NHL News

3 Lightning Who Need to Step Up the Rest of the Season

Tanner Jeannot Tampa Bay Lightning

With just a dozen or so games left in the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are poised to make a run to appear in their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup Final. As of Saturday, March 18, they currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, 13 points ahead of the fourth-place team, the Florida Panthers. Even more importantly, they are just three points behind the second-place team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Lightning would benefit from passing Toronto and getting the home-ice advantage in their projected first-round matchup. While they did not need that advantage in last season’s playoff matchup, this year is somewhat different. While the Lighting currently have a 24-6-5 record on home ice this season, their 17-16-1 road record is slightly more concerning. Also, the Maple Leafs made quite a few moves at the trade deadline to make a deeper run in the playoffs than they have in previous seasons. To try to finish the season strong, three players need to step up their game to help make that happen.

Tanner Jeannot

When the Lightning acquired Jeannot from the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline, they sought a physical defensive player and a grinding wing who could also contribute offensively. The 25-year-old has already made his physical presence known to opponents but has not been a major force on the offensive side. While it was not expected that he should duplicate the 41 points that he posted in Nashville during the 2021-22 season, the Lightning could use some offensive support to take the focus off the rest of the forwards.

Tanner Jeannot, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While highlight reel fights are nice for some to watch, like the one against the Buffalo Sabres’ Riley Stillman, Jeannot still needs to contribute more to the team. After the shootout victory against the New Jersey Devils on March 16, the native of Oxbow, Canada, has three assists in his 10 games with the club but has only registered shots on goal in just two of those contests. There is a little adjustment period for young players, and he is using the time to get adjusted to playing on such a veteran-heavy team. There should be more opportunities for him to contribute offensively in the future, as the new line pairing with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn should allow him more scoring opportunities.

Steven Stamkos

The captain did pick up two goals, and an assist in Thursday’s (March 16) shootout win over the Devils, but has had just…

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