Lightning Stock Up, Stock Down: Point, Maroon & More

Welcome to this edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stock Up and Stock Down, a weekly column detailing the highs and lows of the team’s performance. 

It was a mixed week for the Tampa Bay Lightning, as in four home games, they defeated two opponents who had fewer points than they did but lost to two teams who are playoff bound. They defeated the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (March 7) and the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (March 11) while falling to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday (March 9) and the Winnipeg Jets Sunday (March 12). It was nice to see the team break out of their five-game losing streak, but more needs to happen for them to be a serious Stanley Cup contender.

Tampa Bay Lightning Stock up, Stock down
Tampa Bay Lightning Stock up, Stock down (The Hockey Writers)

Despite some missed opportunities against the Jets, such as failing to convert on a 5-on-3 power play, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was pleased with his team’s recent effort. “Are we a better team now than we were before Game 1 of this (homestand)? No question. We felt like we should have had two (Thursday against) Vegas. So we’ve let a couple slide off the table, and that’s going to happen. Teams are going to take points from you.” Their recent improvement will need to continue the trend upward as the Lightning will play six of their next eight games over a 15-day stretch away from home.

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Stock Down: Another Shorthanded Goal

In a game in which they controlled the action for the first two periods, the Lightning gave up their league-leading 11th shorthanded goal of the season. In the third period, Mikhail Sergachev once again attempted and failed to swat at a bouncing puck to keep control in their own end. The result of this was William Karlsson’s tie-breaking goal. Granted, there probably should have been an interference penalty called on the breakout, but the Lightning should not have put themselves in that position with such a careless play. Those 11 goals are the most allowed by a Cooper-coached team in his 10-year tenure in the NHL.

Stock Up: Brayden Point

Point’s two goals in the win over the Blackhawks gave him 43 for the season, which was third in the league at the time behind only Connor McDavid (55) and David Pastrnak (45). He had two goals and an assist in the game before that against the Golden Knights. The second goal gave him 41 for the season, which tied his career best. The issues the team is having of late do not include Point’s play, despite his benching at the beginning of the month in the Buffalo Sabres game on March 3.

Steven Stamkos, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov
Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos celebrates with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Point’s play this season still makes one wonder what the Lightning’s chances in last year’s Stanley Cup Final could have been if he was healthy. Setting that aside, one can make the case that he is the team’s MVP in 2022-23. Their third-round draft pick in 2014 has been valuable not only with the points he has contributed but also with the on-ice grit and determination that has allowed those he skates with to excel.

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Latest News & Highlights

Stock Up: NHL Player Safety

On March 8, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo was suspended two games for spearing Lightning forward Corey Perry. Despite DeAngelo’s rhetoric and insistence that he was not trying to spear him in the groin, anyone who has ever played any level of hockey has been told at the earliest ages that only you are responsible for what you do with your hockey stick. While many might have wanted a longer suspension, the punishment handed out is consistent for similar incidents this season.

Stock Up: Players Having Each Other’s Back

While this is not an endorsement of violence in hockey, it was very nice to see players sticking up for their teammates during recent incidents. In the situation with the DeAngelo spearing, the four players on the ice immediately went after the Flyers’ defenseman to let them know how displeased they were with the spearing of their teammate. In fact, it took quite a while for officials to peel Pat Maroon off of the Lightning’s former first-round draft pick.

Pat Maroon Tampa Bay Lightning
Pat Maroon, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The second incident happened in the overtime loss to the Golden Knights, as the Lightning were earlier involved in a few dustups with some of the Vegas players. It finally culminated with an incident late in the third period in which Maroon punched Keegan Kolesar in the face after a hit from behind, which led to multiple fights that took several minutes for the officials to break up. Cooper stated after the game that the melee “brought you back to the 80s” and “it gave us a boost” (from ‘Forget the slump, the Lightning show spirit and fight in OT loss to Vegas’, Tampa Bay Times, March 9, 2023).

Stock Down: Power Play Efficiency

After going 3-for-6 on the power play against the Flyers, the Lightning were only 1-for-9 in their next three games, including being unable to covert on a crucial 5-on-3 advantage against the Jets. This is an area that will require some attention if they hope to have any success in their upcoming road games.

The Lighting hit the road this week for back-to-back games against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and Thursday (March 14 and 16). They then come home on Saturday (March 18) to host the Montreal Canadiens before having another game against the Devils on Sunday (March 19). With the NHL playoffs starting in about a month, the Lightning need to start building momentum for another run at the Stanley Cup.

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