High Flying Bolts Getting Contributions From Everyone

After six games the Tampa Bay Lightning is 5-1 with ten points and are riding a four game winning streak The Bolts are first in the Southeast division, three points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets. Tampa Bay is second in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Boston Bruins. The Bolts are the third best team in the NHL.

Tampa Bay has won all of their games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum while playing in front of sellout crowds every night.

While the usual suspects are leading the Lightning in scoring, every single player is chipping in and propelling the Bolts to this torrid start..

On Friday night, Ryan Malone scored a pair of third-period goals as Tampa Bay beat the Ottawa Senators 6-4. Matt CarleSteven Stamkos and Victor Hedman also scored for the Lightning, who started a five-game homestand. Stamkos added two assists.

Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer all scored goals and Marty St. Louis had four assists to lead the Lightning over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 on Sunday night. The defense was outstanding, holding the potent Flyers attack to 25 shots and going five for five on the penalty kill.

Steven Stamkos scored his fourth goal of the season and five Bolts players had goals in the 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. The Lightning superstar got a lot of help as Cory Conacher,Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell and Vincent Lecavalier all had goals. Stamkos has 11 points in the opening six games. Goalie Anders Lindback stopped 26 shots for his third consecutive victory. 

Tampa Bay is certainly playing well in all phases of the game and has gotten out of the gate quickly. The Bolts have yet to taste any real adversity this season. Much of the story will be written when we see how this group handles the situation when things go wrong. But, for now, this team is hitting on all cylinders.

Victor Hedman

Defenseman Victor Hedman is emerging as the all-star blueliner the Lightning thought they drafted in 2009. He has displayed uncanny passing ability and is now, not only joining the rush, but leading it at times. His offensive contributions have made him a threat every time he is on the ice. He has earned power play time and continues to be a major factor in Tampa Bay’s penalty kill.

By The Numbers

- The Bolts offense is going full throttle.TampaBayis first in the NHL in goals scored per game, averaging 4.83. They lead the league in total goals scored (29) and five on five goals (18). The Bolts are third in the NHL with nine power play goals and fifth in power play percentage (30%).

- The Lightning has allowed 15 goals against or 2.50 goals per game. The penalty kill has been rock solid, shutting down the opposition 86.7% of the time. 

-Tampa Bay has allowed an average of 33.2 shots against per game, while getting 29.3 shots per game.

-Tampa Bay is first in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the NHL with 96 blocked shots.

- The Bolts must get better on their faceoffs as they are winning just 51.3% of their draws.

- Forward BJ Crombeen leads in penalty minutes with 25.

- Martin St. Louis leads the team in points (12) and assists (9), shots (21) and is tied with Vincent Lecavalier in power play goals (2). Steven Stamkos leads the Lightning with four goals and is second in assists (7) and points (11). Rookie Cory Conacher has three goals and six assists. Lecavalier has scored three times and dished out five assists.

- Thirteen Lightning players have at least one goal, while 18 skaters have at least one point. Seven Lightning players have scored on the power play.

- How good has the defense been? Sami Salo and Victor Hedman lead in the +/- category with +10 and +8 respectively. Cory Conacher leads the forwards with a +5 rating. The Bolts have played so well, that only one player currently has a minus rating:  Brian Lee is -3.

- Defenseman Matt Carle leads in average time on ice with 23:02 minutes per game, followed by Victor Hedman with 21:54. Forwards Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos are averaging over 21 minutes per game.

Lindback has made the big saves

- Tampa Bay’s goaltending has been solid. Anders Lindback is tied for second in the NHL in wins, winning four of his five starts. The big Swede has 2.80 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Mathieu Garon has made just one start, allowing only one goal.

Transactions

None.

Injuries

None.

Milestones

- Defenseman Sami Salo finished Friday night’s game versus Ottawaas a +5, which tied a franchise record for highest plus/minus in a single game.

- Forward Ryan Malone scored two goals in the Lightning’s come-from-behind 6-4 win over the Senators on Friday. Malone’s first goal tied the score at 4-4 early in the third period and his second goal gave Tampa Bay the lead with just over seven minutes to play in the final period. He’s only the third player in Lightning history to record score-tying and go-ahead goals in the third period of one game. 

- Vincent Lecavalier dropped the gloves with Philadelphia’s Luke Schenn on Sunday night. It was the first time since February 3, 2009, when he fought New York Islanders forward Tim Jackman.

- Martin St. Louis assisted on four of the Lightning’s goals in their 5-1 win over the Flyers on Sunday night. It was the first time that a player on any team recorded four or more assists in a game against the Flyers since St. Louis himself set his single-game career high with five assists in that crazy 8-7 Bolts victory at Philadelphia on November 18, 2010.

- St. Louis, who was third in the league with 11 points and who had four assists in Sunday’s 5-1 victory over the Flyers, was named the NHL’s third star of the week ending Sunday behind San Jose’s Patrick Marleau and Chicago’s Corey Crawford.

- Tuesday night versus the Panthers, forward Dana Tyrell scored his first goal since March 19, 2011. It was a happy moment for him after recovering from a second major knee surgery.

- Rookie Cory Conacher notched his fourth two-point game of the season with one goal and one assist for the Lightning in its 5-2 win against the Panthers. The only other rookies with more than one multiple-point game in the NHL this season are the Canadiens‘ Alex Galchenyuk, the Oilers‘ Justin Schultz and the Blues‘ Vladimir Tarasenko with two each.

-Tampa Bay has scored five or more goals in three consecutive games, the first time it has done that since November 8-16, 2007.

- The Lightning exorcised their second period demons on Tuesday night by outscoring the Panthers 2-0 in the second stanza. This was the first time the Bolts have won a second period this season.

Bolt Quote

“We’re doing good things. We’re not good, yet.” – Coach Guy Boucher.

*Photographs courtesy Susan Ferlita.

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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?

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  1. Brian says:

    Great read, Bolts have started out very fast and look very good, I hope they can do better on the road this year!!!

  2. WB Philp says:

    Thanks Brian. Certainly they need to do better than they did last year away from the Forum.

  3. Patrick says:

    Glad to read your praise for Hedman, I agree with all of it. Against Philly, what I saw looked like the play of a true #1 defenseman for the first time. He was turning defensive plays in his own end into offense either by passing or skating the puck up all night. I thought it was his best defensive game yet as he made very few mistakes with the puck. It seems like local fans often complain about him because he’s not overly physical despite his size, but I think he’s increased his physical play this year as well. You make a very good point about the team not having much adversity so far. They have had small doses of it with Lindback consistently giving up one softie a game and having some bad 2nd periods to start the season, but otherwise things have gone very well for them thus far.

  4. WB Philp says:

    Thanks for reading, Patrick. I didn’t mention Hedman’s increased physicality. but you’re right, that part of his game has picked up.