1. Lightning

Joe Smith's takeaways from Lightning-Blackhawks

Published Jan. 22, 2018

Matt Peca and Michael Bournival likely won't be the last callups by the Lightning the next month or so. There are plenty of other deserving candidates at AHL Syracuse, with Adam Erne likely getting a shot had he not been injured. With Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks, these prospects get a great chance to provide a spark.

The maligned Lightning penalty kill loomed large Monday. First, Tampa Bay killed off 45 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the first period, keeping the score tied. Then in the second period, the Lightning found a way to thwart a four-minute man advantage, even scoring a shorthanded goal by Chris Kunitz. That was a momentum and game-changer.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was back to his old self, doing his part to lift the Lightning out of its funk. He was sharp from the get-go, stopping Patrick Sharp on a first-period 2-on-1 then denying a few chances off the rush early in the second. That's an encouraging sign for the Lightning MVP, who had allowed 23 combined goals his past five starts.