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TropicalFruitGirl26

2017-18 Tampa Bay Lightning Season

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TB Lightning.jpg

 

 

Bolts get underway tonight against their heated rivals (no, not really) the Florida Panthers.

 

First off, a big welcome back to captain Steven Stamkos!

Having him back healthy (hopefully he STAYS that way) is like a big free agent signing...especially in light of the talent the Lightning traded away in Jonathan Drouin.

 

Stammer's injuries the past couple seasons have been....freakish....to say the least.

With any luck, he avoids walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks, EA Sports games covers, black cats, and Pierre McGuire's admiration to ensure he has a full healthy season this year! :bigteeth:

 

With him back and healthy, all the other forwards can slot in to where they are supposed to be, pressure is taken off the up n comers, and the team can continue their march towards a Cup that they started about 3 seasons ago.

 

Pictured with Stamkos is Nikita Kucherov who has become quite the star in his own right in the league.

This may be Stamkos' team, but make no mistake, the Bolts go nowhere without Kucherov doing what he does best on the ice...and that is skate really fast, score goals, and make other teams worry about where he is on the ice at all times.

 

Young forwards like Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, and Vladi Namestnikov will get their chance to show that they truly belong with the big club long term and that last season (especially for Point) was just for starters.

The league already knows about the Bolts' Triplets (Palat, Kucherov, Johnson), so its time TB unveiled a new triple threat that the NHL isn't expecting, possibly in the form of the above mentioned young players.

 

Over on defense, I personally feel it has gotten an experience upgrade with the addition of Dan Girardi and moving Brayden Coburn into the top 4, however, it also means that same defense has possibly gotten a bit slower too, Victor Hedman being the only elite type D-man in the Bolts top 4.

 

That means guys like Anton Stralman, who normally I cast as an unquestioned top pair guy, have to show they aren't finished (Stralman had a really bad year last season), and can still perform.

Andrej Sustr, from the bottom pairing needs to show that he CAN play like a man of his stature is supposed to play (6'7 225), and young D-men like Jake Dotching and Slater Koekkoek will get their chance to prove to Yzerman that they may be able to bump one or two of the "old guys" from the top 4.

 

Oh, yea. And the Bolts have this young defenseman they got from Montreal for Jonathan Drouin....Mikhail Sergachev.

Just 19 yrs old and surprisingly, Yzerman is not going to return him to Juniors (perhaps he will play the full 9 games at the NHL level before another decision is made), but will indeed, start the season with the big club.

 

Is he really that special of a player? We will see......

 

Other players?

Ryan Callahan, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn....these guys will need to stay healthy, return to form, or just be consistent to help take the pressure off of Stamkos' top line.

 

In the bottom six, we have grit n sandpaper in the form of JT Brown, Cedric Paquette, and newcomer, but veteran player, Chris Kunitz.

Adam Erne, who is currently assigned to AHL Syracuse, could also be a callup for a bottom six role....maybe more if he shows a propensity for offense at the NHL level like he did in his Juniors years.

 

And finally, Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal.

He will be working without a net (no pun intended) as Ben Bishop is no more and he is now The Man.

 

Peter Budaj is a decent back up for him, but make no mistake...if the Bolts have to run Budaj out TOO much during the season, it means the Bolts hopes for a championship will be in serious jeopardy!

 

Ready to get this season underway!

If anyone wants to discuss Bolts with me, here is the place to do it! :firstplace:

 

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You know, it would be real nice if it was a real heated rivalry. Keep hoping for a playoff series against each other, that should really spark it. But that would require us to actually make the playoffs more than once or twice a decade!

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44 minutes ago, ezlot76 said:

You know, it would be real nice if it was a real heated rivalry. Keep hoping for a playoff series against each other, that should really spark it. But that would require us to actually make the playoffs more than once or twice a decade!

 

Agreed.

I am certainly not against a TB-FLA rivalry (and the ingredients for young and hungry players mixed in with grizzled vets is there), but I just don't like the 'manufactured' rivalries the NHL tries to create. In this case, "ooh, look, both teams are from Florida where there is no snow...they MUST be made rivals!" :huh:

 

Rivals require both teams being good at the same time and wanting the same thing...and that is division titles, Conference titles, and ultimately, the Stanley Cup.

