Lightning Red Hot in Tampa Bay
That has not been the case for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season as they have taken both the Eastern Conference and NHL by storm through the first month of the season. As of this writing, the Lightning are tied for first in the Atlantic Division and just two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for first in the Conference.
While a 10-4 record to start the season more than likely surprises many throughout the hockey world, it is actually quite easy to see why the team is having success so far this season. For the Lightning, it always starts with the play of one of their best players, Steven Stamkos.
When it comes to putting the puck in the net, it can be argued that there is no one better than Stamkos. Stamkos is proving that once again this season as the 23-year-old is second in goals this season with 11 and second in points with 20.
Since his second year in the league, all Stamkos has done is score goals in huge quantities. Starting that season with 51 goals, Stamkos followed that up with seasons of 45, 60, and 29 goals, which is amazing for someone who is still considered a young player in the NHL.
Following Stamkos is Lightning forward and team captain Martin St. Louis. St. Louis, who led the league in points last season with 60 (17 goals and 43 assists), has picked-up where he left off and has 16 points on seven goals and nine assists.
Since joining the Lightning in 2000-2001 season, St. Louis has been more consistency for this hockey club. He works hard every shift, he plays well on both sides of the puck and he produces on a nightly basis and does everything he can to help the Lighting find a way to win a hockey game.
The rest of the Lightning offense hasn't been bad either. In fact, the team has scored 45 goals this year (eighth in the league) and in their 14 games this season, have averaged just over three goals per game (3.21).
The Lightning are also having success this season because of the play of their starting masked man, Ben Bishop. On the season, the 26-year-old Bishop is 9-2 with a 2.15 goals against average, a .925 save percentage and one shutout.
Since being drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, all Bishop has been looking to do is be a starting netminder somewhere. The Lightning are giving him the chance to do just that and right now, Bishop is rewarding the organization with great play between the pipes.
There is still a lot of hockey left to be played but there is no doubting that the Lightning have been one of the pleasant surprises this season while also being one of the top teams in the league. Should the team keep this up, the playoffs should be more than a reasonable goal for this club moving forward.