We have achieved the midpoint of the Tampa Bay Lightning season.Ok, so technically, the midpoint came after the Ottawa match, but while using the team while in the middle of a week-long break, now seems like nearly as good a spot as any to capture our breath and mirror.Despite the fact that the injury to All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman Thursday night vs . Calgary places a damper on an otherwise impre sive start to the year, the Lightning have a lot to generally be very pleased of. They own the most effective document https://www.stylelightning.com/tampa-bay-lightning-jersey/martin-st-louis-jersey inside the NHL and they are 10 details clear of Boston atop the Atlantic Division standings. The Bolts have scored more ambitions than every other workforce within the NHL. They've provided up the second-least sum from the League.A look at the statistical leaders displays a major slant towards Tampa Bay. Nikita Kucherov paces the NHL for scoring by a reasonably sizable margin and is also locked inside of a heated race with fellow Ru sian Alex Ovechkin to the most plans during the League. Steven Stamkos is inside the blend in addition, position within the prime 10 for scoring and a sists. Hedman headlines the NHL's plus/minus leaders at plus-24 and is particularly one particular with the top-scoring defensemen in the League. And Andrei Vasilevskiy is for the top of every key goaltending statistic.Acknowledge it, this time is very entertaining thus far to look at.Since the Lightning gear up to the regular season's stretch operate and also a likely playoff berth, let's appear back at what is actually produced the 1st 50 percent with the year so productive and what to look ahead to while in the second fifty percent.Video: CAR@TBL: Vasilevskiy slides throughout to thwart JoorisMOST Precious PLAYERThe Huge Cat - Andrei VasilevskiySure Nikita Kucherov is putting up movie game-like numbers and Steven Stamkos has returned to his pre-injury form to scare the bejeezus out of the remainder of the NHL, but goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has actually been the key catalyst driving the Lightning's remarkable initially 50 percent with the period.Don't believe me?Just inquire his teammates."He's been our greatest participant all year," Chris Kunitz stated pursuing a 2-0 win in Toronto, Vasilevskiy's second-straight shutout victory."He's so committed to finding far better," Alex Killorn added. "For him, the sky's the limit."Since remaining handed the reins to the No. one goaltending spot in Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy has been practically nothing short of breathtaking. He prospects the NHL for wins (27) and shutouts (6) this period. His goals-against typical (two.18) and help you save percentage (.930) are tops in the League for goalies with fifteen or maybe more begins.But further than the numbers, Vasilevskiy includes a knack for making the main element save in moments on the game once the consequence is hanging inside the harmony.In the aforementioned acquire in Toronto, he manufactured a critical cease on an Auston Matthews' still left circle one-timer early during the game to maintain it scorele s. He made a number of much more flashy will save prior to the Lightning have been lastly able to receive to the board within the next time period. And as soon as the Bolts went up 2-0, Vasilevskiy retained it there.Even though factors usually are not flowing offensively for the Lightning, there is no stre s. And that is simply because they may have Andrei Vasilevskiy in internet to help keep them during the recreation right until the offense clicks."He would make us a little little bit larger around the bench, that's obviously," Tampa Bay head mentor Jon Cooper explained.Movie: TBL@COL: Gourde deflects Conacher's go for goalMUP - MOST UNDERRATED PLAYERYanni Gourde When Yanni Gourde entered instruction camp fresh off signing a two-year, one-way agreement in the offseason, it was not known the place he would slot in on the Lightning lineup.A major 9 purpose might be most well-liked, even so the Bolts presently had numerous smallish forwards with large offensive video games - Tyler Johnson, Brayden Place, Vladislav Namestnikov, and so forth. - in advance of him within the rotation. He could concentrate on a place around the fourth line, but his ability set failed to manage to match the bruisers that lined up there.Gourde, even so, experienced this kind of a great training camp, and this coming on the eve of an eye-opening end-of-the-season effectivene s along with the Lightning in 2016-17 as well as a MVP-caliber playoff run to the Syracuse Crunch, he forced himself right into a notable function between the Lightning ahead group.By way of the 1st fifty percent with the period, Tampa Bay's perception in Gourde has performed ma sive dividends.Gourde has verified adept at lining up where the Lightning spot him. He thrived on the next line over the ideal wing with Ondrej Palat and Brayden I sue as linemates. He continued to seek out accomplishment as the 3rd line center right after Tyler Johnson moved approximately the 2nd line and Gourde slotted in between Alex Killorn and Cory Conacher (or, of late, around the wing all over again with Killorn and Namestnikov).Gourde currently ranks sixth around the Lightning for goals (fourteen) and seventh for factors (thirty).He's been a important member on the Bolts' 2nd power-play device, chipping in 4 targets to offer that device just as much bite as being the very first team. And his relentle s function hara sing puck handlers has been the most significant growth for the penalty get rid of too.Not a nasty return on expense for your person earning $1 million for each time.Also, shouts to Anton Stralman for MUP. This dude never gets the credit rating he justifies, but he's the Lightning's ideal defensive defenseman and his mentorship of Mikhail Sergachev has allowed the youngster to thrive in his rookie time.Stralman has paced the NHL for plus/minus for giant stretches of the year and now ranks tied for fourth at plus-21.With Hedman hurt and struggling to play within the All-Star Activity, names like Toronto's Morgan Rielly and in some cases Sergachev are already to sed out as opportunity replacements.Why