Nobody thought it would be easy. Minus Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning faced a four-game road trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim.
Turns out everyone was right; it hasn’t been easy. The first game of the trip was a loss, 6-3 to the Coyotes. The second was another three-goal defeat, 5-2 to the Kings.
Tonight, after suffering consecutive losses for the first time this season — and with “the high of emotion from Steven going down” having run out, according to head coach Jon Cooper — it’s a visit to the Shark Tank.
“It’s not panic time, it’s just addressing and correcting the mistakes and making sure we stop this,” Lightning captain Marty St. Louis said, per TBO.com. “You don’t want a two-gamer to turn into a four- or five-gamer. Let’s be honest and assess your game, be honest in how you’re playing, and at the end of the day we all have to do more.”
Whoever starts in goal for the Lightning, Ben Bishop or Anders Lindback, will “have to do more” as well. Tampa Bay has received excellent goaltending from Bishop this season; however, his last two outings have been rough ones. He left the game after allowing three goals on 14 shots in Phoenix, and he allowed five goals on 31 shots versus the Kings. Lindback, meanwhile, is 1-4-0 with a low .875 save percentage.
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
Kane also tied Denis Savard (1985-86) for second-longest streak in Chicago history. Bobby Hull had a 21-game streak.