Tag: Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning Clinch Playoff Spot

The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their historic season. Aside from being the first team to 50 wins and 100 points this season, they have yet to lose 15 games all year. And last week they tied the Detroit Red Wings (1995-96) as one of the fastest teams to reach 50 wins. The Lightning accomplished this feat in 66 games.

With 12 games remaining if the Lightning were to win every game but two they will go down in NHL history for most wins in the regular season. The Lightning are 8 wins away from the Flyers home wins in a season record (1975-76), they are 8 wins away from most road wins in a season. With 12 games remaining and a possible 24 points on the table the Lightning could be second all-time in most points in a season.

The Lightning as we all know by now clinched a playoff spot the other night with the Blue Jackets and Canadiens both losing in regulation Wednesday night.

Right now it is looking to be a Lightning vs Canadiens first round match up, the other two still in a potential playoff wild card hunt are the Blue Jackets and Flyers. No matter who the Lightning play first round I think we can assume it will be a series win for them.

With 12 games remaining the Lightning have Detroit (today), Toronto(2) Detroit, Washington (3), Arizona, Carolina, Boston(2), St. Louis, Ottawa, Montreal. Attempting to predict the future, I think we see the Lightning end with 126 points around that marker.

Advertisements

NHL Power Rankings: Islanders and Golden Knights rise. Tampa Bay and Calgary stay a top the leader boards

This is the second edition of rankings, I am usually not a big fan of weekly rankings because week by week things change very quickly. A monthly over view of the rankings is good by me. Here is my top ten teams in the NHL at the moment.

Here are last months rankings: 

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-0-1) 
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-2)
  3. Winnipeg Jets (8-2-0)
  4. Calgary Flames (6-3-1) 
  5. Washington Capitals (7-3-0) 
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-3-1) 
  7. Nashville Predators (4-5-1) 
  8. San Jose Sharks (6-2-2) 
  9. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2) 
  10. Boston Bruins (6-4-0) 

Here is an UPDATED (1/21/2019) version of the rankings now. Note the record next the teams name is their last ten games.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (7-3-0)

2. Calgary Flames (8-2-0) (up two)

3. Winnipeg Jets (7-3-0) 

4. San Jose Sharks (7-3-0) (up four)

5. New York Islanders (8-2-0) (new)

6. Vegas Golden Knights (8-2-0) (new)

7. Nashville Predators (5-3-2)

8. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-4-0) (down two)

9. Boston Bruins (6-3-1) (up one)

10. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-7-0) (down eight) 

My Top Three Picks To Be Crowned Stanley Cup Champions 2018-2019

Based off the odds of Vegas, what teams have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup?

Tampa Bay Lightning +300

Toronto Maple Leafs +550

Calgary Flames: +1000

Nashville Predators:  +1200

San Jose Sharks: +1200

Winnipeg Jets +1200

Washington Capitals +1400

Pittsburgh Penguins +1700

Boston Bruins +1700

Columbus Blue Jackets: +1800

New York Islanders +2200

All betting odds aside, my top three choices for a Stanley Cup this season.

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Is there any need to get into much of a discussion about this? From line one to four they produce, their back end is strong with plenty of experience and mobility and the icing on the cake. A healthy, solid number one goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning are 34-8-2 with 70 points, they lost a combination of 10 games all year and only EIGHT in regulation. With a +67 goal differential.
  2. Calgary Flames: In all honesty the Western Conference does not look to difficult this year. The Flames have played well in their division and if the season were to end today they would have to go through Minnesota, Vegas or San Jose then Nashville or Winnipeg. The Flames have been a great team on both sides of the puck if they can figure out their goaltending, between Mike Smith and David Rittich they are a top-pick for the West Conference finals. The Flames are 28-13-4 with 60 points but a point ahead of San Jose for the divisional lead.
  3. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets have to get through the Predators again one more time to get to the Conference finals and from there if you come out alive in the West it is a possibility. The Jets will need Connor Hellebuyck to wake up and play a big role in their success from here until June. The Jets will need to see Patrik Laine step up big time as well, along with more depth players and a solid game from their backend.

Those are my top-three choices for the Stanley Cup Champions 2018-2019, what are yours?

 

NHL Rankings; Lightning top the league, Columbus climbing, Nashville downfall

The 1st ranking period of the year! This is pretty simple, the best teams up to this point. But remember when doing these rankings, last weeks games and the last ten are factored into where each team stands. The record next to the teams names are their record in their last ten games. Next ranking period will be done January 20th. 

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-0-1) 

  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-2)

  3. Winnipeg Jets (8-2-0)

  4. Calgary Flames (6-3-1) 

  5. Washington Capitals (7-3-0) 

  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-3-1) 

  7. Nashville Predators (4-5-1) 

  8. San Jose Sharks (6-2-2) 

  9. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2) 

  10. Boston Bruins (6-4-0) 

Erik Cernak’s unexpected rise continues to provide depth on Tampa Bay’s blue line

Erik Cernak is here to stay, at least as it is now in Tampa Bay. Young defenseman was not even expected to play this season but he already played in 16 NHL games this year.