Up till now, both teams have been either bad at the same time, one team better than the other, and NO playoff series between them, which, as you pointed out, should spark a real rivalry.

 

Honestly, due to past playoff meetings, and the whole Yzerman connection, I feel the Bolts are better rivals with the Wings than the Panthers.

Although if Detroit continues to flounder below the top 8 that may change too.

 

Hmm...maybe a Bolts rivalry with the Leafs? The battle for ownership of the blue n white?

If the Panthers and Bolts are ready to get it on though, they both should finish strong, dispatch any other meddling teams and meet for the first time in a playoff series!

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You know what many are saying this team is the team to unseat the Penguins at the top of the Eastern Conference and I have to say they sure have the talent to do it. The offense is huge of course led by Stamkos, but I also love the defense they have with Hedman who I feel could easily be a top 5 D-Man in the league. It is now Andrei Vasileskiy's team in the net and I think he is going to shine. For the most part when he was behind Ben Bishop he shined and there is no reason why he can't in the lead role now. This team is set up to go deep into the playoffs if they can stay healthy. 

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10 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

Stammer's injuries the past couple seasons have been....freakish....to say the least.

With any luck, he avoids walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks, EA Sports games covers, black cats, and Pierre McGuire's admiration to ensure he has a full healthy season this year! 

 

 

 

:lol:

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9 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

I just don't like the 'manufactured' rivalries the NHL tries to create. 

 

 

Amen! Like some of the nonsense that's been televised on 

Wednesday Night Rivalry. It got to where I was half-expecting 

a Phoenix vs. Boston game to show there.

With the justification being some rumor about Shane Doan sneaking 

across Massachusetts lines to melt a snowman that

Zdeno Chára worked hard on. :crazysmile:    

 

Hopefully the league, NBCSN, any perps -- :pleasestopnow: -- knock it off. There 

are plenty legitimate rivalries without manufacturing them where they 

have yet to be or never were. 

 

 

 

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Despite the Panthers "handling" of the Bolts in preseason, when it counted for real, TB pulls out the win.

 

Florida pushed hard, as it seems they always do against any team, but the skill of the Lightning was on full display with expected suspects showing up on the scoresheet such as Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and yes, Vladi Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat got in on the scoring as well.

 

Andrei Vasilevskiy looked pretty good in his first regular game as The Man, and I expect he gets better as the season wears on.

 

Some sleepiness by a couple of the defensemen on the Bolts aside, I thought they played an overall good game and the win was well deserved.

 

They aren't gonna rest or celebrate too much on that one win, because the Cats are at them once again tonight...this time in Sunrise, FL for the Panthers home opener.

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On 10/7/2017 at 3:58 PM, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

Despite the Panthers "handling" of the Bolts in preseason, when it counted for real, TB pulls out the win.

 

Florida pushed hard, as it seems they always do against any team, but the skill of the Lightning was on full display with expected suspects showing up on the scoresheet such as Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and yes, Vladi Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat got in on the scoring as well.

 

Andrei Vasilevskiy looked pretty good in his first regular game as The Man, and I expect he gets better as the season wears on.

 

Some sleepiness by a couple of the defensemen on the Bolts aside, I thought they played an overall good game and the win was well deserved.

 

They aren't gonna rest or celebrate too much on that one win, because the Cats are at them once again tonight...this time in Sunrise, FL for the Panthers home opener.

That line with Brayden Point and Palat seems to jive really well.

 

I had noticed point last year, but noticed more Palat ending the year with 22 points in his last 20 games. But upon watching the first game, point did not seem like a leach. Then I looked at how he finished last season. 9 goals and 7 assists in his last 15 games.

 

Is Johnson becoming expendable?

 

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4 hours ago, J0e Th0rnton said:

That line with Brayden Point and Palat seems to jive really well.

 

I had noticed point last year, but noticed more Palat ending the year with 22 points in his last 20 games. But upon watching the first game, point did not seem like a leach. Then I looked at how he finished last season. 9 goals and 7 assists in his last 15 games.

 

Is Johnson becoming expendable?

 

 

Bolts have shown a knack over the last few seasons for picking out and/or developing smaller players who can really go.

 

Marty St. Louis is their most obvious and famous player (remember when nobody wanted him but the then putrid Lightning took a chance on him?), but they have done it with lots of other guys too....some of which are enjoying success on the current roster, including Johnson and Kucherov.

