Friday, November 21, 2008

Bolts Goaltending Dramatically Improved

By JC De La Torre

From the Rink's James Mirtle wrote a very interesting article on comparing this year's goaltending to last. It seems, your Tampa Bay Lightning have made the largest improvement of any team in the league, despite suffering with one of the worst defenses in the league.

Tampa Bay's tandem of Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig have made a 3.81% improvement in save percentage over the immortal trio of Holmqvist/Denis/Ramo good for best improvement in the NHL. This, despite allowing the most shot per game (35.4) than any other team in the NHL.

Here is the top 5 of From the Rink's List-
Source: From the Rink

It just goes to show you if the Lightning could get their offense and forecheck going, this team could be viable for a playoff spot THIS YEAR. With the high shot total, Tampa Bay is about middle-of-the-pack when it comes to goal against (2.72 GAA, good for 13th in the league). That, coupled with the surprising league worst goals for (2.11 GPG) and averaging nearly 14 penalty minutes a game (13.8) have put the Lightning at their current predicament of 5-7-6.

Sooner or later, the myriad of Tampa Bay superstar forwards of Lecavalier, St. Louis, Malone, Stamkos, and Vrbata are going to start lighting the lamp. The Lightning, under new Head Coach Rick Tocchet, are already showing that they are doing a better job at taking care of their end and applying pressure on the opponent.

Lightning fans can take heart in the fact that they appear to finally have the goaltending in place to be a contender again, now the offense and defense need to show up.

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