Feb. 15, 2018
Lightning winning ugly
The Lightning continue to win hockey games. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They have the best record in the NHL. They are in first place in their division and yet as you watch the games, you wonder how this team will ever make a deep Stanley Cup playoff run?
The Lightning have been outshot in 14 out of their last 15 games. On Saturday the LA Kings outshot the Lightning 47-28. If not for the play of Andrei Vasilevskiy, this team may be fighting for a playoff spot. He has been that good and won a ton of games for this team singlehandedly. Night after night, game after game, Vasilevskiy has been rock solid. He made the save of the year against the Kings in a stellar behind the back save that you have to see to believe. Vasilevsky is a leading candidate to win the Vezina trophy.
This team cannot continue to get outshot like this and win meaningful games. The Lightning players keep talking about what they need to do, better, but can‘t seem to get it corrected. The team seems to have abandoned the system that they believed in at the start of the season.
The Lightning need to get back to playing that style of hockey. Battling for every loose puck, relentless on the forecheck, and playing sound defense. Oh yeah winning some faceoffs would’nt hurt either.
Faceoffs are a critical component of the game that will cost you dearly in the playoffs If you cant win them consistently. The Lightning are last in the league at winning faceoffs. The Kings almost put one by Vasilevsky with .6 seconds remaining in the game on Saturday. Vasilevskiy made another outstanding save to preserve the win.
The Lightning have to eliminate the odd-man rushes. Edmonton had seven odd-man rushes in the 6-2 win against the Lightning. In the playoffs, the good teams will make you pay dearly for these kind of mistakes.
Where the Lightning have been the most inconsistent is the first 10 minutes and the last 20 minutes of each game. Sometimes the Lightning will come and sleep walk through the first 10 minutes or so, and get down by a couple of goals and then have to battle back.
The same thing happens in the third period, The lightning have a 3-0 or 4-1 lead and they take their foot off the gas and before you know it‘s a 3-2 game or a tie game. The Lightning need to develop that killer instinct and learn to snuff out opponents in that third period.
The Lightning have too much talent to have these lapses game in and game out.
The team will have to correct these issues if they want to be playing hockey in June.
The Lightning have four conference games and two division games this week. A two game road trip starts tonight in Toronto.