 

Brayden Point seems to fall right into that category so far.

Bolts also had Cory Conacher and Eric Perrin on their roster, where they enjoyed some success as small speedy scorers.

Unfortunately, those guys didn't have the staying power of some others and the Bolts quickly replaced them.

 

As for Johnson being expendable, I wouldn't exactly say that.

But, if there IS one man who can possibly make Johnson expendable, it would probably be Vladi Namestnikov.

 

Both play the same position, though Vladi has seen time on wing as well, but of course, Vladi is younger, has thus far been less injury prone, and is just overall built sturdier and can take the punishment dished out in corners and in front of the net at times, more than Johnson.

 

Tyler is still the overall better player right now though.

He just needs to stay healthy (a challenge for the last two or three seasons) and find chemistry with his linemates.

 

The Triplets may no longer be a line (Kucherov-Johnson-Palat) due to the fact that Kuch has elevated himself above and beyond both Johnson and Palat, and now seems poised to be Stamkos' regular winger on the top line and on the top PP unit.

 

Brayden Point is definitely pushing Tyler Johnson (while Namestnikov continues to play wing), but I think, overall, the Bolts are looking to create three full fledged scoring lines, leaving only line 4 to be the grinder.

 

Stamkos, Point, Johnson are the current centers 1-3, but don't be surprised if Johnson finds consistency and Point struggles (or is moved to wing where he has played as well), to see Tyler back as the 2C.

 

A GOOD problem to have for Jon Cooper right now is that he may end up with 9 forwards who are all top six worthy...in which case being on the 3rd line isn't necessarily a 'demotion'....just means Cooper will have to manage the ice time so the top three lines get the bulk of the ice time.....leaving the 4th to play around 9-10 a night.

 

Injuries will inevitably happen, and so guys will continue to get shuffled around.

Fortunately, the Bolts are also blessed with players who are versatile in where they can play on the front lines.

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Back to back wins against both the Capitals AND the NHL Champs, Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

Oh sure, Holtby and Murray didn't play in either, but still, those two teams brought some fast offense and the Lightning matched them skate for skate and goal for goal and came away with the wins in both. Bottom line.

 

Overall defense on the Bolts could use some sharpening up, but for now, I will chalk it up to the Lightning relying on slower guys in their top 4 (Girardi, Coburn) and younger guys still getting their NHL legs (Sergachev, Koekkoek, and Dotchin).

 

I trust Yzerman will do what is necessary as the season wears on to address needs on defense.

 

As for Andrei Vasilevskiy, well, he hasn't been elite by any stretch, and some goals scored by both the Caps and Pens he probably would like to have back, but then again, he DID come up with some tremendous saves when his team needed them most......and though I think Vasy still has room to grow as a netminder, if it weren't for him, perhaps both Wash and Pitts outshoot and outscore the Lightning.

 

Steven Stamkos finally got his first goal in the game against the Penguins.

It was a PP goal and it ties a Bolts franchise record for PP goals held by Vincent Lecavalier at 112.

Next PP goal, obviously, Stammer because the new record holder.

 

The entire team though looks engaged, ready to play every game so far and from the top six to the bottom six, from the top pair to the bottom pair D, they all look like they want to prove that they SHOULD have been in the playoffs last season.

 

Aside from a tighter defense, the only area of concern I see from this team so far is JT Brown.

 

He has been a healthy scratch twice this season so far, and while I know he just recently became a Dad, he also did a mild protest during the anthem on one of the Bolts' games (didn't take a knee, but raised his fist as if to say 'power'), and while his teammates supported him in the media, I wonder if Lightning brass didn't like the gesture and would have preferred he stayed away from the rampant athlete-kneeing-anthem controversy.

 

Can't seem to find any articles that clear any of that up, but I hope this won't be a persistent problem as I view JT Brown as a valuable and useful members of the Lightning's bottom six. A guy who has always brought grit and sandpaper to the lineup, and if you allow him some pace, can even put pucks in the net.

Hoping for the best on this.

 

Exciting start for the team overall though.

 

Next up for Tampa Bay:

A home date with the visiting St. Louis Blues, who, as one fellow poster puts it, "are loaded"....

