The Tampa Bay Lightning (39-15-6) ended their disappointing road trip with a dominant 4-1 win over the struggling Seattle Kraken (18-38-6).
This was the first time the Lightning have played in Climate Pledge Arena, and it is different than a lot of arenas. The Kraken have promised that they will have zero carbon emissions by the year 2040, so the arena looks and works differently than any other arena in North America.
Not only was Wednesday the first time the Lightning have visited Climate Pledge, but it was also a big night for the Kraken as their captain Mark Giordano was awarded a silver stick after playing his 1000th game on March 5th. It was a heartwarming ceremony and I was lucky to be able to witness it in person. It’s heartbreaking but also nice that the Lightning played some of their best hockey on Giordano’s big night.
With changes happening in the lineup starting on this road trip, fans have been wondering how the change will help the Lightning. Here are five takeaways from the Lightning’s dominant win over the Kraken on Wednesday night.
1. The Stamkos-Kucherov Duo Is Back, Baby
In the 2018-19 season, the Stamkos-Kucherov duo was seen as the best in the league. After the disappointing 2019 playoff “run”, the lines were changed and the Lightning changed the first line to being Palat-Point-Kucherov, which had worked very well up until this season. The second line looked very strong with Stamkos and Kucherov back together, and if they can keep it up, there’s no doubt they can become the duo of the league once again.
2. Vasilevskiy Finally Redeeming Himself
It’s been obvious for weeks now that Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t been fully playing up to the insane expectations that both fans and his play have put on him. Seattle played a very good offensive game and Vasilevskiy didn’t disappoint, saving 24 of the 25 shots he faced. He looked sharped again and it’s nice seeing him play well again. A fun fact about this night is that every goal was scored by a current or former Lightning player, as Yanni Gourde recorded the lone Kraken goal.
3. In Defense We Trust
The defense has been questionable for the last few games, but both in Vancouver and Seattle the defense has thrived, allowing just one goal in each game. Victor Hedman and Zach Bogosian robbed multiple Kraken players on Wednesday night, helping out a lot more than people would assume. There were multiple times that these plays singlehandedly stopped a Seattle scoring chance and it is one of the biggest reasons the Lightning let so few shots get to the net.
4. Cirelli Proving To Be Selke Dark Horse
When people think of the Selke Trophy, they usually think of Patrice Bergeron, Auston Matthews, or Mark Stone. Anthony Cirelli, however, is arguably the best two-way player in the league, and it was only further proven with how dominant he was in both the defensive and offensive zone. If he is not a finalist for the Selke this year, his time will come. He also added a goal in the win.
5. It’s Time To Focus On Playoffs
The Lightning are in the playoffs, that’s just a fact. Many fans have complained about the poor play by the Lightning, but this happens to nearly every NHL team when March comes around. The focus goes towards the trade deadline and the playoffs, and players won’t play at 100% every game. Being the best team in the regular season rarely means playoff success, everyone knows what happened in 2019. Instead of focusing on regular-season success, it’s time to focus on playoff success.