is Stralman in no way included in that team? Why is he never ever within the Norris Trophy dialogue? I know his offensive quantities are not up there while using the Hedman's and the Erik Karl son's along with the Brent Burns' in the League, however, if you happen to be discu sing prime defensive D-men, there might not be any improved than Anton Stralman.Video clip: CGY@TBL: Hedman leaves activity with lower-body injuryBEST WORST Information:Hedman out three to 6 weeks using a lower-body injuryBe truthful: The very first time you noticed the replay of Victor Hedman's knee bending inward at an angle it can be not supposed to bend immediately after using a immediate strike through the knee with the Calgary Flames' Garnet Hathaway, your very first thought was, 'Man, which was poor. Hedman may be completed for that time.'SameSo when news arrived out the next day Hedman would skip the subsequent a few to 6 weeks which has a lower-body injuries, it felt like far more of the reduction than nearly anything.Yeah, the Lightning will likely be without having their greatest defenseman, an All-Star and also a major applicant for your Norris Trophy nicely into February.But it might have been a lot worse.If Hedman requires the full 6 months to recuperate, that would bring him back for Tampa Bay's match February 24 at Montreal, video game No. 62 from the 82-game normal season. That means, Hedman will still have 21 common season games that will help the Lightning down the extend run and would definitely be again to his aged self for that playoffs, should really the Bolts qualify as predicted.And there is a silver lining to Hedman currently being out Alexander Volkov Jersey way too. The Lightning will probably be forced to find out to win with no him, providing other players in le s well known roles an opportunity to show they should have far more taking part in time and duty. Slater Koekkoek, particularly, stands to profit. He's played in around 50 % of your Lightning's video games up to now and has been healthier scratched for the many others. But with Hedman out, he'll probable be considered a standard contributor, specifically considering the fact that, like Hedman, he's a left-shot defenseman. Koekkoek wish to be a mainstay during the Lightning's top 6 D. He has a po sibility now to demonstrate he deserves it.Way too, the challenge of profitable with out Hedman can be motivating for that Bolts at a time from the season when complacency typically sets in, specifically for a team like Tampa Bay which includes gotten off to this sort of an awesome start and it has crafted a commanding lead inside the Atlantic Division also as the Eastern Meeting. They don't get in touch with late January into February the pet days on the time for nothing at all. It really is usually in the event the grind of an 82-game season hits groups the hardest. Now, the Lightning have an impediment to overcome proper inside the heart from the doggy times, as well as in a period that's been rather adversity-free above the 1st 44 games, the undertaking of conquering Hedman's lo s could continue to keep the team far more engaged than they would be or else.Movie: Cooper | Postgame OTT 6, TBL 3BEST POST-GAME RANTJon Cooper's 'entitled' comments following a 6-3 decline in OttawaThe Lightning experienced just experienced just one of its worst intervals in the period, tied 3-3 just after two in Ottawa but having outscored 3-0 around the ultimate twenty minutes inside of a head-scratching lo s to your Senators group near the base in the Atlantic Division standings. Cooper viewed his team reduce for the next activity in the row, and having a tough street journey finale coming in Detroit the subsequent night on the next 50 % of the back-to-back set, he understood he far better get his group's attention prior to the slight slump became a full-fledged getting rid of skid. His unprompted remark right after the game was as follows:"That's the definition of the rough decline, and I'll tell you why. This is the actually tricky league to gain in. If you're place in cases where by you're taking part in a crew over a back-to-back, type of should take full advantage of those since there's gonna be periods when you're around the second 50 percent of the back-to-back. I think there's a tiny little bit of entitlement managing via our crew correct now. What is a bit discouraging is our goaltender who's been, for my part, our MVP this calendar year and for us to let him down like that, all those plans heading inside the get started of the period ended up men's league ambitions, and that is merely a non-commitment to participating in within your individual close. To get with this league, you will need to play within your personal conclusion. There's a group of fellows which might be intending to really have to circle the wagons in there, the leaders, and figure this one particular out due to the fact we are just happening a road correct now, it's that a part of that time correct now https://www.stylelightning.com/tampa-bay-lightning-jersey/steven-stamkos-jersey where you simply can't permit i sues slide. The frequent year, you can't acquire a Stanley Cup from the common time. You will need to reach the playoffs initial. And that i think there is a workforce in there that thinks we have currently made the playoffs. And with that attitude, we're not going to go anyplace. I sense undesirable for our goaltender. Can't place them a 3-0 guide in this league and hope to come back back. Provide them with a little credit for coming back, but while in the conclusion, precisely the same blunders price us and provides Ottawa credit rating, they failed to care who they were enjoying, they just arrived out and played a hockey activity and received it. So superior on them."The up coming night time, the Lightning absorbed the brutish physicality with which the Crimson Wings were being determined to play and delivered a few haymakers in their individual, responding which has a resounding 5-2 victory to cap a succe sful highway journey and establish for their mentor they weren't just going by the motions.Gamers may well not have acquired in to Cooper's 'entitled' me sage. However they listened to it. Plus they went out the subsequent day to rectify it.Mi sion accomplished