It wasn’t pretty, but for the third time in four games, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored a power play goal. The downside to their most recent power play marker is that they still only scored one time out of a possible nine total opportunities.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Power Play Showing Signs of Life
If you can find one common theme in the team’s recent success at the power play has been the personal.
To no surprise, the Triplets (#ThatLine) have been heavily involved with the team’s power play success. In the three power play goals they have scored in the last four games, the Triplets have been involved in two and have combined for five points. Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, and Brett Connolly have been on the ice for three of the team’s last four power play goals.
The 15.7% isn’t the most ideal success rate, as it is even down from their current season mark of 18.1% – good for only 18th in the league. But the fact that they have scored with more consistency is an encouraging sign, especially after they went five games without a goal with the man advantage (0-21).
Where Has the Success Come From?
For so many years, watch any Steven Stamkos highlight reel and you will see the Lightning’s bread-and-butter when it came to scoring on the power play. Armed with one of the best shots in the league, 34% of Stamkos’ goals have come on the power play. His shot from the left circle has become one of the best, and one of the most feared, in the entire league.
All though he still has the team lead in power play points, Stamkos hasn’t had as much an impact with the man advantage as of late, with only one power play point in the last ten games.
Johnson and Kucherov have picked up the slack, each with three power play points in the last ten.
The chemistry between the two on even strength has carried over to the power play, showing the ability to connect with each other with their cross ice passing ability.
Having Connolly and his big shot in the middle, even without scoring, has allowed the defenders not to get to wide and give Johnson and Kucherov time to operate.
What Could They Do Better
The Lightning have been a little over reliant on the cross-ice pass, looking to set up the ‘perfect’ play as oppose to just getting the puck on net.
With results like the highlight above, it’s hard to argue the thought process in trying to force plays like that. But you watch how easy players like Ryan Callahan made this goal look after Stamkos did nothing more than take one of his famous one-time slap shots from the circle, and it makes you want to see more.
The Lightning have gotten 43-power play opportunities in the last ten games, but have only put 39-shots on goal in that span – less than a shot per chance.
In the team’s first 31-games, Tampa Bay averaged 3.5-shots per power play. Their conversation rate in those games was 21.6%, which would be good for top-10 right now.
Three goals in four games is a great start, but more is still needed for the Lightning to make a complete turnaround.
After facing the Montreal Canadiens, who boost the fifth ranked penalty kill in the league, the Lightning will face off against the two worst teams at killing penalties – the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres, a perfect opportunity to perfect their man advantage.
Anthony covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Hockey Writers. He is also currently a Featured Columnist for Last Word on Sports, and has held editorial positions on multiple Fansided websites and the now defunct The Farm Club.