Can Anyone Beat The Lightning?: A Look At The Numbers

KFGO.jpgPhoto: KFGO

The Tampa Bay Lightning are arguably the hands-down favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2019. They hold a remarkable 15-point lead for the top spot in the Presidents’ Trophy Race and seem destined to make a serious run in the postseason. Today, we look at the team’s numbers. 

While no other team in the NHL has a higher points-won percentage than 66%, the Lightning own a 77.6% point-winning percentage and are on pace to finish with 127 points this season. They also have a goal differential of +70, while the second-ranked Toronto Maple Leafs are way behind them with a goal differential of +44. Tampa Bay has a 23-5-2 record at home while the next highest total of home wins is 21 (Boston and Winnipeg). They are also the only team in the NHL with 20 road wins, though the Maple Leafs are right behind them with 19 and have a game in hand.

Offense

The Lightning’s average of 3.88 goals-per-game and remarkable power-play efficiency of 29.8%, 3% more than the next highest scoring power-play (Boston Bruins). They get the second-most power-plays at home (108) and are third in power-play goals at home (30) and first on the road (27). Overall, they convert 27.8% of their power-play opportunities at home. A big reason their scoring numbers on the power-play are so high is that they draw an average of 3.47 penalties-per-game, the third highest rate.

When leading after one period of play, they have 22 wins (a league-high) while losing just three — only one in regulation. In addition, the Lightning have the best winning percentage when trailing after one period (58.8%) and after two periods (42.9%). Their 23 wins when getting outshot by opponents are second in the NHL.

They have three of the top-10 scorers in the NHL in forward Nikita Kucherov, who ranks first with 66 assists (no other player has more than 60) and 92 points; center Brayden Point, who ranks seventh with 74 points and is tied for second with 33 goals; and center Steven Stamkos, who ranks seventh with 32 goals and 10th with 69 points this season. The only other team to have multiple players in the top-10 in points is the Colorado Avalanche (forward Mikko Rantanen (76) is fifth and center Nathan MacKinnon (75) is sixth).

In addition, Tampa has four forwards with 20+ goals, with the other being forward Tyler Johnson (20). All four of their centers have scored 10+ goals (Mathieu Joseph (13) and Anthony Cirelli (11).

Only one team — Pittsburgh — has more players ranked in the top-30 assist leaders (four) than the Lightning (three). The Lightning are one of two teams with multiple players in the top-10 in the NHL’s goal-scoring leaders (Edmonton Oilers – centers Leon Draisaitl – 33 – and Connor McDavid – 31). The only other team to have three players ranked in the top-30 in goals is the San Jose Sharks (C Joe Pavelski – 30 – F Evander Kane and C Tomas Hertl – 26).

The Lightning’s shooting percentage of 12% is first in the NHL and their 79 high-danger chance goals-for of 79 is tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for second.

Defense

The Lightning’s average of 2.72 goals-against per game is the fifth-least in the NHL even though they allow the 11th-most shots in the NHL (32.2).

They have nine players who have a +10 rating or higher, including four defensemen. Defenseman Victor Hedman’s +25 rating is tied with Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie for fourth in the NHL.

After Tampa Bay owned the fourth-worst penalty kill, which had an efficiency of 76.1%, a season ago, they rank third this year with a kill efficiency of 84.4%. Their 11 power-play goals against are tied for second best in the league.

Their 1,472 hits rank sixth in the league and their 497 giveaways the seventh-fewest in the league.

Goaltending

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy missed about a month earlier this season with a broken foot but his backup Louie Domingue has excelled as he faced a higher workload, going 18-4-0 with a save percentage of .907 and a goals-against average of 2.90 this season. When Vasilevskiy has been healthy, he has been his same old self, going 24-7-4 with a save percentage of .927, the third-highest in the NHL, a 2.39 goals-against average, the fifth-lowest in the NHL, and five shutouts, second in the NHL (Vegas Golden Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury: 6).

