in his 10th game on October 27 in Nashville. Connolly has played well and there is no reason to think he won’t play in the next four games. The situation isn’t that cut and dried as TBO.com’s Erik Erlendsson explains:
“If Connolly is sent back, the clock on his contract does not begin until next season. Once he plays that 10th game this season, the contract starts this year even if the team decides to send him back to junior.”
“The decision is not as simple as it would appear, because based on his play to this point, it would be a no-brainer that Connolly belongs and he stays the entire season. One could argue that Connolly has been among the team’s most consistent forwards in the early stretch.” Read the full article here.
Signed forward Ondrej Palat to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Defenseman Mattias Ohlund remains on IR after undergoing surgery on both knees. He is out indefinitely.
The Lightning have committed too many penalties and turnovers and failed to capitalize on many of their scoring opportunities. There has been a general lack of execution, not effort, throughout the lineup including from behind the bench.
About the Author: WB Philp is a published hockey writer who has a built in disdain for Barry Melrose. He covered the Detroit sports teams for many years until he came to his senses and moved to the Sunshine State. He is a true puckhead on a mission from God (Gordie Howe) to make hockey relevant in the south. He lives in Hockey Bay USA and covers the Lightning full time. Did I mention he hates Barry Melrose?