Positives and Negatives from the Lightning’s First Five Games

Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

These first five games of the season have already given many Lightning fans a mix of emotions, from surprise, to happiness, to disappointment. The Tampa Bay Lightning currently sit on a 2-2-1 record, sitting fifth in the Atlantic division. Obviously, these first few games don’t say much at all, as many top teams are currently sitting lower in the standings due to either injuries or just bad starts.

Some examples of struggling teams are the Golden Knights, who currently have three of their star players on injury reserve, Alex Tuch being the only one on LTIR. The Avalanche were a mystery to many, but recent photos have emerged of Cale Makar’s hand being bandaged up, meaning he is dealing with an injury. And then we have the Lightning, who are working with a new roster, and an injured Nikita Kucherov. It’s taking some time for all these teams to get up to speed, but there’s a high chance that they all make the playoffs.

With the Lightning having completed five games so far this season, many fans are already making assumptions that just aren’t true. To ease some people’s fear’s, we’re going to go over the positives and negatives of the Lightning’s first five games this season.


  • Offense: The Lightning offense this last game really took a sharp turn in the right direction, with the Lightning dominating in shots. While the Lightning did lose against the Avalanche in a shootout Saturday night, there were many positives in that game, and now that people see that the Lightning can in fact play well without Kucherov, most fans are becoming less worried.
  • Depth: The plays we have seen by the Lightning’s third line has been nothing short of amazing over the last couple of games. The biggest example to talk about is Mathieu Joseph’s multiple plays Saturday night, which eventually led Joseph to scoring his first goal of the season. The thing’s fans are seeing from this third line shows that while the Lightning lost their entire previous third line this past offseason, they have great replacements.
  • Goaltending: Don’t let the numbers fool you. Vasilevskiy is playing a great game, but the defense just hasn’t been able to help him much. Vasilevskiy has made a multitude of highlight reel saves over these first five games, and has been able to help his team to not lose to teams like Detroit and Washington.
  • Coaching:

    Jon Cooper and his team have done a great job of making sure the Lightning can play well, with or without Kucherov in the lineup . There’s been a lot of changes in the roster, and if it wasn’t for the Lightning’s coaching staff, they would have a much harder time adjusting and winning games.

    Alex Barre-Boulet back in Tampa. light. Read


    • Defense: As mentioned earlier, the defense has been disappointing for the Lightning. Victor Hedman is the only thing keeping this blue line from crashing and burning, as he has really stepped it up to make sure that when he’s on the ice, Vasilevskiy can rest for a bit. Mikhail Sergachev and Ryan McDonagh have struggled, but they are slowly looking better as the Lightning advance into their next five games. While most fans assume the worst, the optimistic ones know that things will get better, it just takes some time and practice.
    • 4th Line: Corey Perry, Patrick Maroon, and Taylor Raddysh all have a combined…0 points. This is five games into the season too. This line needs some serious tuning, as it just isn’t getting anything done so far. While this easily could just be a bad start, it needs to get much better soon, otherwise Taylor Raddysh could be moved down and Alex Barre-Boulet brought in, or we could see a one-for-one trade happen with any of these players.
    • Scoring: The Lightning are not scoring much. They’ve had one high scoring game, and they were scoring in the 7-6 comeback victory over the Detroit Red Wings. There’s not much to say about this except that there need’s to be more shot attempts, and the shots need to be accurate. Set up Stamkos more, feed Brayden Point more breakout passes, let Cirelli get the puck in front of the net. Make an opportunity out of any play made, whether it’s a simple play or an advanced play.

    The Lightning’s next game is on Monday night against the Buffalo Sabers. Make sure to keep an eye out on whether these negatives get figured out or not against a hot Sabers team.