The Lightning is tied for the best record in the NHL.
They average more than 4 goals per game, the best in the NHL.
They have the leader in total points and assists, the top goal-scorer, the winningest goaltender, tied for the best plus-minus player in the league.
What more can you ask of the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Perhaps keeping up this frenetic pace for another 69 games..then discover another gear for the playoffs. Is that too much to ask?
This 2017-18 edition of the Bolts is the one we thought we’d see last season, but never did. They are bolting through the rest of the league, winning ten of their first 13 games. Just about everyone is playing well, but it’s the offense that’s leading the charge.
Steven Stamkos is tops in points with 24 and assists with 18. Nikita Kucherov is the best goal-scorer with 13....that’s 13 goals in 13 games...you do the math, and come up with his pace for the season. Andrei Vasilevskiy is the winningest goaltender with 10, but his other stats are barely in the league’s top ten. That tells you how much the Bolts are outscoring other teams. Even Anton Stralman is #1.. in plus-minus, with a plus-12, tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the top spot.
General Manager Steve Yzerman has built the fastest skating team in hockey. He saw the league trend several years ago, away from enforcers and more toward smaller, swift skaters. And that’s why they’re loaded with speedy forwards and were able to deal away Jonathan Drouin for a promising 19-year-old defenseman in Mikhail Sergachev, who’s playing a regular shift on the blue line.
Now, if they can just keep the captain Steven Stamkos healthy. Three of his first nine seasons ended early with serious injuries. They won’t win the Stanley Cup without Stammer.
In the meantime, enjoy this run. The Lightning are the most entertaining team to watch in the league. They sell out Amalie Arena every night out. They have turned hockey novices into crazed hockey aficianados. It’s a blast on Channelside Drive...and with any luck, it could last awhile.
Photo from the Tampa Bay Lightning Facebook page and taken by Scott Audette