Lightning still the favorite to win the Stanley Cup

As we approach the halfway point of the season all is well in Tampa, Florida as the lightning own the best record in the NHL.

This is right where they were last year at this point in the season, but this year something feels different with the Lightning In a good way.

The lightning have had their share of injuries to, so no one can say that this team has been injury free. They have had their share and have battled through them.

Starting with Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat this team had guys ready to step in and contribute right away to help this team

Matthieu Joseph stepped in when Palat went down. Eric Cernak stepped in when Hedman went out with his upper body injury and and now that Stralman is out Cernak continues to play more minutes every game.

Cernak was third in total ice time among defensemen with 20:31 In the 4-1 over Toronto.

When Andrei Vasilevskiy went down with the foot fracture, Louis Domingue proved ready to step in and the Lightning did not miss a beat.

All Domingue did was go 11-3 in place of Vasilevskiy and is 13-4 on the season. It is this type of depth on the roster that is keeping the lightning ahead of their competition in the Eastern Conference despite the rash of early season injuries.

The Lightning as a team are playing with a higher intensity level and more of a sense of urgency than they did last season. Very seldom is the Lightning not the best team on the ice and even when they are outplayed like they were against Toronto, The lightning seem to find a way to get the W.

The lightning also has come out of the locker room ready to go from the opening whistle. This has been a huge factor in the Lightning’s ability to stay atop the Eastern Conference standings. Ther has been very little getting behind early and then having to play catch up the rest of the way.

Braydon point is on pace for 60 goals and after a slow start to the season Steven Stamkos is heating up as he had 5G and 2A on the current home stand.

The lightning went 4-0 on the current home stand against some good competition and now will take that dreaded road trip to Western Canada.

The Lightning defeated Boston, Colorado, the NY Rangers and Toronto to extend their current win streak to 8.

The performance of Andrei Vasilevskiy was as an impressive performance by a goalie that you will ever see in the 4-1 win against Toronto.

The fact that he hadn’t played in 14 games made this even more impressive as he stopped 48/49 shots against a very aggressive Toronto team. Vasilevskiy made save after save a few of the highlight reel variety.

Last years Lightning team was pretty good, but this years team is more complete, has more depth, and so far it looks as if they have learned from their past mistakes. And that’s what makes the Lightning the favorite right now to win the Stanley Cup.

The lightning are on an 8 game winning streak and can tie the franchise record for wins with 9 with a win against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night and then break the record in Vancouver Tuesday night.

The game against the Jets on Sunday night could be a Stanley Cup preview as the Jets have the second best record in the Western Confernce and are one of the few teams that can match up with the speed of the Lightning

 

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