Thursday, 26 October 2017

Three Things: Lightning vs. Red Wings

Able to fight off a late third period flurry, the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, thus improving their record on the year to 9-1-1.  Here are tonight's three things:

Thing #1: Keeping the Streak(s) Alive

Two Lightning players came into tonight having a chance to do something special.  Both Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov had tallied at least a single point in each of the team's first ten games; the team record is an 11-game point streak to start a season, as set by Martin St. Louis.

Both players tied the record tonight, with Stamkos scoring a key third period goal and Kucherov scoring a goal of his own plus an assist.  They'll have a chance to set a new mark in franchise history on Saturday against a very good Anaheim Ducks team.

Thing #2: Potent Power Play Comes Up Big

One of the big reasons for the Lightning's early success this year?  The power play.  Often a middling squad at five-on-five early in 2017-18, the Bolts have absolutely feasted on teams with the man-advantage:
The power play came up big once again tonight, as Stamkos fired home his fourth of the season to give the Lightning a crucial 2-1 lead in the third period.

Arguably the biggest problem for opposing teams with regards to handling the Lightning PP unit is that Stamkos, a former 60-goal scorer, isn't the most dangerous threat on the ice.  Kucherov, who has now scored 12 goals in 11 games to start the year, deserves too much attention.  The trouble with giving Kucherov the attention he deserves is that it leaves the former 60-goal guy in a position to do this:

Overload on one, and the other will undoubtedly burn you.  It's the stuff of nightmares for opposing teams.

Thing #3: Home Ice Advantage

With tonight's win in hand, the Lightning are now 6-0-0 on home ice to start the season.  Amalie Arena is proving to be a difficult place to play for opposing teams; it's also proving to be one heck of a good time for the hometown crowd.  Tampa is the only team to have an unblemished record on home ice in the Eastern Conference.  Here's hoping they can keep that going.

Bonus Thing: The judges gave Henrik Zetterberg a perfect '10' for his late third period dive.

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As always, thanks for reading.

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