Coach Jon Cooper talked about him last weekend and expressed his surprise about the young Slovakian d-man’s rise. Cooper said, that based on the training camp, he did not expect Cernak to get NHL anytime soon. Yet he has played 20 games on a very high level.

Cernak was more than a solid substitute of right-handed veteran defenseman Anton Strålman. Strålman is an excellent defenseman with plenty of experience with the age of 32. Cernak played solid, collecting +8 rating and 5 assists.

If there is any injury doubt in the remainder of the season, Erik Cernak should be Tampa’s first choice replacement. But looking further than this year, Cernak might be a very reasonable solution for the Lightning.

Young defenseman a healthy solution

Coming next July, the Lightning will have approximately 12 million in their salary cap space to sign so many key weapons. Most importantly Brayden Point, but also trio of experienced veteran defencemen – Braydon Coburn, Anton Strålman and Dan Girardi.

AR-311139800
Everyone is pleased with Cernak in Tampa

You cannot resign all of these guys if you are the Bolts. And now you will have just three available defencemen signed – McDonagh, Hedman and Sergachev. And… Erik Cernak, still being under his entry-level contract.

I assume that the Lightning will give up on at least one of the three mentioned UFA-to be defencemen. If Tampa Bay needs one of those replaced immediately, here is 21-years old Slovakian D-man to play.

If Cernak is ready to play a full 82-game season for the Lightning, there should be no problem at all and he can be both effective and nice solution for the salary cap hell, which is coming to Tampa Bay starting next July.

NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions; Metropolitan, Atlantic and Wild Card Teams…

This may be the year the Eastern Conference is officially weaker than the Western Conference. For years the Rangers, Canadiens and Islanders were top 15 teams in the NHL, but this year the Western Conference seems to be a little tougher and tighter in terms of the playoff race.

Taking a look at the Eastern Conference Metropolitan Division it is heavily dominated by three teams the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals. It has been a major shock to the East that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a non playoff team right now as well as the Flyers being out of contention and struggling this season. Another big surprise is the Canadiens start, coming out now 35 games into the season and being in the second wild card spot and six points out from the three seed in the Atlantic.

The Atlantic division playoff teams 

The Buffalo Sabres are off to a surprising start, yet after going on their win streak, they dropped six straight and now are 3-4-3 in their last ten. Are we sure the Sabres are legitimate playoff contenders? Or will they be out of the race come March? Personally after seeing what the Sabres have done and are capable of, they can easily be a playoff team. Realistically they need to stay above .500 for the next month or so to stay in the race and when it continues to tighten up and get closer, they will pull a few games out of their back pocket and make a push. With that, I don’t think they stay #3 in the Atlantic though, the Bruins are five points behind and have yet to hit their full stride this season. If the Bruins get healthy soon, they will knock the Sabres out of three, but this means Bruins stay three and Leafs stay two it will be another Bruins vs Leafs first round match up. The Leafs are not catching the Lighting (54), the Lightning have essentially clinched first place and will have an easier first round than other teams. Out of the Atlantic I think we see Lightning (1), Leafs (2), Bruins (3), Sabres (4), Canadiens get bumped out of the playoffs by either the Penguins or Islanders. Which brings me to the second part of this article.

The weak Metropolitan playoff teams

The Metropolitan is extremely weak, of the four divisions in the NHL the Metropolitan is by far the weakest. The Capitals with 43 points lead the Metro, yet in any other division would be third in the division. The Metro is basically run by the Capitals who lead the division by just four points but I do not see the Capitals dropping out of that one spot. The Blue Jackets come in at number two (39 points) and they have been very inconsistent this season, they struggle to stay consistent and string together wins over multiple games and number three is the Islanders (38 points) who are on  three-game win streak and surprising a lot of people right now. Based off what we have in front of us right now, I would have to assume the Islanders get knocked out of three by the Penguins and top three in the Metropolitan are Capitals (1), Penguins (2), Blue Jackets (3), the Metro is so weak that the Penguins can start of the season below .500 and still be in contention for a playoff spot. Out of the Metro it will probably be Capitals (1), Penguins (2), Blue Jackets (3), Islanders (4).

Playoff prediction in the Eastern Conference: 

Tampa Bay Lightning (1) vs New York Islanders (WC2) 

Washington Capitals (1) vs Buffalo Sabres (WC1) 

Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (3) 

Toronto Maple Leafs (2) vs Boston Bruins (3) 

NHL; Have to LOVE it as Milan Lucic sends a message to Mathieu Joseph

Ah, Milan Lucic, we thank you. Well some of us do, the league has not full blown soft as baby sh*t just yet. This is what some older fans love to see and the younger, non modernized, flashy goals, highlights every shift type of fans like to see also. Bravo to Lucic with how the league is nowadays this could result in a 15-game suspension. Have to give this cyborg some credit, sticking up for his team and sending a message to youngster Joseph that his actions have consequences. This happened because Joseph cross checked defenseman Kris Russell and got away with it, so he thought. Therefore Lucic took actions into his own hands and absolutely blindsided the young forward. Lucic did end up getting ejected from the game and not much has been said further about the situation and what will happen, but thank you Lucic.