The Tampa Bay Lightning (26-24-8) are in desperation mode as the end of the 2016-17 NHL season looms on the horizon. In the month of February, they have gone 4-1-2 and will need to keep at it for any hope of a playoff spot. This week they welcome a few Canadian friends into Amalie Arena as they take on the Edmonton Oilers (32-19-8) and Calgary Flames (29-26-4). Each tilt should be a hard-fought one as everyone is scratching and clawing for wins this time of year. Can the Lightning continue their winning ways or will they slip and fall? Let’s take a look at the week ahead with Crashing The Net!
Dallas Stars (23-27-10)
When: Saturday, February 18th – 8:00PM
Result: OT Loss
Shots: 37-28 TBL
Power Play: 2/2
Penalty Kill: 2/2
Key Moment: Who is Antoine Roussel and why does he hate the Lightning? The Stars’ forward terrorized Tampa Bay with a hat trick that took his team into overtime and paved the way for Jamie Benn to steal this one from the Bolts. The moment of the game was Roussel’s third period tally that tied the game with less than five minutes left.
Colorado Avalanche (16-38-3)
When: Sunday, February 19th – 8:00PM
Shots: 40-29 TBL
Power Play: 0/2
Penalty Kill: 4/4
Key Moment: The Dazzling Drouin does it again. Jonathan Drouin put together the overtime shift of the year in which he haunted the Colorado defense to come away with the puck and beat goalie Calvin Pickard on the backhand to win the game. It was simply a thing of beauty and showed just how talented the young forward is in tight situations.
Lightning Statistics From Last Week:
Games Played: 2
Losses: 1 (in OT)
Points: 3 out of 4
Goals For: 6
Goals Allowed: 6
Power Play: 2/4 = 50%
Penalty Kill: 6/6 = 100%
Edmonton Oilers (32-19-8)
Where: Amalie Arena, Florida
When: Tuesday, February 21th – 7:30PM
Where to Watch: SunS, RSW
To start off the week, the Bolts will host the Edmonton Oilers in the second and final game of a two-game season series between the clubs. The first ended in thrilling shootout fashion on December 17th as the two teams put on a spectacle in Canada that saw Edmonton come out on top, 3-2. The Oilers come into Tampa having won four of their last five and are currently on a six-game road trip. With the Lightning and Oilers both playing well at the moment, this has all the makings of a must-see matchup.
On no… not Connor McDavid!
That’s right Lightning fans, Edmonton’s captain and all around thorn in every NHL teams’ side, Connor McDavid (20G, 47A), leads the league in points with 67. This influx of offense has raised the Oilers to a respectable 11th in scoring on the season. If you think they’re good at scoring goals, you should see them keep them out of the net. Behind workhorse goaltender Cam Talbot (30W, 2.35 GAA, .921 Sv%), Edmonton has only let in 148 goals on the season, which is 6th best in the NHL. How do the Lightning beat this you ask? With speed and keeping the Edmonton in their zone for extended stretches of time. This worked for Tampa Bay against these foes earlier this year along with their solid fourth line against McDavid’s, and if the Bolts keep this up, they have a pretty good chance of turning this one into a positive.
Calgary Flames (29-26-4)
Where: Amalie Arena, Florida
When: Thursday, February 23rd – 7:30PM
Where to Watch: SunS, RSW
On Thursday night, the Lightning face the Calgary Flames who have had ups and downs this year, but have currently won four out of seven in the month of February. Upon looking at Calgary’s statistics, they have settled to middle of the pack status in most categories except for power play, penalty minutes, and scoring. The Flames have six skaters over the thirty-point threshold so far this season, but none over 40, earning them a spot at 20th in the NHL in scoring, an area they’ll need to improve upon if they plan on being competitive during the remainder of the season. One other area Calgary has struggled in is their discipline on the ice as they have accumulated the league’s most penalty minutes. This has given their penalty kill lots of practice, which explains why it is in the top of the bracket when compared to the rest of the NHL.
For Tampa Bay to be successful against their 2004 Stanley Cup opponents, they’ll need to play a defensively sound game as, per noted above, Calgary likes to spread the scoring around. That means that a goal can come from any regular Joe on the ice at any time, which is something the Flames have proven to do in key moments. To do this, the Bolts will need to play a smarter game, which they have as of late and capitalize on their opportunities given to them by the lack of restraint on Calgary’s end. Remember Bolts… don’t get mad, just score on them.
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