Today is the Day of the Dead in Tampa, and this year, there are lots of people who are doing something a little bit special, even if they’re not on a date.
Here are 10 Tampa Bay players who should be excited about the upcoming holidays.
Mattias EkholmMattias Eklund, right wing, has been playing well for the Lightning, leading the team in scoring (14 points) and second in the NHL with six power play goals.
Ekholm, who has been a part of Tampa Bay for almost three years, has taken on a bigger role in the team’s offense since he was traded to Tampa Bay in February.
Eklund is averaging 19:16 of ice time per game this season, the third-highest average among forwards with at least 100 minutes played, and he’s also tied for fifth among forwards in ice time in the offensive zone.
Josh AndersonJosh Anderson, right winger, has had a great season for the Florida Panthers, scoring 28 goals and adding 18 assists in just 58 games this season.
He’s tied for second among Panthers forwards in scoring with seven goals, tied for fourth in assists, tied with Jordan Staal for sixth in points, and has scored in seven consecutive games.
Jordan StaalaJordan Staal, center, has started the season with a bang and has played well for Tampa Bay, leading all Panthers forwards with five goals and four assists in his first 10 games.
Staal has eight points (two goals, four assists) in his past six games, and is tied for third in points among Panthers players with at or above 10 points.
Erik GudbransonErik GudBranson, right, has played very well for Carolina this season and is on pace to lead the team with 13 goals and 16 assists.
The forward has 10 points (four goals, six assists) through his first 13 games, including three goals and two assists in a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
Tyler JohnsonTyler Johnson, center is one of the best young defensemen in the league, and the Tampa Bay native has been solid for the Panthers.
He has four points (one goal, two assists) over his past four games and has also tallied four points in his previous six games.
Alex GoligoskiAlex Goligozny, right side, has shown the potential to be a top-line center for the Tampa Blue Jackets this season with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) this season to go along with nine penalty minutes.
Goligizny is one-half of Tampa’s two goal duo, which has scored three goals, two assist in eight games.
Josh MorrisseyJosh Morrissey, left wing, is the only Blue Jackets forward on this list, and it’s no coincidence that the team is coming off a playoff run, as Morrissey is the team leader in points with 21 goals and has six points in the past four contests.
Alexander SeminAlexander Semin, right center, is on a hot streak and is one reason why Tampa Bay is one win away from making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011.
The Lightning’s first round series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last week was the second time in two weeks that Tampa Bay has dropped a series, losing in six games in March and April.
Semin, however, is averaging 16:32 of ice-time per game, which is the second-best rate among Blue Jackets forwards with 50 or more minutes played.
Brett ConnollyBrett Connolly, left, has struggled for Tampa in his limited time with the Lightning this season but has shown he can be a consistent offensive force.
He scored three of the Lightning’s goals in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Columbus, helping Tampa take a 3-1 series lead heading into the All-Star break.
Connolly is averaging 17:15 of ice ice time over his last five games, tied or third among Blue Jacket forwards with 12 goals and 14 assists.
Evgeni MalkinThe best defenseman in the Tampa area is back in the lineup, and that’s no small feat.
Evon Gnashin is a solid player, a good skater, and a strong leader.
He leads all NHL defenseman with 30 points and leads the team for penalty minutes, tied at the top of the league among defenseman with 12.4 per game.
Gnashins presence will be felt on the penalty kill, as the veteran defenseman leads the league with 23.1 minutes per game shorthanded.
Jiri HudlerJiri Hudlenski, left winger, is one goal shy of a point and one point shy of tying for the League lead in goals.
Hudlins is tied with Steven Stamkos for the most points in a single season among players with 40 games played.
Brendan SmithBrendan Smith, left-wing, is coming into his own after a slow