Vincent Lecavalier Returns Tonight With Lightning

By anthonyweihofen

The boys in Tampa Bay couldn’t be happier as their captain Vincent Lecavalier finally returns to game action tonight.

Lecavalier has been out of the Lightning’s lineup since February 18 and has missed their last 18 games. He was out with an injury to his right hand but is ready to help push his team into the playoffs.

Lecavalier has been greatly missed by the Lightning organization not just because of his leadership skills, or the fact that he’s one of only two main players on the current roster who played in the Lightning’s Stanley Cup win in 2004, but also for his on ice stats this season.

The captain has 21 goals and 46 points in 58 games this year. Not being too far off from averaging a point per game he has been greatly missed in this year of ups and downs for the Bolts.

Only twice in his career has Lecavalier had a plus/minus above zero. As of right now he is at even and could boost his stats in that category with six possible games left in the season and all are against teams that the Lightning can beat.

Tonight’s game is against the highest rank of those teams the New Jersey Devils. The sixth rank Devils are the only team of those likely to for sure make the post-season.  The other remaining are twice against the Winnipeg Jets, and once against Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Lightning also have an edge as numerous of their players are on a warm if not hot streak in the offensive category. Steven Stamkos has five goals in his last three games, Martin St. Louis has three straight two point games with one goal and five assists, Tom Pyatt has four goals in four games, and Teddy Purcell has really stepped up his game since Lecavalier’s absence with six goals and 18 assists in the last 18 games.

A win tonight could almost directly put Tampa Bay on the path to a post-season run. The Devils are statistically the best team so if they beat them they should be able to pull ahead of their division rivals Capitals and Jets to squeeze their way into at least an eighth place seed in the Eastern Conference.

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