Yes, the Lightning are 2-0 for only the third time in their history and yes, the other times it happened the team went on to win a pair of division titles and a Stanley Cup. There are plenty of reasons for Lightning fans to feel good about the wins against New Jersey and Atlanta, but 80 games remain in a season that will offer its share of ups and downs. However, the positives so far are many:
- Johan Holmqvist has a goals-against average of 1.50 and a .929 save percentage. More importantly, he’s made the big save when called upon to stem the tide.
- Vaclav Prospal, probably the guy who most needed a fast start to get his confidence going, has three goals and a game-winning assist in two games.
- Marty St. Louis has five points while linemate Vinny Lecavalier has four. Brad Richards also has a pair of goals (one power play, one short-handed) so all the big guns are firing.
- The Lightning defense – a question mark entering the season – has only allowed an average of 21 shots through two games while the Bolts have averaged 28.5.
- The third and fourth lines, though not represented on the score sheet yet, have been aggressive, dangerous and entertaining.
- Second-line wingers Jan Hlavac and Michel Ouellet have created good chances and have combined for nine shots, but haven’t broken through yet.
Today’s practice consisted of a 50-minute on-ice session focusing on battles, followed by a team workout in the weight room and a 30-minute video session. Andreas Karlsson re-joined practice today mixing in with the Gratton-Ward-Darche line. Lightning athletic trainer Tom Mulligan said Karlsson is still day to day and it’s not known yet if he’ll be ready by Wednesday. Dan Boyle participated in the skating portion of the practice and was seen passing the puck with Paul Ranger at the end, although he still can’t grip his stick with his top hand. Mulligan said Boyle has about 50 percent range of motion in his hand as his recovery continues.
Tomorrow the Lightning practice at 11 a.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum in preparation for the Florida Panthers, who will be in town Wednesday.