Quick Strikes: Home Woes Continue Early, Point Heats Up & Trade Deadline Acquisitions Proving Worthy

Photo Credit: Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fresh off of a decent three-game road trip, collecting four of a possible six points, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned home hoping to bank as many points as possible after their previous home stand yielded little joy for a passionate fan base that had not seen a home ice losing streak of this magnitude in years. Unfortunately, the result was a mixed bag, with the team getting three of six points prior to the trade deadline. After the deadline, they earned two huge wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers before outlasting the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

Penalties were costly to kick off the home stand, as the Buffalo Sabres scored two power play goals to beat the Lightning in overtime. A couple of nights later, the Bolts gave the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens a two-goal lead before showing up. They ultimately escaped with a shootout win, but against better teams that likely wouldn’t be the case.

After a rare four-day break between games, the Lightning hosted another rebuilding team, the Calgary Flames. They put forth what head coach Jon Cooper called an “embarrassing performance,” allowing their opponent to build a big lead in a 6-3 defeat. Thankfully, general manager Julien Brisebois was in the midst of swinging a trade with the San Jose Sharks to bring in winger Anthony Duclair for a minor league defenseman and a 2024 third round draft pick. The next day, Brisebois acquired defenseman Matt Dumba from the Arizona Coyotes for a fifth-rounder in next summer’s draft.

The Lightning welcomed those guys to the lineup by laying a good old fashioned beat down on the Flyers. The leaders stepped up big, with Victor Hedman tallying two goals and three points, and the newly formed third line of Conor Sheary, Nick Paul and Mikey Eyssimont provided some much needed secondary scoring.

Both Duclair and Dumba have made their mark on the Lightning also. In three games since joining the lineup, Duclair has two goals and two assists. He started playing alongside captain Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli but quickly moved up to play with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. No matter where he’s been slotted, the team has thrived. Dumba, meanwhile, has had some big hits and a couple of fights, keeping opponents from taking liberties against the Bolts.

Speaking of Point, he’s been on a tear lately. He has scored in four of the Lightning’s past six games. That includes a career-high six-point game to defeat a scorching-hot Rangers team, helping the team keep pace in the postseason race.

Can the Lightning keep playing solid hockey down the stretch and clinch a playoff berth? While unknown, the additions of Duclair and Dumba, along with the leaders stepping up when needed the most, will be key to this team playing in late April for the seventh consecutive season.

Lauren Burg

Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer for “Inside the Rink.” A lifelong Tampa Bay Area resident, she graduated from the University of South Florida’s world-renowned journalism program in December 2009. While in college, she discovered hockey and the Tampa Bay Lightning. She quickly became a passionate fan, attending many games over the years. She also experienced an All-Star game in 2018, numerous road games, and, most recently, the Bolts back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Since graduating college, she’s been working hard to combine her two loves, writing and hockey, hoping to one day make that her full-time career. In her free time, she enjoys attending sporting events (both home & road when possible), taking photos, and traveling.

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