Vincent Lecavalier's Improved Play Keying Tampa Bay Lightning Hot Start

By Lauren Burg
Vincent Lecavalier Checks Washington Capitals' Jack Hillen Into Boards
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of many questions facing the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into this season was how captain Vincent Lecavalier would perform now that he’s healthy.

Six games into the shortened 2013 NHL season things are looking good, as Lecavalier has three goals for eight points. While good, it’s his physical play that’s raising eyebrows. He started things off by throwing a clean but hard Opening Night check on Washington Capitals‘ defensemen Jack Hillen, thus knocking him out of the game. Then, just this past weekend, he dropped the gloves with Philadelphia Flyers‘ defensemen Luke Schenn. His first fight since February 2009, teammates say this helped spark a 5-1 thrashing of the Flyers.

Also of note, Lecavalier’s 19 hits lead the Lightning.  He attributes this more physical play to a new training regimen he began during the offseason. Whatever it is, he should never stop, as this is the best fans have seen from him since probably 2006-07′.

Lecavalier has also helped mentor young rookie Cory Conacher, something evidenced by both being among the top five in team scoring. Of course, being on the same line helps, but both have contributed with the man advantage as well. Lecavalier’s two power play goals are tied with fellow veteran Martin St. Louis for the team lead, and Conacher’s likely had a hand in at least one.

Either way, there’s no denying that Lecavalier has played a huge role in the Lightning’s scorching hot start this season. If he can keep it up, while staying healthy, this team has the potential to go on a deep postseason run- one which could end with Lecavalier and the Lightning hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup in late June.

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