The Tampa Bay Lightning are 3-3-2 with eight points through eight games. After eight games last season, the Bolts were 5-2-1 with 11 points.
The Lightning are in third place in the Southeast Division, six points behind the Washington Capitals and seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Hedman leads a much improved defensive corps with a +5 rating, followed by Pavel Kubina (+2).
The Lightning have scored 25 goals and allowed 27 goals. The power play is struggling, scoring 14.81% of the time (9th in the east) and the penalty kill is successful 82.93% of the time (7th in the east).
The Bolts scoring attack remains balanced as 15 players have netted goals and 20 players have at least one point in eight games.
Game 6 – Tampa Bay Lightning 4 – Florida Panthers 7
Game 7 – Tampa Bay Lightning 4 – New York Islanders 1
Game 8 – Tampa Bay Lightning 3 – Buffalo Sabres 0
Three Stars of the Week
Marc-Andre Bergeron – Four assists.
Vincent Lecavalier – Two goals and two assists.
Teddy Purcell – A goal and three 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 Bolts must decide Connolly’s fate after his ninth game. That game is on Tuesday in Buffalo. The 6’2″, 194 lbs. forward has two assists and is +4 while averaging 13:44 of ice time per game. He is playing much more physical as he gets adjusted to the NHL. He does not look out of place and in my opinion, should be kept on the roster. He cannot learn anymore at the Junior level. Those worrying about his “wearing down” as the season progresses need not fret as coach Boucher will handle him with kid gloves and rest him as needed. If Connolly stays, look for Blair Jones to be the odd man out, despite a great training camp.
The Bolts have a bright future ahead of them with Connolly, Stamkos and Hedman all under the age of 22.
No transactions made this week.
Defenseman Mattias Ohlund remains on IR after undergoing surgery on both knees. He is out indefinitely.
The Lightning garnered four of a possible six points this week. After a clunker of a game versus the Panthers, Tampa Bay’s defense tightened up, allowing only 38 shots and one goal the rest of the week. Victor Hedman is maturing into a top tier defenseman right before our eyes.
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson is struggling mightily. He has a startling 5.09 goals against average (58th of the 59 NHL goalies) and an .858 save percentage (54th of the 59 NHL goalies).
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?