Lightning young guns helping team win on the road

By Ken Filler
Feb. 05, 2018

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the midst of an extended eight-game road trip, broken up the all star festivities in Tampa last weekend. The Lightning went 3-1 on the first leg and have a chance to go 3-1 on this second leg of the trip if they can pull off a win in Edmonton tomorrow night.

Since the break, the Lightning have yet to play a complete game and yet just continue to win games. The lightning have been outshot by 33 in the three games in western Canada. The Lightning were outshot 46-31 in the game against Calgary On Thursday Night. The team continues to have defensive lapses where they have no resemblance of the team that started the season on that hot streak Where they could do no wrong.

My team MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to be the best player on the ice most nights and has been a force in every Lightning win on this road trip. The third period in Vancouver last night was another example of Vasilevskiy‘s stellar play. After allowing two goals, Vasilevskiy shut the door and would not allow another goal the rest of way despite good pressure by Vancouver In the 4-2 win.

Matt Peca who was called up January 21 is having an excellant trip with three goals thus far and has been a grinder on the line with Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn. This third line has been the best line on the trip so far. You knew that the Kucherov, Stamkos, Namenstikov line would not keep up the torrid pace that it was on to begin the season and other lines would have to step up.

This is the big reason the Lightning parted ways with JT Brown. The team wanted to look at some of the young kids at Syracuse and so far they have done everything they been asked to do. How about Cory Conacher with two goals on the trip and a huge goal last night on a penalty shot when the Lightning was being pressed by Vancouver late in the third period.

While we‘re talking about the impressive play of the kids from Syracuse, lets not forget the play of Louis Domingue who has been an improvement over Peter Budaj since being signed in late November. Domingue is 2-1 with a 2.67 GAA, big improvemment over Budaj and his 3-3 record and 3.80 GAA. I am much more comfortable with Domingue as the back-up to Vasilevskiy than Budaj.

So the Yzerman magic continues. Outside of Bill Belichick of the Patriots where every roster decision he makes seems to be the right one for the moment, Yzerman seems to have that same mojo. Peca, Conacher, Gourde, the Sergachev acquisition. It has all worked very well for the Lightning.

James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports