For those that didn’t know, the Tampa Bay Lightning had its 16 game point streak (15-0-1) come to an end, after a tough 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on the road. Let’s break down the Lightning streak and see what players stepped up the most over this streak.
What went right for the Lightning on their 16 game point streak?
-Their power play was fantastic, connecting on 37.3% (via @bburnsnhl on twitter) of their opportunities, prior to the game versus San Jose. Their penalty kill also shined during their stretch, killing off 86.7%, which was a league best in that span.
-Aside from special teams, they played stellar 5 on 5 hockey, with their stars shining and depth players, like Adam Erne, stepping up to the task. It’s also important to note that the streak started with Louis Domingue, who went on a tear until Andrei Vasilevskiy returned. When Vasy did come back, in his very first game against a top team in the Maple Leafs, he stopped 48 of 49 shots.
-They beat teams every which way: They can outscore you in a high scoring game, they can beat you with physicality, they can beat you with speed, and they can beat you in low-scoring, tight games.
But there was always one glaring problem, at least for me; too many penalties. They weren’t necessarily undisciplined, just unlucky at times. Let’s take a look back at those games, and see how many total penalties they had.
-In total, the Lightning took 66 penalties over the 16 game point streak, which is an average of 4.125 penalties per game. I knew that sooner or later, their PK wouldn’t hold, and in the loss to San Jose, they took another 3 penalties, giving up a crucial goal early in the second period from Evander Kane, giving the Sharks a two goal lead (3-1), which proved to be the game winner.
Regardless, it was one hell of a run for the Lightning, stretching from November 29th, 2018 to January 3rd, 2019. Here are the players that stepped up for the Lightning over that stretch.
7-0-0 record, .907sv%, 2.71GAA
Domingue made many timely saves, and outlasted 7 other goalies to bang out win after win with Vasy out. He’s played really well all year when he’s called upon, and he is a great backup to have. The only reason why his save percentage was down and his goals against average up, is because teams went into the game vs. Tampa playing their hearts out and generating any sort of offense they can, and again, Domingue outlasted them. He faced 204 shots in that stretch, meaning he faced an average of 29 shots a game, and to win every one of those games facing that volume of shots is impressive.
16 games, 11 goals, 25 assists, 36 points, 2.25 points per game
Kucherov went on an absolute tear, going on a 12 game point streak during the 15-0-1 run, earning himself the league lead in points, as well as a spot on the NHL all-star game. He averaged over 2 points a game, solidifying why he’s one of the best in the league.
16 games, 15 goals, 9 assists, 24 points, 1.5 points per game
Steven Stamkos led the NHL in goals during the month of December, and like Kucherov, earned himself a spot on the Atlantic all-star roster. He scored at nearly a goal per game rate, showing why he’s a prolific scorer in today’s NHL.
16 games, 6 goals, 16 assists, 22 points, 1.375 points per game
Brayden Point is a restricted free agent at the end of this year, and boy is he earning every penny he’s going to get. Not only has he been productive offensively, posting an assist per game average, but he has also been called upon to shut down opposing top lines, and he has found success. A dark horse for the Selke this year, Brayden Point has been a vital part of the team and got robbed of a spot on the all-star game, unless saved by fans in the “Last Man In” vote. (If you want to cast your vote, here’s the link: NHL.com/Vote )
I could have easily included several other players, including Vasilevskiy, because of how well the entire team performed over this streak. However, Stamkos, Point and Kucherov were stellar, and Domingue blew expectations out of the water. Although this streak did come to an end, this team is too good to fall apart, and I expect more stellar play from their stars.
All stats via NHL app. Player profiles provided by hockey-reference.com