Lightning Stock Up, Stock Down: Stamkos, A Kraken Alert & 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.

The Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded nicely this week after the penalty-filled fiasco against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, Jan. 6. They started the week with a short, two-game homestand by defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 (Jan. 10) and holding on to a third-period lead after almost letting a three-goal advantage slip away in beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 (Jan. 12). On Saturday, Jan. 14, they kicked off a five-game road trip with a well-played 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

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

The victory over the Blues was the most complete effort of the week, as they made a good start on head coach Jon Cooper’s goal of getting the same, if not more, points earned than the total number of games for the trip. After shrugging off a sluggish start to the game, the Lightning played their brand of hockey by taking a lead into the period and suffocating their opponent to earn the victory.

Stock Up: Steven Stamkos

The wait for goal No. 500 continues for the captain, despite some good opportunities after getting goal No. 499 against the Canucks. In spite of what athletes may tell you, getting close to some record is usually a nerve-wracking experience that Stamkos is handling quite well. You can see the tension and excitement from the team every time the 32-year-old has a chance to achieve the milestone. With teammates, friends, and family waiting for the big moment to happen, it does put a great deal of stress on the player. They may say the right thing while pursuing the goal, but afterward, they will tell you what an ordeal it was. This was very evident last fall when Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees was in pursuit of the American League home run record (from ‘After Hitting No. 62, Aaron Judge Acknowledges Pressure of Chase’, New York Times, Oct. 5, 2022).

Stock Down: Mikhail Sergachev

Mikhail Sergachev was fined for an incident involving the Canucks’ Conor Garland in Thursday’s game. In addition to being out $5000 due to the fine, the 24-year-old made a decision that could have jeopardized the team’s narrow lead at the end of the game. The Lightning were trying to kill off an Alex Killorn penalty at the end of the game when Sergachev thought Garland was in goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s space but was too aggressive in getting the message across to his opponent.

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Sergachev, with 41 seconds left in the game, delivered a solid right hook to Garland but, fortunately, was not called for a penalty on the play. Had the right call been made, the Lightning would have been trying to kill off at least a 5-on-3 and would have probably been a 6-on-3 as the Canucks would have likely kept their goaltender on the bench. There are ways of letting opponents know, especially in critical situations, that getting close to your goaltender is unacceptable. The former first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens needs to know the game situation before deciding how to get such a message across.

Stock Up: Brayden Point

Being a frequent part of this column, it might be wise to consider naming this article after him, as very few players have been as hot as Point over the last month. With his two goals and an assist against the Blues, he has scored goals in 12 of his last 17 contests, with 15 goals and six assists for 21 points. That game also made him the ninth player in the league this season with 25-plus goals and 20-plus assists. He is on pace to break his current career-best point total of 92 from the 2018-19 season. His accomplishments thus far have definitely earned him a place in this year’s All-Star Game.

Stock Up: Seattle Kraken

A special shout-out to the Lightning’s next opponent, the Seattle Kraken. Their 8-5 victory on Saturday (Jan. 14) over the Chicago Blackhawks marked the first time any NHL team has won every game on a road trip of seven games or more. The streak included a shutout of the team with the most points to this point of the season, the Boston Bruins. They are also on an eight-game win streak, a franchise record.

Matty Beniers Seattle Kraken
Matty Beniers, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

They set another franchise record in their win over the Blackhawks by scoring six goals in the first period. Consistency from everyone in their lineup has been key to their recent success. For example, during that six-goal outburst, their goals came off five different skaters’ sticks on just seven shots on goal. Each of the Kraken’s four lines scored at least once, and every forward earned at least one point. They have gotten production from most of their roster during their win streak. As such, Monday’s game (Jan. 16) against the Lightning will be quite interesting to watch.

Related: 5 Players Likely to Cool Off In Second Half of 2022-23 NHL Season

After the game against the Kraken, the Lightning cross the border for back-to-back games against the Canucks on Wednesday (Jan. 18) and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday (Jan. 19). They finish their five-game road trip on Saturday (Jan. 21) when they travel to Calgary to take on the Flames.

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