The Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night in what could be a preview of what the first round could look like. For Lightning fans, they are thrilled with the blowout victory. For Leafs fans, well, not so much, as they had to watch their team lose 8-1 to their potential opponent in the first round.
With a blowout like this, there are several things to take away from the bright spot of a dark month for Lightning hockey.
1. Stamkos sets franchise points record
Steven Stamkos, who was drafted first overall nearly 14 years ago in 2008, set another new record in Tampa Bay Lightning history. This time, Stamkos broke the all-time franchise points record, with a whopping 956 points, beating Martin St. Louis’ old record of 953 points. For years, Stamkos would be considered not only a superstar, but also one of, if not the best, Lightning player in franchise history. Congratulations to Stamkos for an outstanding achievement!
Ladies and gentlemen, your new franchise all-time points leader. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/mkl4JzDjWM
– x – Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 22, 2022
2. Jon Cooper did it
The Lightning hadn’t played well in April before tonight, winning less than half of their games, with wins nothing to brag about. It’s been apparent for a few months that Lightning coach Jon Cooper wasn’t happy with the way the team was playing. The mix of pulling Andrei Vasilevskiy the previous week and being vocal about how he thought the team was playing at press conferences gave the team the spark they needed. It was the Lightning hockey that fans missed.
3. Vasilevskiy looks better
Over the past month, Vasilevskiy hasn’t played like he usually does. Fans speculated that he might have a lingering injury or played too many games. However, Vasilevskiy started playing much better after saving 36 of 37 shots against the Leafs, impressive numbers for any goaltender. Vasilevskiy currently sits with a .917sv%, tied for his lowest since becoming the team’s starter. The fact that it’s tied for its lowest is impressive in itself.
4. Depth is promising
The Lightning were missing Brayden Point on Thursday night, and while that’s usually bad news, the Lightning proved they had the depth to get the ball rolling. Despite multiple injuries, the Lightning was one of the best teams in the league all season. The Lightning played fantastically and if they can play like that when injuries occur in the playoffs, there’s nothing to worry about in the playoffs this year.
5. Focus on the playoffs
The Lightning have a chance to make history this season. If they win another cup this season, they will be the first team to win three cups in a row since the Islanders dynasty in the 80s, which won four in a row. It’s time for the Lightning to focus on the playoffs and not worry too much about the regular season. They have a place in the playoffs, so now the goal is to try to win another cup.