Lightning’s Entire Lineup Contributing Offensively

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is expected to score goals. He always has, and now he leads the NHL with seven through six games. However, seven other Lightning players have lit the lamp this season.

With all four lines and the defense scoring, the team can be more opportunistic with the puck. The Lightning have scored 18 goals through the first six games, even though the team is only 3-3-0. However, it must be encouraging to head coach Jon Cooper that goals are being provided from beyond the top lines, and the power play has been producing consistently.

Stamkos & the Offense

Even if the team is scoring by committee, the Lightning’s stars are shining early this season. Brayden Point single-handedly sent the Florida Panthers home with their first loss of the season on Oct. 21 when he scored the overtime winner. He has scored four goals and two assists—proving that he is fully recovered from the injury that kept him out for most of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. He is back on the top line with Nikita Kucherov and Brandon Hagel, who has a goal and an assist so far.

No matter who’s scoring, there is a good chance that Kucherov had a hand in it. He leads the team and the league (tied with Artemi Panarin and Jesper Bratt) with eight assists.

It’s worth noting that five of Stamkos’ goals were scored on the power play. He has picked up right where he left off last season when he scored the most points (106) of his 15-year career. He is mainly playing on the second line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn, who scored his first goal of the season against the New York Islanders on Oct. 22.

Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate
Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov celebrate (Anders Wiklund/TT via AP)

Cooper has created a third line built around Ross Colton and Nick Paul, with Cole Koepke outplaying Gabriel Fortier, who was sent back to the Syracuse Crunch. Colton, 26, has a knack for scoring timely goals, and the Lightning will need him to continue to do so.

Related: Lightning to Continue Successful Partnership with Syracuse Crunch

In his short time with the club, Nick Paul has also contributed some timely goals. He scored with one-tenth of a second remaining in the second period against the Islanders to tilt the game in the Lightning’s favor.

When the Lightning picked up Paul at the trade deadline last season, Cooper admitted that he didn’t realize how valuable he would be to the club. He scored two goals that won the first-round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and general manager Julien BriseBois signed him to a seven-year, $22.05 million contract extension this offseason.

Now that Corey Perry is back on the fourth line with Pat Maroon and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, he has scored two goals and two assists. Starting on the top power-play unit, Perry continues to be a great two-way player.

Points from the Defense

Defenseman Cal Foote scored against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 14 while averaging over 18 minutes of ice time. He has added two assists for three points in six games.

Thirty-one-year-old star defenseman Victor Hedman continues to be one of the best defenders in the league, scoring at a near-point-per-game pace while effectively manning the blue line. Mikhail Sergachev, who signed an eight-year contract extension worth $8.5 million, is close behind with four assists this season.

With Zach Bogosian injured and Jan Rutta and Ryan McDonagh now playing for other teams, the Bolts brought in Ian Cole, Philippe Myers, and Haydn Fleury to fill the gap. So far, only Fleury has contributed to the offense, with an assist on Stamkos’ second goal of the season versus the Blue Jackets. If the Lightning can get any offense from their three new defensemen, then the team will have scoring contributions from their entire roster.

Lightning’s Deep Roster

The Lightning continue to have one of the deepest rosters in the NHL. BriseBois has had to make difficult decisions to keep the team cap-compliant and competitive.

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning 2021 Stanley Cup
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2021 Stanley Cup (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Although the Lightning are getting goals from across the board, they haven’t been playing as well as expected. Too many penalties and sloppy play has the team tied for last place. However, with consistent scoring coming from beyond their top two lines, they should be back on track soon.

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