5 Takeaways from the Lightning’s Stadium Series Win

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Apart from their inaugural game in 1992, this was the biggest regular season game in the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Once seemingly reserved for the Original Six and the NHL’s northern franchises, the Lightning got their chance to play outdoors for the first time.

Over 68,000 packed into Nissan stadium in Nashville to see a couple of southern market NHL clubs battle with no roof as Tampa Bay came out on top for a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. This game had a bit of everything, and it certainly did not disappoint as Tampa Bay held on for a memorable victory.

Let’s break it down.

1. Once in a Lifetime.

Outdoor games have become one of the NHL’s greatest showcases of their product in recent years. A number of different venues, cities and teams have had the privilege of hosting and participating in these games that bring out the best hockey has to offer.

These games once seemed reserved for the Original Six and the league’s northern franchises and now more and more organizations have gotten to experience the thrill in competing outdoors. For the players and fans, being part of these games have become a once in a lifetime experience to take part in these special occasions. In this year’s Stadium Series, the Tampa Bay Lightning made the absolute most of it and came away with a famous victory.

2. Powerplay Heating up.

There was not a lot of space on the ice between these two division rivals from a season ago, making special teams opportunities loom large. Despite surrendering a pair of goals on the penalty kill, the Lightning powerplay was able to get hot at the right time.

The Lightning powerplay has struggled this season compared to the high expectations they have set for themselves. Both of the Lightning’s first two goals of the game came on the powerplay with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point finding the back of the net. This five-man unit is among the best the NHL has to offer and Kucherov is one who really makes them go.

3. Big Night for the Captain.

Nearly 900 games into his NHL career, Steven Stamkos finally got the chance to play outdoors. Stamkos recorded secondary assists on both powerplay goals and scored the game winning goal at five on five in the third period for a three-point night. Stamkos’ game winner also came from the spot he has scored from hundreds of times in this league, but this one may last in our memories just a little longer.

4. Foote Stepping Up

Early in the game Erik Cernak was on the receiving end of a dangerous hit up high by Nashville’s Ryan Johansen. Cernak returned briefly but ended up missing the rest of the game. Cernak has been in and out of the lineup due to injury seemingly all season, but this has allowed for Cal Foote to increase his role in the defensive core.

Foote has been gaining a lot more confidence recently and played a huge role in Stamkos’ goal that ended up being the game winner. Foote batted the puck out of midair to keep it in the offensive zone and picked out Stamkos with a beautiful pass for the one timer. Cal has been much more of a defensive defenseman like his father Adam, but chipping in on offense, can only add confidence.

5. Making it Count at 5-on-5.

We hear so much about how special teams’ battles can win or lose games. In this one, the special teams turned out to be a wash as both teams converted on two power plays each. The difference maker in this one came at five on five as Stamkos’ goal in the third period put the Lightning up 3-1. A lot of teams can score on the powerplay but being able to play at five on five can be the biggest differences in these playoff type battles.

(Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)
(Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images) /