NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Wednesday’s matchup between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings. Coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
This might sound strange, but the second best power play in the NHL needs some work.
The Lightning have as much offensive talent on their roster as any team in the league, but they’ve struggled on the man-advantage. They’re power play is currently operating 26.8 percent since the start of the season. Since Jan. 9 though, the Bolts power play is 1-for-16 (6.3 percent). That ranks 30th among NHL teams.
On Monday, the Bolts dropped a 3-2 OT decision to the Dallas Stars. They went 0-for-4 on the power play in that game.
“The PP I don’t think was great tonight,” forward Brayden Point said after Monday’s loss, per the team’s website. “We didn’t really get too many high-quality chances. (The Stars) did a good job, give them credit, but it’s on us to work out plays.”
Nobody is naive enough to think that the Bolts will have the 30th ranked power play between now and the end of the season. If they do continue to struggle, general manager Julien BriseBois can always go out and make a small trade to acquire someone who can help them in that area.
It’s important to note that the Lightning were able to tie Monday’s game with Andrei Vasilevskiy pulled in favor of an extra attacker.
As point mentioned, getting quality scoring chances while on the man-advantage. Another issue, is that they’ve struggled to get into their opponent’s zone crisply. Those are typically the main issues whenever a power play struggles and the same holds true in this case.
Again, when you have Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Point, Ondrej Palat, Victor Hedman, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Killorn, Mikhail Sergachev and others, you have to expect that things will turn around sooner or later.
On the flip side, the Lightning penalty kill has been impressive (a lot of that has to do with Andrei Vasilevskiy’s remarkable turnaround). Since Jan. 9, the Bolts’ PK has been rolling at 90.9 percent (20-for-22).
The Lightning have a seven-point gap to make up with themselves and the Boston Bruins for first in the Atlantic Division. They have the same number of total wins and two games in hand. Getting the power play straightened out might be the difference between winning the division and finishing second.
Liam McHugh will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Anson Carter and Keith Jones and NHL insider Bob McKenzie. John Forslund will call the action from STAPLES Center, alongside analysts Jim Fox and Brian Engblom.