Tampa Bay is on pace to win all 82 regular season games. While it is possible they will lose a game or two along the way, it is worthwhile to keep everyone up to speed on Florida’s favorite (or second favorite) hockey team. With that in mind, I present a new bi-weekly feature ‘Lightning Posts.’ While the Yankees were busy hooking the Marlins, Florida sports fans were treated to an awesome showdown between undefeated Southeast powerhouses Tampa and Atlanta. (Is that crazy?) Khabibulin was brilliant in the Bolts overtime win, giving up only two goals on 37 shots. Paul Kubina scored the winner shorthanded in overtime to make Tampa the only undefeated team in the NHL at 4-0-0. Not only is the scoring line clicking, but the checking line of Tim Taylor, Dave Andreychuk and Chris Dingman has helped keep the opponents off the score sheets. (Don’t ask me why a six hundred goal scorer and an enforcer have such good chemistry.) Tampa has allowed an NHL low six goals in their four games. Thrash fans will note that their Captain, Shawn McEachern made an impromptu third period visit into the Lightning bench, courtesy of a highlight reel Jassen Cullimore hip check.
Tampa’s key offseason acquisition, Cory Stillman made Bolts management look smart by scoring two goals in their season opener. Stillman, who has done a great job replacing Vinny Prospal, has four powerplay tallies and six points.
Not only was the news great this week in Tampa, but Adam Henrich of the Brampton Battalion scored three goals and added three assists in two games to earn OHL Player of the Week honors. Henrich is the Bolts 2002 top draft selection.
Brad Lukowich sat out Tuesday’s night game allowing Darren Rumble to make his first appearance of the NHL season. Left wing Ladislav Nagy injured his groin in practice last week and has missed two games.
The defending Southeast champs may continue their winning streak for a while. Of their next 20 games, 14 are against teams that missed the playoffs last season. Having defeated the defending champ Devils on the road, the next big test is not until their December fourth home game against the Senators.