Lightning are ‘the best team in the East,’ says Vanek

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Thomas Vanek had one major takeaway from Thursday’s season-opening loss to the Bolts.

One, Tampa Bay is pretty good. Two, Tampa Bay’s power play is also pretty good.

“This is the best team in the East in my opinion,” Vanek said, per the Free Press. “You give them these power play opportunities, the momentum slowly shifted there.”

Tampa Bay wiped out a pair of two-goal deficits to win 6-4, and those comebacks were largely sparked by a man advantage that went 3-for-6 on the night.

Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn all scored on the power play, and that spread-out scoring underlined a theme for the Bolts on the night. Nine different skaters had at least one point.

And this, really, is why Vanek said what a lot of people already have. Tampa Bay heads into this season as one of the deepest and most talented teams in the league — especially at forward — and that talent will not just win them plenty of games, but also keep them in games where they fall behind.

Oh, and speaking of Vanek — pretty good Red Wings debut. The maligned winger scored a pair of goals and finished with a team-high five shots on goal.