Vasilevskiy has a .918 save percentage when the Lightning are shorthanded this season, leading the league in that category, and has a .926 save percentage at even-strength, the 10th-best. Vasilevskiy and Domingue are 13th and 14th, respectively, in save percentage in the shootout, posting respective save percentages of .875 and .857. Vasilevskiy’s two assists this season is tied for the fourth-most in the NHL while Domingue’s one assist is tied for the 11th-most.

Overall, the Lightning rank 11th in the NHL with a team save percentage of 92%, though their high-danger save percentage of 79.9% ranks 26th in the NHL.

The Capitals Have To Play Tampa Three Times In The Final 11 Games Of The Season

The Capitals will play the Lightning three times in a span of eight games over the course of the final two weeks of March. One of those meetings will be the second game of a back-to-back for the Capitals, as they take on the New Jersey Devils in Newark the night before while the Lightning will be in their hotel in Washington.

When the Capitals will face the Lightning in Tampa Bay, they will be in the midst of two Eastern Conference road trips of at least three games both times.

While the Lightning are dangerous, the Capitals were able to come an almost identical Tampa team in the playoffs last year.

While Tampa’s regular-season numbers are impressive, Presidents’ Trophy winners have fallen short of expectations in recent postseasons and the Lightning have struggled in the postseason with a much of the same group of players in recent years. The last President’s Trophy team to win the Cup was the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2012-2013 season.  Tampa is very, very talented and will be the favorite against every team they face in the postseason, but the team with the best team on paper doesn’t always win. Just ask the Capitals.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
This entry was posted in News, Teams and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Can Anyone Beat The Lightning?: A Look At The Numbers

  1. Anonymous says:

    Crazy scheduling quirk 3 games with Bolts in last 11 games. I dont fear the the Bolts, the Caps know how to beat them and over the last 4-5 seasons have gotten the better of the Bolts during the regular season& of course during SC Run.
    Bolts can have their Prez Trophy, but that means nothing. They are a finesse team who best asset is the pp, with dual threat snipers Kuch&Stamkos similar to Pit. Like any great offensive team Pit etc they love a more wide open game put up 5-6 on their opponents.
    But caps are bad matchup for them&have been. Punish them physically and take away their will like we saw in the SC Run. Willy, Ov, Oshie etc. Like most finesse highly skilled teams their weakness is defense. After punishing them, and playing good defense on our end. Kuzy,Ov,Backy,Vrana, Willy etc hem them in the dzone and put up 3-4 on Vasi.
    So Im not worried on TB

    Like

  2. Pingback: Capitals Near Top In Hardest Schedule For Playoff Push | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: NHL Game of The Week Preview: Capitals Continue Metro Road Trip With Sunday Afternoon Tilt vs. Rangers at MSG | NoVa Caps

  4. Pingback: Wednesday Night Hockey Pre-Game Notes: Capitals Visit Philly For The First Time This Season | NoVa Caps

  5. Pingback: The Race For Top Spot In The Metro: A Look At The Capitals and Islanders’ Remaining Schedules | NoVa Caps

  6. Pingback: Washington at Philadelphia Preview: Capitals Get Set For Another Metro Matchup Against Flyers On Thursday | NoVa Caps

  7. Pingback: Comparing The 2018-19 Lightning to the 2015-16 Capitals | NoVa Caps

  8. Pingback: Washington at Tampa Bay Preview: Two Eastern Conference Heavy Weights Clash For The First Time Arena in Saturday Night Showdown at Amalie Arena | NoVa Caps

  9. Pingback: Eastern Conference Showdown: Capitals at Lightning Goalie Matchup | NoVa Caps

  10. Pingback: Capitals at Lightning – Inside The Numbers: Rally Falls Short in Tampa Bay | NoVa Caps

  11. Pingback: Wednesday Night Hockey Preview: Lightning Hits The District For The First Time This Season | NoVa Caps

  12. Pingback: Top 10 Capitals Rivalries | NoVa Caps

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s