Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning close to last season's point pace

TAMPA — With all the chatter about how poorly the Lightning started the season, it is actually close to last year's pace in terms of points. Real close.

Entering Saturday's game against the Hurricanes, the Lightning was 38-22-4 with 80 points and was tied with the Panthers atop the Atlantic Division in points, but it owned the tiebreaker because of more regulation and overtime wins.

Last season after 64 games, the Lightning had the same amount of overall wins (38) but had two more overtime losses to reach 82 points (38-20-6).

"Somebody told me we're only two points off of last year's pace, which was kind of a record-setting season for us," coach Jon Cooper said. "Going through the year you kind of remember how it was a great year. I don't know if we have that same feeling about this year. Everybody is talking about how we've been up and down, inconsistent, and here we are about two points off of last year's pace.

"I'm really happy at where we're at. Any time you can say there's 18 games left and you're tied for first place, that's a pretty good spot to be. I know since Christmastime we've taken off and that's helped us, but you have to do it at some point. And the fact that we're doing it now at this point of the season is good for us."

With Tampa Bay's 4-3 overtime win against the Hurricanes, it has won a franchise-record nine straight. Before Saturday, it had given up two goals or fewer in five straight games for the first time in team history, which also has helped.

CLOSE TO RETURNING: D Andrej Sustr (upper body) missed his second game, but Cooper said he believed Sustr would return soon. "Probably one of the games Monday (or) Tuesday (at Philadelphia and home against Boston)," Cooper said.

GLAD TO BE BACK: With Sustr down, the Lightning is down to six defensemen. Still, it didn't have to call up anybody with the return of Jason Garrison, who played in his third game after missing the previous 10 with an ankle injury. "I feel pretty good now," Garrison said during the pregame skate. "The first game back there is always a little adjustment. It's nice to get a few games under my belt coming into the last part of the regular season. It's not hard, but it takes a little bit of time to get the speed of everything. It takes a few games to just get that comfort level you were at before."

NUTS AND BOLTS: With Sustr out, C Jonathan Marchessault was the lone (healthy) scratch for Tampa Bay. … LW Ondrej Palat's first-period goal was the 50th of his career. He added his 10th of the season and second of the game in the second period.

Lightning close to last season's point pace 03/05/16 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2016 12:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  2. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand

    Bucs

    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'

    Blogs

    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  4. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue

    Blogs

    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.
  5. Rays, Bucs and Lightning join Dungy in donating to move Confederate monument

    Bucs

    The Tampa Bay area's three major league sports teams have pledged their financial support in moving a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]