Only one NHL game today on this holiday Monday, an afternoon affair in Boston between the Bruins and the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning.
First place in the Eastern Conference, the Lightning (12-4-0) head into today’s contest on a four-game winning streak, with seven wins in their last eight.
Pretty good, right? Well, their overall record doesn’t even tell the whole impressive story. Of Tampa Bay’s 12 victories, six have come against the Western Conference, including two over the defending champion Blackhawks and others over winning clubs in St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Minnesota. In fact, the Lightning are a perfect 6-0-0 against the West, which is especially noteworthy given that conference’s dominance over the East this season.
Perhaps the biggest key to the Lightning’s success? Goalie Ben Bishop, who boasts an 11-2-0 record with a .927 save percentage. Hockey’s most important position had been a weakness for the Lightning in recent seasons; it’s a strength now.
Others making positive impacts for Tampa Bay include free-agent addition Valtteri Filppula and 24-year-old Alex Killorn (who? read about him here). And, of course, there’s Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, who’ve combined for 42 points in 16 games.
The Lightning have, however, had trouble with the Bruins this season. Boston took the first meeting on Oct. 3, 3-1, and the next, 5-0, on Oct. 19.
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.