National Hockey League

Atlantic Division Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

nhl7TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
After capturing the franchise’s first-ever Presidents’ Trophy and matching the NHL record for single-season wins in 2018-19, Tampa Bay enters the 2019-20 season looking to become the fifth team in NHL history to string together at least three consecutive 50-win seasons. The others: Detroit (4; 2005-06 to 2008-09), Montreal (4; 1975-76 to 1978-79), Boston (4; 1970-71 to 1973-74) and Philadelphia (3; 1973-74 to 1975-76).

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* The Lightning have won each of their last five season-opening contests, tied with the Canucks for the longest active win streak in such contests. With another victory on Oct. 3 vs. the Panthers, the Lightning can become the 11th team in NHL history to string together at least six consecutive season-opening victories and first since the Sharks from 2010-11 to 2016-17.

* Additionally, Tampa Bay also owns the NHL’s all-time best points percentage in season-opening contests (26-17-9, .692).

* Victor Hedman has scored at least 10 goals in each of the last six seasons, including 2014-15 which began at a historic pace. That campaign, Hedman scored in each of his team’s first three contests to match the NHL’s second-longest goal streak by a defenseman to start a season – one contest shy of the longest such run in League history (Baldy Northcott: 4 GP in 1932-33).

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Nikita Kucherov strung together a season for the ages in 2018-19, posting 41-87—128. With another 120-point campaign in 2019-20, Kucherov can become the first player to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons since Mario Lemieux did so with Penguins in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

* Steven Stamkos (393-373—766), who trails only Alex Ovechkin (495-406—901) in goals since making his NHL debut in 2008-09, sits 44 points shy of joining franchise legends Martin St. Louis (365-588—953) and Vincent Lecavalier (383-491—874) as the third player to record 800 points with the Lightning.

* The Lightning captain needs one overtime goal to surpass Lecavalier (8) for sole possession of second place in franchise history and two to tie St. Louis (10) for the franchise lead. Additionally, he sits five game-winning goals to tie Lecavalier (60) for second place in franchise history behind St. Louis (64).

* Victor Hedman, already the Lightning’s all-time leader in goals (94), assists (324) and points (418) among defensemen, sits six goals shy of becoming the 13th active blueliner to score at least 100 career goals. Additionally, Hedman – listed at 6’6’’ – can join the likes of Zdeno Chara (200) and Chris Pronger (157) as just the third defenseman in NHL history listed at 6’6’’ or taller to tally 100 career markers.

* Hedman (696) needs four games to become the fourth player – and first defenseman – to skate at least 700 games with the franchise; Lecavalier (1,037), St. Louis (972) and Stamkos (746) rank first, second and third, respectively.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* Twenty-year-old defenseman Callan Foote posted 10-21—31 in 76 GP with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in 2018-19. In the last 14 seasons, Andy Canzanello (10 in 2005-06) is the only other rookie Crunch defenseman to score double-digit tallies in a single season.

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Andrei Vasilevskiy owns a career record of 124-59-15 (2.55 GAA, .919 SV% and 18 SO) and sat atop the League in wins in 2017-18 (tied w/ 44) and 2018-19 (39). The 25-year-old netminder, who overtook the franchise lead in shutouts last season, sits eight victories shy of surpassing Ben Bishop (131-64-20) as Lightning’s all-time leader in wins.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Lightning. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 4 (Chris Kontos on Oct. 7, 1992)
Most assists: 4 (Joe Reekie on Oct. 7, 1992)
Most points: 4 (Chris Kontos and Joe Reekie on Oct. 7, 1992)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 1 (7x; last: Bruno Gervais on Oct. 10, 2011)
Most assists: 4 (Joe Reekie on Oct. 7, 1992)
Most points: 4 (Joe Reekie on Oct. 7, 1992)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 45 (Ben Bishop on April 4, 2013)
Shutout: Dwayne Roloson (Jan. 4, 2011) and Ben Bishop (April 4, 2013)

First season with the Lightning. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 42 (Brian Bradley in 1992-93)
Most assists: 55 (Cory Stillman in 2003-04)
Most points: 86 (Brian Bradley in 1992-93)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 15 (Filip Kuba in 2006-07)
Most assists: 34 (Kurtis Foster in 2009-10)
Most points: 42 (Kurtis Foster in 2009-10)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 27 (Johan Holmqvist in 2006-07)
Most shutouts: 4 (4x; last: Dwayne Roloson in 2010-11)

— NHL Public Relations

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