Game Notes Lightning @ Oilers: A Champion Test

Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
The Tampa Bay Lightning know a thing or two about winning. They are the only franchise with 200+ regular season and playoff victories over the past three and a half seasons. They’ve won two Stanley Cups and lost in the final last year.
They skate into Edmonton riding a five-game winning streak, and in my eyes are still the franchise every team strives to be.
— Since the start of the 2019-20 season the Lightning have won 207 games (playoff and regular season), followed by Colorado (191), Boston (177), Vegas (172), Carolina (171), Toronto (160), Florida (158), Edmonton (155), New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh (151).
— They have the perfect model with an elite goalie, and elite defender and multiple elite forwards in Andrei Vasilevskiy, Viktor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. They’ve drafted well, and made some really astute trades, especially on the backend.
— On February 26th, 2017, they acquired Erik Cernak and Peter Budaj for Ben Bishop and a 2017 fifth round pick.
June 15th, 2017, they acquired Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathon Drouin.
On February 26th, 2018, they acquired Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller from the Rangers for Vlad Namestikov, Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, a 2018 1st round pick (Nils Lundqvist) and a 2019 second round (Karl Henriksson). Howden and Hajek had been first and second round pics of the Lightning in 2016.
On January 11th, 2019, Tampa Traded Slater Koekkoek (10th overall pick in 2012) and a fifth rounder to Chicago for Jan Rutta and a seventh.
— They also acquired Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow for first round picks and a top prospect. They signed veterans like Patrick Maroon, Kevin Shattenkirk, Luke Schenn and others with low cap hits to fill out their roster. They’ve used drafting, trading and value free agent signings to become the marquee franchise in the NHL.
— Brian Elliot got the win in Vancouver last night, so the Oilers will face Vasilevskiy tonight. Smart move by Jon Cooper to have his starter available to face Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Oilers’ surging offence. The Oilers are third in goals with 3.67/game and Tampa is fifth at 3.63.
— Steven Stamkos became the 47th player in NHL history to score 500 goals. He scored his 500th, 501st and 502nd last night in Vancouver. He joins Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby as the only active players with 500 goals. Stamkos will be in the top-40 all-time at the end of this season.
— Since Christmas both teams have played well. Tampa is 9-2 and Edmonton is 7-3-1. Tampa sits fourth in 5×5 goals against/game at 1.45 and Edmonton is sixth at 1.54. Edmonton is tied for second in 5×5 goals for/game at 2.82 while Tampa is tied for ninth at 2.36.
— Both power plays are deadly. Edmonton is first at 30.8% and Tampa sits second at 28.6%. Tampa’s PK is 10th, while the Oilers are 25th. Edmonton’s PK has improved since Christmas, but it will need to be very sharp against the Bolts. They can’t allow easy seam passes.
— The JoKeR line of Klim Kostin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mattias Janmark has been quite good lately. Their overall numbers aren’t great, but their last six games have been much better than their first nine.
First 9 GP58:5539.3938.5739.1344.4431.8334.6939.135022.2282.141.04172322
Last 6 GP37:3750.8551.1155.5683.3363.259.2670502593.751.19122020
Their first hour of playing time wasn’t good, but the last six games they have been great. Their on-ice shooting percentage will drop, but they have outshot and out chanced the opposition by a large margin recently. They have created more scoring chances. The one consistent with them is they have started more shifts in the defensive zone each section of games. I don’t think anyone expects them to score at the pace they have, but if their recent possession numbers stay strong they might remain a solid line. They will face some tough matchups tonight.
— Zach Hyman scored three points on Tuesday to give him 50 on the season. Edmonton now has four of the 20 skaters in the NHL with 50+ points in Hyman, McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. Tampa Bay (Kucherov and Stamkos) and Toronto (Marner and Nylander) are the only other teams with two. Winnipeg will have three very soon as Josh Morrissey and Pierre-Luc Dubois  each have 49, and will join Kyle Connor. Hyman set a new career-high in assists with 29 on Tuesday and he has 36 games remaining. He is poised to break his career high in goals (27) and points (54) very soon as well.
Six of the top-20 scorers will be on the ice at Rogers tonight going against an opponent who has been very good limiting goals 5×5. Should be a great chess match.
— Tampa is battling Toronto for second place in the Atlantic division. Tampa is two points back with two games in hand, while the Oilers are looking to catch Los Angeles, Seattle and Vegas in the Pacific. They are three points behind LA and Seattle and five back of Vegas. Tampa is 12-9 on the road and the OIlers are 11-11-2 at home. Edmonton needs to become more of a force on home ice.
— During the Oilers’ four-game winning streak the only forward dressed tonight without a goal is Evander Kane. The other 10 have all scored. Confidence is such a major part of the game. Ryan McLeod, who has two goals during the streak, said, “It took me a few games (after returning from injury) to get back up to speed, but once you score it is amazing how much better you feel.”
— Jack Campbell will get the start tonight against Tampa Bay, but there was a big on-ice congratulations for Skinner after practice yesterday. The players didn’t say what it was about after practice, but the NHL all-star rosters will be announced today. Put two and two together and it looks like Skinner will be going to the ASG and join Logan Thompson as Pacific division goalies. Draisaitl, the second leading scorer in the league, should also be announced.

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