Tampa Bay Lightning: A Look at the First Half of the 2018-19 Season
The Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves on the top of the NHL at the All-Star break. They at times look unbeatable. At one point the Lighting went on a 16-point streak. They earned a point in 16 straight games. Speaking of points, they hold a 33-point lead over 4 teams that are on the bottom of the NHL. The Lightning, like other teams, have had injuries and downs. The downs haven’t been as often as the other teams. The Lightning has been able to weather the storm when they have injuries. Here are my positives and negatives for the Lightning first half and what to worry about in the second half.
Most of them have been efforts by certain players. These players are Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ryan Callahan, Louis Domingue, Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Mathieu Joseph. These players have stepped up and changed the team. Now I am saying that the others haven’t done their part. The Lightning also has depth at every position that has helped them be the top team in the league.
Stamkos has found a way to become the player he wants was. He was passing the puck and not taking shots last year. This year he is back to shooting the puck and scoring goals on top of assists. Kucherov is the same dominant player he has been for the last few years. He and Stamkos are heading to the All-Star game. The surprise forward this year has been Ryan Callahan. Callahan has turned into the player that the Lightning saw when they traded for him. Louie Domingue has been better than many thought he would be. Domingue filled in when Andrei Vasilevskiy broke his foot. During Vasilevskiy absence Domingue nearly went perfectly only losing one game.
On defense, there have been three players that have stood out. Victor Hedman, Erik Cernak, Mikhail Sergachev. Hedman coming off his Norris trophy winning season has been the top defenseman. He has molded himself into a leader. Erik Cernak was a call up earlier in the season. Cernak has made it hard for the Lightning to send him back down.
The Lightning is still trying to figure out their top 6. Mikhail Sergachev has been one of the best pickups that than general manager Steve Yzerman made. At the time he would trade away Jonathan Drouin and get Sergachev in return. He has been what the Lightning have needed as a young defenseman. One of the young forwards that have emerged since training camp is Mathieu Joseph. Joseph like Cernak has made it hard to be sent back down. He has helped the scoring and will be leaned upon in the second half.
I have only seen two Vasilevskiy giving up too many goals in certain games and the lack of secondary scoring. I know after a loss Vasilevskiy has been perfect. In certain games, he seems to be giving up too many goals. Not all the goals are his fault. He will need to sure that up because in the postseason it will be hard to be behind. The other issue is secondary scoring. The Lightning has many great scorers but certain one’s score many of the goals. They will have to find a way to have the rest step up and score. Teams will adjust to the players that score and focus on them. This will when the secondary scorers will have to step up and put the puck in the net.
The Lightning has had a great first half. The team will take the negatives that I have listed above and fix those. At this point many people have the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup. I agree with that and the strongest part of the team us the depth. The depth has been there all year if a player gets injured or goes through a goalless streak the next player steps up. The Lightning may or may not make a trade at the deadline, but they are on the right path to bring the cup back to Tampa Bay.
What are your thoughts on the Lightning’s first half? Leave a comment below
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