Each and every Wednesday throughout the normal time, Kevin Weekes will be providing his pluses and minuses for the groups competing in the NBCSN “Wednesday Night Hockey” match in his Weekes on the World wide web blog site.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins have been Stanley Cup contenders for the previous three seasons, above which time just about every has arrived at the Jap Convention Closing 2 times.
There’s a first rate likelihood just about every could make it once again, offered the offensive depth and explosiveness just about every group has.
There must be a playoff-like environment when the Lightning (37-10-2) visit the Penguins (26-17-6) at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday Night Hockey (8 p.m., NBCSN, SN, TVAS).
This is my breakdown of the match:
Pluses: They have been the finest group in the NHL all time. Nikita Kucherov leads the League with 78 points (22 targets, 56 helps), and Brayden Place is amid the objective-scoring leaders with 30. Steven Stamkos has 57 points (26 targets, 31 helps), which ranks 3rd on the Lightning.
Tampa Bay has great depth at each individual position. Offensively, they have seven players with at least 11 targets. Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh are its prime two defenseman and have merged for 59 points and a as well as-34 rating.
The goaltending has been great. We all know about Andrei Vasilevskiy (20-6-2), who concluded 3rd in Vezina Trophy voting final time. He is received a .925 help save percentage and three shutouts. Louis Domingue is 16-4- and stuffed in admirably for Vasilevskiy when he was wounded earlier this time.
Minuses: There really haven’t been lots of weaknesses, but we’re in the doggy times of the time, so this is the time the Lightning’s match can slip if they’re not mindful. They have a huge direct in the division and conference, so they can find the money for a losing streak. But you can guess they want to win as lots of game titles and rack up as lots of points as they can just before the Stanley Cup Playoffs start.
Pluses: They have a handful of superstars, starting with the most valuable player of the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Recreation, Sidney Crosby. He, alongside with forwards Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel and All-Star defenseman Kris Letang, are just about every able of using a match above and are major causes why the Penguins not long ago won 10 of 11 game titles.
Special groups has been inconsistent, but over-all the Penguins rank sixth in power-engage in percentage (24.8) and penalty-killing percentage (83.3). There are a whole lot of groups that would acquire those people quantities in an immediate.
Although their document this time will not meet up with their anticipations, they commonly present up for significant game titles towards the finest opponents. We know the Lightning in shape that criteria.
Minuses: As good as Malkin has been offensively with 53 points (14 targets, 39 helps), he is minus-20 this time, which would be the worst of his 13-time NHL career. He mentioned on Tuesday that he’s frustrated and is aware of he desires to be superior defensively and with out the puck.
The Penguins have been far too inconsistent. The adopted up successful 10 of 11 by losing 4 of 5 and enabling at least 5 targets in 4 of those people 5 game titles. That isn’t going to get it accomplished for a group with Stanley Cup hopes.
The defense desires perform. They traded Jamie Oleksiak, who struggled, to the Dallas Stars on Monday and continue to be with out Justin Schultz due to the fact of personal injury. Letang can’t do it all by himself. Pittsburgh has also permitted a League-higher 11 shorthanded targets.
Three Factors TO Look at
1. Will the Penguins elevate their match?
2. Does Malkin back again up his words and phrases?
3. Special groups battle. Each and every group ranks in the prime 6 in power-engage in and penalty-eliminate percentage.