The Wizard of Oz’s own Dorothy couldn’t have said it better, ‘there is no place like home’, as the Tampa Bay Lightning relished in their first home game since December 11.
After losing four of five games on their most recent road trip, ‘excited’ might be an understatement as to what the Lightning players were feeling with getting another opportunity to play on their home ice.
At it again was their second line, as they combined to score all four of their team’s goals as well as nine points overall. Tyler Johnson registered his second career hat trick, only a Nikita Kucherov marker kept him away from a natural hat trick.
Tampa Bay Lightning Continue Success At Home
One of the biggest reasons behind the Lightning’s success early on this season has been the play from the line play of Johnson, Kucherov and Ondrej Palat but also their overwhelming success on home ice.
The home/road splits continue to be a wide margin for the Lightning, who has collected 73% of the possible points at their home arena, compared to 52% on the road.
While home ice advantage is important, the team’s that have the most success are the ones who can win away from their own rink (obviously). In fact, the last three winners of the Stanley Cup (Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Kings again) collected 63% of the possible points on the road.
In perspective, the three teams who finished with the best road records the past three years (Blackhawks were so the year they won Cup), earned 65% of the potential points on the road.
Heading into the Christmas break, the Lightning are in position to host the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs – if, course, the playoffs were to start now – so having a great record at home would certainly do them favors then, but as a team’s long success is also predicated on their ability to ‘steal’ some games on the road.
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.