The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to be road warriors this week as they start a five-game road trip that goes into next week.
This week they will be traveling mostly along the East Coast to take on the New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bolts will need to take advantage of playing some teams that aren’t very good and are having trouble either scoring or keeping the puck out of their own nets.
On Monday night, the Lightning will face the Islanders for the third time this month. They have outscored the Isles 10-2 in the first two meetings. Tampa Bay will need to get the power play going since the Isles have a weak penalty kill. Steven Stamkos should help the power play since he has five points in two games against New York so far this year. The Bolts need to make good decisions with the puck and not turn it over. The team will also need to come out with some energy, get the forecheck going and spend some time in the offensive zone to create chances.
The Islanders haven’t been a very good team to start the season. They are giving up more goals than they are scoring and are struggling on the penalty kill. New York will need to somehow keep Stamkos in-check since he has played well against them this year. They’ll need to get the first goal and try to build off of that. The Islanders will also need to get the puck to the net because they had some decent scoring chances last game, but just couldn’t cash in. John Tavares and company need to start getting to dirty areas to get some deflections and bounces to go their way.
On Tuesday night, Tampa Bay travels to Detroit to face the Red Wings. The Lightning will once again need to take advantage of its power plays since the Red Wings have struggled on the penalty kill. If the Bolts can get the lead then they need to keep the pressure coming and not sit back on the lead since Detroit has some come-from-behind wins. The Red Wings have a pretty balanced line up and any one of its lines can put the puck in the net.
The Red Wings will need to have the lead entering the third period because the team has no wins when trailing after two periods. They will need to put pressure on the Bolts because they will turn the puck over and can be sloppy with the puck at times. A big must is to try to stay out of the penalty box since Tampa Bay has a strong power play. Detroit will also need to keep an eye on the Tampa Bay defensemen since they like to join in the play on the offensive side of the puck. The Red Wings need to come out with energy and play up tempo to take advantage of the fact that the Bolts played the night before and have to travel.
The Bolts take on another Atlantic Division opponent on Thursday night in the Sabres. Tampa Bay will need to beat them at even strength since the Sabres have pretty good special teams. If Robin Lehner is in net then it’s going to be a tough task in trying to score goals. The Lightning will need to get bodies and sticks in the shooting lanes to go for deflections and to take away the goalie’s sight lines. They’ll need to bring that balanced attack with everyone chipping in since the Sabres don’t score much, but they also don’t give up too much either.
The Sabres need to get the first goal of the game since they only have one win when the opponent gets the first goal. The goaltending will need to come up big since Buffalo will turn the puck over and have defensive breakdowns. The Sabres will need to play a full 60 minutes, and put the effort in the whole game. They’ll need to get pucks to the net with bodies in front waiting for rebounds, if they are there. The Sabres will also need to take care of the puck since the Lightning will make them pay if they turn over the puck.
On Saturday, the Lightning will take on the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. The Lightning will need to stay out of the penalty box since the Flyers have one of the best power plays in the League. The Bolts will need to be on the lookout for the top two lines because they have been producing early in the season especially Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. Tampa Bay will need to be on the lookout for Philly’s defense joining the play in the offensive zone, since the group leads the NHL in that department. The Lightning will also need to take advantage of the Flyers weak penalty kill.
Philadelphia will need to stay out of the penalty box themselves since Tampa Bay also has a deadly power play. The Flyers will need to make sure that they don’t give Stamkos any room to get his shot off especially in the power play. The Orange and Black will need to play disciplined hockey and avoid the turnovers in its own zone. They’ll also need to avoid the mental mistakes and the goaltending is going to have to be a lot better than it has been lately.