While the Tampa Bay Lightning avoided elimination in Game 5, they didn’t get any scoring out of their star players.
Going forward, that can’t continue happening if they plan to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The top line of Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov has a combined four goals in five games. They have combined to provide 13 points, though six of those are from Kucherov. The other two have four and three points, respectively.
In comparison, the second line of Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn, and Brandon Hagel has produced 15 points and seven goals combined through five games.
On defense, Victor Hedman has no goals and three points in three games played. That’s the same as Mikhail Sergachev, Ian Cole, and rookie Nick Perbix. Not a horrible total, but the Lightning likely expect more out of the 2009 second-overall pick.
As for the Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have a combined 19 points. Throw in seven points from top blueliner Morgan Rielly, and it’s easy to see why Toronto is one game away from winning their first playoff series since 2004.
Yes, it’s important to get secondary scoring. That was the difference in Game 5, where goals from Mikey Eyssimont and Nick Paul were enough to get the win.
Unfortunately, that won’t always be the case. The Lightning needs their best players to step up and play like the stars; they are on both ends of the ice.
Can the Lightning’s stars show up before it’s too late? While unknown, the team’s chances of forcing a potential Game 7 depends on the play of their big four.