After a disastrous 5-1 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, the Lightning hosted the Detroit Red Wings and won 3-1 on Friday night, a much better outcome than Thursday night. With Friday night’s win, the Lightning jump past the struggling Florida Panthers to re-take first place in the Atlantic division.
With the bounce-back win on Friday night after the landslide loss where the Lightning not only lost 5-1 but also got to see their head coach, Jon Cooper, get ejected after a questionable series of calls that Cooper didn’t agree with. With these two games having such different outcomes, here are five takeaways from the Lightning’s bounce-back win against Detroit.
Vasilevskiy Needed the Break
After the loss against Pittsburgh, fans noticed that Vasilevskiy wasn’t playing the way he usually does, and while he’s not the reason the Lightning lost, he still has had better games. Brian Elliott started in the net against the rising Red Wings and played some of his best hockey this season. Hopefully, Vasilevskiy plays better against the Chicago Blackhawks, but the rest for him should help a lot and was well deserved.
The Offense Needs to Be More Consistent
All fans are glad that the Lightning put up such a good number of shots, 38 to be exact, compared to the mere 21 shots against the Penguins. It’s been a cycle of inconsistency all season for the Lightning’s offense, mainly due to the Lightning dealing with injuries, but it’s still an issue with a fully healthy offense. Hopefully, this inconsistency stops as we head toward the playoffs, as it can prove to be the end of a team’s playoff run quickly.
Kucherov Keeps Proving He’s a Top 3 Playmaker in the League
Nikita Kucherov is known as a top-five player in the league by every avid hockey fan. He won the Hart trophy back in the 2018-19 season with an astounding 128 points on the season, one of the highest point totals for a Hart winner since Mario Lemieux and prime Sidney Crosby. Kucherov is now playing at a near 1.50 point-per-game rate, with highlight-reel plays every other game. He played very well against the Red Wings and helped lead the Lightning to the win with two assists, despite Alex Nedeljkovic playing some of his best hockey this season.
The Lightning are the best in the Atlantic
After the win over the Red Wings, the Lightning are officially the best team in the Atlantic division both based on points and points percentage. With the Florida Panthers having struggled for the last couple of weeks, and with those losses piling up, the Lightning got the chance to rise over the Panthers with each of the top three teams all being level again on games played.
It’s Time to Focus on the Run to Playoffs
The Lightning realize now that it’s time to focus on not only making the playoffs, which there’s no way they don’t make it by this point, but to test out how the team does on other potential playoff teams. Based on that, the Lightning will know what sort of moves could be made at the deadline. These last two games were played differently than each other, but it’s a good chance for Julien BriseBois to see what moves he needs to make to keep this team consistent against top teams in the league.