On Tuesday night, the Lightning take on the Maple Leafs for the first time this season. The Leafs have had some problems holding leads in games. Toronto lost a back-and-forth game to the Ottawa Senators in overtime. The Winnipeg Jets came back to win in overtime, after being down 4-1 after two periods. The Chicago Blackhawks came back after being down 4-2 in the third period to win in a shootout. The starting goalie for Toronto needs to make the routine saves, and keep pucks out of the net. The Leafs are going to have to protect the puck better since the Lightning will cash in on mistakes.
If Tampa Bay should get down a few goals then they don’t need to change the game plan or panic because they’ve come back in games already this season. The Lightning will need to keep the kids in check since they are producing a decent amount of offense in the early going. Also, they need to watch out for the speed of the Leafs and the breakout plays. Tampa Bay needs to be patient with the puck and not force something that isn’t there.
On Thursday night, the Lightning will visit the Bell Centre and the Montreal Canadiens, who happen to be off to a hot start. The Habs haven’t been giving up much defensively, and have been able to put pucks in the opposing team’s net. If Montreal continues doing those two things then they have a decent shot at beating with the Lightning. The Habs will need to keep an eye on Tampa Bay’s defense since they like to jump into the play offensively.
The Bolts will have to try and stop the balanced Habs offense. The Lightning need to get pucks to the net with bodies in front looking for either a rebound chance or a deflection. If either Habs goalie, Carey Price or Al Montoya, can see the puck then they’ll most likely make the save. The Bolts need to take advantage of the Habs miscues since they don’t give up many shots against or chances. The biggest thing for Tampa Bay is to get the first goal and take the crowd out of the game.
The Bolts will finish off the week with a visit to New Jersey to face the Devils for the second time this year. In their first meeting, the Lightning won 3-2 in overtime. New Jersey need to keep an eye out for the use of the stretch pass by the Tampa Bay defense. The Devils need to establish a forecheck and get pucks to the net since the Lightning have allowed some goals this year. New Jersey will need to play a smart defensive game since the Bolts have a balanced lineup.
The Lightning got off to a sloppy start the last time these two teams met, and need to build on the complete game they played last time they were on the ice. Tampa Bay needs to capitalize on its chances because the Devils don’t give up a lot of chances. The Lightning will need to keep an eye on Taylor Hall, who had three goals in the early going to lead the Devils.