13 video games into the 2019-20 season, issues felt considerably dire across the Tampa Bay Lightning. The workforce that dominated the 2018-19 common season earlier than flaming out within the playoffs nonetheless regarded haunted by the ghosts of their early postseason exit. Certain, they discovered methods to win video games, however the Lightning merely regarded off on the ice, being a step or two behind their opponents.
Resulting from a little bit of a scheduling quirk, nevertheless, the Lightning skilled a reset roughly one month into the season. With a protracted journey to play the Buffalo Sabres in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the NHL International Collection, the workforce performed two video games in roughly two weeks.
After experiencing a gradual begin to the 2019-20 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning had a little bit of a midseason reset after touring to Stockholm, Sweden to take part within the NHL International Collection.
After pulling out two wins in Stockholm, the Lightning will get again to their common NHL schedule. After sweeping their video games in Sweden, there’s loads of positives for followers throughout Tampa Bay to look ahead to because the workforce works to get again to their 2018-19 midseason type.
New Faces Adjusting to Lightning
For a workforce that gained 62 video games final season, the Lightning noticed a big quantity of roster overhaul all through the 2019 offseason. By opening night time, Tampa Bay featured 4 new forwards, a brand new defenseman and plus a brand-new backup goaltender.
These new faces have been one of many elements that helped create the Lightning’s considerably tough begin to the season. Gamers regarded out-of-sync on the ice, as they tried to be taught their place within the line-up.
Regardless of being one of many new faces for the Lightning, Kevin Shattenkirk discovered rapid success at first of the season. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
As October progressed, nevertheless, the Lightning’s roster began rounding again into type. Injured gamers like Brayden Level and Cedric Paquette returned to the lineup, whereas new faces adjusted to life in Tampa Bay.
By the point that the Lightning left for Sweden, the roster appeared kind of full. It contained a greater combination of veterans and new faces with a extra outlined position with the franchise. Whereas not good but, this reveals that because the season progresses, the workforce ought to proceed to unify and gel right into a extra full unit.
Lightning Prepared for Extra Residence Video games
One other quirk to the beginning of the Lightning’s season was their brutal schedule. After enjoying opening night time in entrance of a sold-out dwelling crowd, the workforce instantly went on a six-game highway journey. Following this highway journey was a brief three-game homestand, which bumped into one other three-game highway journey after which the Stockholm collection.
This schedule could be making an attempt for any workforce, because the Lightning needed to combat their means by way of among the finest groups within the NHL whereas getting little to no time in entrance of their dwelling crowd. Whereas they gained’t get an prolonged homestand till December, the workforce will no less than get a greater unfold in November.
One main contributor to the Lightning’s gradual begin to the 2018-19 season was their schedule, which solely featured 4 dwelling video games by way of the primary 15 video games. (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports activities)
This issues to the Lightning as a result of they usually thrive at dwelling. During the last three seasons, they’ve gone 84-31-Eight at dwelling, versus a 74-38-11 file on the highway. Whereas that’s not an enormous distinction, it’s nonetheless 10 extra losses on the highway.
So, with a extra constant dwelling schedule, the Lightning ought to see an improved file. In the event that they don’t, then this can be an indication of a tough season forward.
Swedish Sweep a Reminder of Lightning’s Potential
If there’s one factor that Lightning followers ought to take out of the Stockholm sweep, it’s that this workforce remains to be extremely good at hockey. When their expertise is on full show, they nonetheless can dominate all features of the sport.
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Nonetheless, simply because they are often one of the best workforce on the ice, it doesn’t imply that they are going to be. Expertise alone doesn’t win video games within the NHL, because the Lightning discovered by way of their first 15 video games.
There’s loads of causes to be excited concerning the 2019-20 season, and if the Lightning can construct upon their Sweden sweep of the Sabres, they need to be again to midseason type sooner moderately than later.