We are already one month into the season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are sitting at 4-2-3 as they finished up their five-game homestand last night against Seattle.
Which three players have stood out the most for Tampa in October?
Tampa Bay Lightning Three Stars
Third Star – Nick Paul
Last season, Nick Paul got off to a hot start before cooling off during the back half of the season. Hopefully, history doesn’t repeat itself as Paul is once again off to a scorching start for the Lightning.
Paul has been added to the top power-play unit for the Lightning this season and has been a welcome addition to the unit. His size and physicality have made him a perfect complement to the unit.
Five of his seven points thus far have been on the power play, but he has put away a couple of 5 v 5 goals while playing on Tampa’s third line.
Second Star – Nikita Kucherov
Kucherov is off and on pace for another 100-point season. Through nine games, he has already racked up 11 points and leads the team in goals with six goals.
His deeper numbers during 5 v 5 play could be a bit better, as the expected goal share while Kucherov has been on the ice during even-strength play is only 48.9%, which would be the lowest of his career.
But Kucherov has been the engine to make the power play lethal once again, as the Tampa Bay Lightning are fourth in the NHL in power play percentage. He has also had Alex Barre-Boulet added to his line and paired well with him.
First Star – Jonas Johansson
In a vacuum, one could argue that Johansson’s play has been fine but not worthy of a first star honor. And that is fair, but considering the gloom and doom that was possible once Andrei Vasilevskiy went down, Johansson has exceeded expectations to keep the Lightning ship afloat in October.
While his overall metrics are not elite, he still has a saves above expected goals that are on the plus side of the ledger.