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31 in 31

Tampa Bay Lightning key statistics

Vasilevskiy, Domingue among best in shootouts; use of seven defensemen pays dividends

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Tampa Bay Lightning.


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1. Stellar in shootouts

Scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the shootout won't be easy. Andrei Vasilevskiy has an .872 save percentage in the shootout, first among goalies who have faced at least 20 attempts; backup Louis Domingue is second among active goalies (.840).

Tampa Bay has an all-time shootout save percentage of .725 (292 saves on 403 shots), the best in the NHL since the shootout was instituted for the 2005-06 season. (The Vegas Golden Knights had a save percentage of .828 (24 saves on 29 shots) last season, their first in the NHL).

With solid goaltending, securing the extra standings point will be in the hands of the shooters. Forward Brayden Point is the only player on the Lightning roster who has scored on more than 30 percent of his shootout attempts (10-for-15, .667 percent).

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2. Goal-scoring barrage

Tampa Bay led the NHL with 290 goals last season, which broke its record of 259 set in 2014-15. It was an increase from 230 goals in 2016-17, which ranked 14th.

Three keys to this success include their effectiveness on the power play (23.9 percent, third in NHL), an NHL-high 10.8 percent shooting percentage, second in their history (11.1 percent; 2012-13), and forward Nikita Kucherov, who was third in NHL scoring with 100 points (39 goals, 61 assists) in 80 games. It was the third-best individual season in Tampa Bay history; Vincent Lecavalier had 108 points (52 goals, 56 assists) and Martin St. Louis had 102 points (43 goals, 59 assists), each in 2006-07.


3. Seven defensemen

The Lightning are one of the few NHL teams that regularly used seven defensemen in their lineup instead of six. Last season, Tampa Bay defensemen led the NHL with 526 games played, 34 more than the 492 they would have had using six defensemen in 82 games.

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Using seven defensemen gives the Lightning more flexibility to develop young players at the position, including Mikhail Sergachev, Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin, who began last season with a combined 80 games of NHL experience. It also allows them to utilize defensemen in specific roles, such as Sergachev as an offensive specialist; his 70.08 percent zone-start percentage at 5-on-5 was first among 240 NHL defensemen who played at least 20 games.

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