Why The Lightning Keep Dominating
The Tampa Bay Lightning keep dominating the NHL, and it comes at the hands of a very balanced attack. Tampa Bay is getting it done on both the offense and defensive side of the puck, and the goaltending play of Andrei Vasilevskiy has been at an elite level. If the Lightning keep this up there is a good chance that they will be hoisting the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.
Part of the reason the Lightning keep dominating is that of their elite offense. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point headline the point leaders for a team that is averaging an NHL best 3.7 goals per game. Tampa is a team that goes four lines deep and can score at any time.
On the power play, this season the Lightning have been excellent, scoring an NHL second best 25.2 percent. They are handling teams, not because of the volume of shots, but because of the quality of the shots, they have taken. Tampa ranks 12th in the NHL in shots per game with 31.3. Tampa is also doing a good job not turning the puck over with a takeaway to giveaway ratio of .9; this ranks 9th in the NHL.
Even though Tampa has a majority of the stats to back them up, the most significant reason they are playing the way they are is because of the team’s chemistry. Tampa Bay’s players take pride in playing team hockey. It is a testament to guys like Kucherov and Stamkos who have set aside their name to better team performance. In turn, this has increased their productivity tremendously.
For most teams, a great offense means an average defense, but Tampa has both great offense and great defense, and it is part of the reason why the Lightning keep dominating. The Lightning are second in goals given up with 92 and are ranked ninth in shots against. The defense does a good job keeping Vasilevskiy clean, and it is a big part of his success.
Defensemen Anton Stralman, Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev are the headliners of Tampa’s break out defense. Stralman leads the Lighting in plus/minus with a plus 27 rating. Hedman leads all defensemen in points with 29 so far this season. Sergachev might be one of the most underrated breakout players of the season. At just 19 years of age, Sergachev has 25 points and a plus/minus of plus 17.
The Defense of the Tampa Bay Lightning has done a fantastic job so far this season. With an amazing offense in front of them, they have taken their role and excelled with it. The defense is a major reason as to why the Lightning have taken the NHL by storm.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has overtaken as the full-time starting goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning season and has played at a very high level. Vasilevskiy’s 1.95 goals against average is good for second best in the NHL along with his .937 save percentage. Andrei leads the league in shutouts as well with six so far on the year.
At 23 years of age, Vasilevskiy should be around to stop shots for the Lightning for a long time. His record stands at 26-5-1 and is as much a testament to the team around him as well as him individually. As the season goes on Vasilevskiy seems to be getting stronger as well as the offense and defense around him.