Whereas the last game was a schedule loss for the Isles, this was one for the Lightning, who had played the Rangers just the day before. But whereas the Isles were solidly beaten in the neutral zone in their own schedule loss, the Isles barely beat the bolts in the NZ in this game.
Now of course, the Isles solidly defeated the lightning anyhow, thanks to superior offensive zone play leading to more shots per entry and the “goaltending” of Evgeni Nabokov. So in the long run, no harm no foul. But you’d like to see better NZ numbers than this considering the circumstances. You can win without them sure – but you’ll win more consistently win if you take advantage of the neutral zone.
One thing to note player wise from this game is that John Tavares finally looked like himself from previous years, being super active in the neutral zone and carrying-in a ton. Let’s hope that continues.