The Tampa Bay Lightning played one of the toughest games they have had to endure all season long against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tonight, the Lightning will be looking to get back on track and bring home two points against captain John Tavares and the New York Islanders.
The Bolts have picked up at least one point in each of their last nine games.
Unfortunately, four of those games have been one point games; the last two against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and Ottawa Senators on Monday.
If the Lightning wants to keep themselves in a competitive position in the post season, the Bolts have to start bringing home two points a night instead of one.
As the old adage says, there is no time like the present to get started on that.
When you look strictly at the win/loss column, you would think that the Lightning have a distinct advantage here; however, when you look at the stat sheet, you will see a completely different story.
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While the Lightning clearly have an advantage in many of these categories; however, we have seen what underestimating an opponent has done for us this season. The Islanders have three incredibly good scorers at their disposal, and if the Bolts are unable to contain them, this game will get out of hand pretty quickly.
Right now, it is right wing Kyle Okposo that is holding it down for the Islanders in both goals and overall points. So far this season, Okposo has scored 27 goals and 42 assists for a total of 69 points. In regards to assists, it is Captain Tavares that is leading the way. Tavares has 24 goals and 42 assists for a total of 66 points.
On the other side of the ice, it is Lightning center Valtteri Filppula that is leading the charge for the Bolts. Filppula has 24 goals and 30 assists for a total of 54 points so far this season to accompany a plus-4 rating. In regards to assists, it is defenseman Victor Hedman leading the team. Hedman has scored 12 goals and 35 assists for a total of 47 points to accompany a plus-6 rating.
The Lightning has all the talent that they need to be an opposing force heading into the post season. The only thing that they have to do is put one skate in front of the other and keep their head in the game, focusing only on the task at hand; bringing home the two points.
I have said this a million times, but let’s go ahead and make this a million and one…the Bolts really need to keep themselves out of the penalty box. While I will concede that there are some penalties worth taking; however, they need to watch themselves and not get goaded into taking a cheap penalty and opening the door for a power play goal from the other team.
We all know that the Lightning has been met with their fair share of opposition this season, and tonight will be no different; however, we all know that if anyone can find a way to overcome, it is us.
What do you think are the keys to the Lightning bringing home the two points tonight against the Islanders? Do you think the Bolts can end the game in regulation or will this be another game with extra frames? Let us know what you think in the comments below.