The Lightning have not been the same team this season that we saw last year during the the record setting 62 win season.
The demise started with the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year being swept in the first round by former coach John Tortarella and his Columbus Blue Jackets.
This is basically the same personal on the first and second lines that was in Tampa last season. That makes the 6-5-2 start for the Lightning even more perplexing.
The Lightning have played well in defeating Boston and Toronto, but were terrible in losses to Carolina and New York Rangers.
The Lightning continue to take untimely penalties and the penalty kill has been near the bottom of the NHL this season.
The power play has not clicked like it did last year, and overall the Lightning are not scoring goals at the pace they did last year.
The schedule has been difficult and when the puck drops in Sweden on Friday for the first of two against the Buffalo Sabres, this will be the Lightning’s first game in seven days.
After the 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders, Coach Jon Cooper said that he thought his team did a lot more good things in that game than in the previous two outings.
The Lightning outshot the Islanders 35-26, held the Islanders to 0/3 on the power play, and won a lot of the battles for loose pucks.
The Lightning will practice three times in Sweden before their game on Friday, and this team has plenty to work on.
The power play has to start clicking. Their play in the offensive zone has to be better. The Lightning need to let Steven Stamkos, Nikita kucherov, and Braydon Point shoot the puck instead of looking for the perfect pass.
At times the Lightning are making one two many passes and they are missing out on good scoring chances.
These two games will be a good test for the Lightning as the Buffalo Sabres have been one of the surprise teams in the NHL this season.
The Sabres are 9-4-2 on the season and trail the Bruins by four points for the Atlantic Division lead.
Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger is an interesting study in that he was the Director of the English Preimier League football club Southampton before taking over as coach of the Sabres.
Krueger had been in that role since 2014 before behind by the Sabres in the off-season.
Krueger played and coached professionally in Europe so despite his most recent work history he has a ton of hockey experience on his resume.
The Sabres come to Sweden with a two game losing streak falling to the Washington Capitals 6-1 on Friday night, and then getting shutout by the New York Islanders 1-0 on Saturday.
These two games in Stockholm will be a high point of the season for defensemen Victor Hedman. Hedman who grew up hoping to one day play for the Swedish national team said that every kid who plays hockey in Sweden dreams of playing at The Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
The Sabres have three Swedish players on the roster. Defensemen
Rasmussen Dahlin, forward Marcus Johansson, forward Johan Larsson, and goaltender Linus Ullmark.
The puck drops at 2PM on Friday afternoon and at 1PM on Saturday.