We shall see how much vodka the Blues will have consumed before the start of play on Saturday.... :VeryCool:

 

Go Bolts GO!

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Very nice, very tight win by the Tampa Bay Lightning over the St. Louis Blues, 2-1 yesterday.

 

It was Original Bolts Night (tons of alumni from the original Tampa Bay Lightning expansion roster in 1992 were on hand) and the Lightning did them proud, via a completely opposite OFFENSIVE type team, with a very satisfying win.

 

Seeing those original black, blue and silver sweaters was a treat for sure.

Roman Hamrlik, Brian Bradley, Basil McRae, Joe Reekie, Rob Ramage, Robby DiMaio, Mikael Anderssen, John Tucker, Rob Zamuner, Chris Kontos....and even coach Terry Crisp, just to name a few...were some of the names on hand to celebrate 25 years of Lightning hockey and see TB defeat St. Louis, and look good doing it too!

 

Nikita Kucherov scored his 5th goal in his 5 GP, Tyler Johnson got on the scoreboard as well, and Andrei Vasilevskiy is looking more and more comfortable as the Lightning's full time number one goalie.

 

Next up for the Bolts.... a visit to the Pizza Palace in Detroit and a meeting against the hot Wings (no pun intended), where the complete NHL spotlight will be on them, as they will be only game going on Monday night.

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I DO believe Jon Cooper has found Steven Stamkos a regular winger...... Nikita Kucherov!

 

Two star players on the same line...it may ultimately not matter WHO is the third member of the line, although I must say, Vladi Namestnikov has been doing pretty well there.

 

Stamkos himself isn't finding the goals just yet (1G, 8A in 6GP), but 9 points in 6 games is nothing to sneeze at...especially when it is his linemate Kucherov that is picking up the goals.

 

If this continues, and more attention by the opponents is drawn to the Stamkos-Kucherov top line, it should open up things for Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson's lines below them.

 

On defense, Dan Girardi has NOT looked as slow as many thought he would, he has been making some excellent quick decision plays to help out his goaltender, and has also been his usual shot blocking self.

It will remain to be seen how he holds up over the course of the season, but so far so good.

 

Mikhail Sergachev looks like he is fitting in well with the big club......I wonder if the Bolts will keep him up, at just 19 yrs old, once his 9 game NHL stint expires.

Anton Stralman has looked like his old self perhaps dispelling any notions that he is 'washed up and done'.

 

Word was, he was nicked and bruised with a bunch of minor nagging injuries throughout the season last year, and from the looks of his play, those aren't an issue now.

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Fool me once shame on you....fool me twice shame on me!!!! WOW!

 

 

IMPRESSIVE!

 

:cheers:

 

Tampa is easily the team to beat in the East!

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 Decent article by Kevin Allen, he makes a case for why the Bolts can win the Cup. 

Hidden Content

    Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.

 

 That is 3 trips to the Conference Finals in 4 years under Yzerman's guidance....very, very respectable. 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, thenewestlights said:

@jammer2 : Tampa's :lightning: been my bet to win the whole thing. 

But please do disregard some of my playoff picks and 

playoff-picking methodologies. :lol:      

 

 

 No biggie. At least in this case, the means justify the end....lol. 

 

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      Post
      Bolts get underway tonight against their heated rivals (no, not really) the Florida Panthers.   First off, a big welcome back to captain Steven Stamkos! Having him back healthy (hopefully he STAYS that way) is like a big free agent signing...especially in light of the talent the Lightning traded away in Jonathan Drouin.   Stammer's injuries the past couple seasons have been....freakish....to say the least. With any luck, he avoids walking under ladders, breaking mir
    • 1
      Post
      You know, it would be real nice if it was a real heated rivalry. Keep hoping for a playoff series against each other, that should really spark it. But that would require us to actually make the playoffs more than once or twice a decade!
    • 1
      Post
      Agreed. I am certainly not against a TB-FLA rivalry (and the ingredients for young and hungry players mixed in with grizzled vets is there), but I just don't like the 'manufactured' rivalries the NHL tries to create. In this case, "ooh, look, both teams are from Florida where there is no snow...they MUST be made rivals!"    Rivals require both teams being good at the same time and wanting the same thing...and that is division titles, Conference titles, and ultimately, the Stanley C
    • 1
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      No biggie. At least in this case, the means justify the end....lol.   
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