Lightning second half preview
What can we expect from this edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning the second half of the 2019-20 season?
The lightning are just a little more than halfway through the 2019-20 season having played 48 games and have a 29-15-4 record with 62 points.
The Lightning are in second place in the Atlantic division trailing the first place Boston Bruins by eight points and have a one point lead on the third place Florida Panthers.
It was a disappointing start to the season for the lightning who hovered around the .500 mark until mid-December when the Lightning went on a ten game winning streak that got them back into the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov had a slow start to the season and played some uninspired hockey at times as he made some poor decisions with the puck and was benched in the third period and the overtime period in a game against Ottawa.
The first half co-MVP award goes to two players Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman.
Killorn is having his best season in the NHL as he is second on the team with 20 goals and is fifth on the team with 39 points.
Hedman, coming off his Norris Trophy winning season has picked right up where he left off at the end of last season with nine goals and 32 assists for 41 points which is good for 4th on the team in scoring.
After a slow star, Braydon Point has started to find the back of the net as he has 18 goals and 24 assists and is well on his way to another 40 goal season.
Andrei Vasilevskiy who looked very sluggish to start the season has played outstanding hockey as of late winning his last 12 starts and leads the league in wins with 24. Vasilevskiy has lowered his goals against average to 2.54 with a .917 save percentage with two shutouts.
If Vasilevskiy continues to play like he played the last month of the season he will again be in the running for the Vezina Trophy at the end of the season.
The Lightning will have a tough start to the second of the season as they will play in Dallas on Monday night before heading for the west coast for games with Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose.
With the trade deadline approaching February 24th, look for the Lightning to once again stay put as GM Julien Breisbois likes the group he has assembled and thinks that they can make a deep playoff run.
The Lightning could use a fourth line forward and a right handed shooting defensemen, but those needs are not urgent.
The Lightning should finish the regular season strong barring any injuries and should get close to that 50 win mark for the third consecutive season.
This could be the last version of this Lightning team that we see together as BriesBois will have to make some tough decisions this summer regarding the roster, as the Lightning will have minimal cap space.
Right now lets just enjoy the second half of the season and get ready for a deep playoff run.