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Mishkin's Musings: Sizing up the Eastern Conference playoff race

The Bolts are currently on a good pace, but they'll need to keep it up down the stretch with plenty of strong contenders in the East

by Dave Mishkin @DaveMishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

I've often mentioned the "playoff points pace" in this column. Teams aim to earn at least 12 points in every 10-game segment. That adds up to 96 points after 80 games. This total typically is high enough to secure a playoff spot. If needed, a team still has two more games to pad that amount.

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Mishkin's Musings: During hot stretch, Bolts getting it done with 'D'

Improved play in the defensive zone has played a major role in Tampa Bay's recent surge

by Dave Mishkin @DaveMishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

It's been well-documented how wonderfully the Lightning have been defending over the past few weeks. The stats bear this out. Following their shootout win over the LA Kings on Tuesday, the Lightning have gone 11-1-0 in their past 12 games. In eight of those contests, they've held the opposition to two goals or less (excluding one empty-netter against). They've allowed a total of four power play goals over the course of those dozen games. LA's power play goal on Tuesday ended a streak of 20 consecutive successful Lightning kills. In the 12 third periods during the stretch, they've outscored the opposition, 13-4.

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Mishkin's Musings: home-heavy stretch ends, road-heavy stretch begins

The Lightning will play 12 of their next 15 games away from Amalie Arena

by Dave Mishkin @DaveMishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

When the Lightning returned to Tampa after the Global Series in Sweden, they had played 15 games: 10 on the road and five at home. (Of course, one of those "home" contests was the second game in Stockholm). So they had dealt with a lot of travel during the opening weeks of the season. The home-road balance was about to shift.

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Mishkin's Musings: On points pace, playing well and my on-air goof

At the 30-game mark of the season, Dave Mishkin breaks down the Bolts' performance and clarifies a mix-up on the call in Sunrise

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

35 Points After 30 Games: I've written about the playoff-pace metric earlier in the season. Typically, 96 points is a "safe" total to ensure a postseason berth. Teams aim to maintain a pace of 12 points every 10 games. That translates to 96 points after 80 games, with two extra contests at the end of the season to pad that amount.

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Mishkin's Musings: On the quarter mark, video review & seeing old friends

Radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin shares his thoughts on the Bolts' positioning, new challenge rules and the broadcasting community

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

The Quarter Mark: On Tuesday morning, the NHL sent out a press release entitled "Quarter Mark: 2019-20 Season". When I first saw it, my initial reaction was "What? The Quarter Mark already?"

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Mishkin's Musings: Broadcasting with a cold and other on-air hijinks

Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin shares what it's like calling games with a cold and dealing with other odd situations

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Earlier this month, the Lightning wrapped up a four-game swing through Eastern Canada and Boston. They returned home with six out of a possible eight points. On that same trip, I returned home with a cold.

It's the bane of a broadcaster's existence. A sore throat, cough, and drainage from congestion all wreak havoc on your voice. When battling these symptoms, the best thing you can do is rest your voice. Hard to do if you're calling a game.

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Mishkin's Musings: Five stats I'd like to see

Dave Mishkin lists five potential stats that could do a better job illustrating how a team or player is performing

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Last season, the NHL announced that it will be implementing new player and puck tracking technologies, information that will unearth a lot of new data that is either currently unavailable or, at the very least, imprecise.

As is the case with the existing data, some stats are more useful than others in telling us how a team - or an individual player - is performing. It's not yet clear exactly all the ways in which this new information will be used. But here are five statistics I'd love to see the league produce. Honestly, some of these could be tabulated without the tracking data - and in fact, some websites do assemble info that overlaps with my wish list. But surely, the new technology will help facilitate obtaining all of this information and I hope at some point the league makes these categories official.

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Mishkin's Musings: Thoughts on the opening three

Dave Mishkin breaks down the Lightning's first three games of the season

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Process vs. Result: For the Lightning so far this season, there has been an inverse relationship between the process (how they've played) and the result. Their best overall performance came in Saturday's regulation loss at Florida. In their worst - Sunday's game at Carolina - they salvaged a point. And in last Thursday's win over the Panthers, they prevailed despite enduring a rough opening 30 minutes.

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Mishkin's Musings: Three storylines

Dave Mishkin lists a bounce back mentality, fast start and renewed defensive focus as three keys to the Lightning's 2019-20 season

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

Certainly, there are more than three storylines for the Lightning as they prepare to begin the 2019-20 regular season. But these, posted here in the form of questions, stand out.

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Mishkin's Musings: On pets, hockey, and goodbyes

Dave Mishkin shares the story of Dr. Bruce Anthony, a vet and Lightning fan

by Dave Mishkin / TampaBayLightning.com

When I made the phone call, I suspected that I'd get voice mail. As it turned out, however, he answered almost immediately. 

"Hi Dave!! How are you?"

His voice sounded just the same. Enthusiastic. Jovial. A touch of the New England accent from his Massachusetts roots.

"Hi, Doc," I replied.

Doc was Dr. Bruce Anthony, our family's veterinarian for more than a decade. Also a devoted Lightning fan and longtime season ticket member. He got right down to business.

"What the heck happened?" he asked. "I cannot believe they lost four straight!"

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