It was an up and down week for the Tampa Bay Lightning on and off the ice as they close out the month of October with a 4-3-1 record. They regained some assets in Alex Barré-Boulet and lost Nikita Kucherov to a long-term injury.
The Lightning played three games this week. On Monday, October 30, they played the Buffalo Sabres and lost 5-1 in Buffalo. They then played the next night in Pittsburgh against the Penguins and won 5-1 with a good collective effort from the whole team. Lastly, they played on Thursday at home against the dead last Arizona Coyotes, who has yet to win a single game this season and won 5-1 again. The Lightning are starting to find their way again. Before playing the Penguins on Tuesday, they had yet to have a lead in a game, and since then, they have not played behind. They had a hard time finding the back of the net, but they seemed to have regained their confidence. Alex Killorn had the best offensive week with four goals, two assists in three games. Steven Stamkos was second in points this week with a goal and two assists in three games.
The Lightning has received tough news from the Nikita Kucherov injury, which happened on Saturday, October 16, against the Washington Capitals. He got hip surgery again and will be out for eight to ten weeks. The good news is that he will have surgery and should be a hundred percent healthy when coming back potentially in December. With him coming back soon, the Lightning cannot trade for reinforcements because he will play again this year for sure, meaning his LTIR salary relief will not advantage the Lightning for a second straight year. On the good side of things, they were able to re-claim Alex Barré-Boulet from the Seattle Kraken, who was put on waivers by Tampa Bay before the season, hoping for no one to claim him. The Seattle Kraken had COVID-19 issues and needed players in relief, so they claimed Alex Barré-Boulet from the Lightning. When all the Seattle players came back from COVID-19, they had to send down players, and Barré-Boulet became available again, which the Lightning did not hesitate to get back into the organization. They had spent a lot of time developing this prospect in the American Hockey League. All that to say, Alex Barré-Boulet was claimed to take Kucherov’s spot in the lineup. Barré-Boulet had the same role last year while Kucherov was out for the entire regular season.
After Monday’s disappointing game against the Buffalo Sabres, Jon Cooper made some lineup change, which worked for them against the Penguins and the Coyotes. Here is the new lineup from the Lightning:
Alex Killorn – Brayden Point – Anthony Cirelli
Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Mathieu Joseph
Patrick Maroon – Ross Colton – Corey Perry
Alex Barré-Boulet – Pierre-Édouard Bellemare – Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Andrej Sustr
Another familiar face from the Lightning Organization got his contract terminated this week. Former player Alexander Volkov was released from the Anaheim Ducks and is now an unrestricted free agent (UFA). If any more injuries would occur to the Lightning’s lineup in the future while Nikita Kucherov is still out, Volkov is a good depth option for the Lightning. He won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning during their first cup of a back-to-back. He was in the winning lineup when they won game six against the Dallas Stars.
Looking at the Lightning’s schedule for the first week of November, they play Monday, November 1 against the Washington Capitals, Thursday, November 4 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and finally on Saturday, November 6 against the Ottawa Senators.