R-E-S-P-E-C-T

After being an underdog in their previous series against the New York Islanders, the Lightning shocked some in the hockey world by beating The Islanders 4 straight after losing badly on home ice in game 1. The way the Lightning played against the Islanders left many wondering what team would show up against the Pittsburgh Penquins. Would be it be the Lightning team that won 9 in a row this season? Or would we see the Lightning team that stumbled their way through the first half of the season with a .500 mark.

The Lightning answered that question on Friday Night with a resounding 3-1 win in Pittsburgh. Despite being outshot 35-20 and losing Ben Bishop and Tyler Johnson to injuries, the Lightning never got down and posted the win. 

Almost all of the National Writers have picked the Penquins to win the series in 6-7 games. I have watched every Lightning game intently this season and right now they are playing the best hockey of the season. They  are peaking at the right time. This Lightning team will beat the Pens in 6 games and have a good chance to lift the cup come June.

Here are 5 reasons I think the Lightning can and will the Stanley Cup.

–Jon Cooper. The man just seems to have the right temperament for this team. He knows when to push and when to take his foot off the gas.

–Experience. Last years Stanley cup playoff run has been extremely invaluable for the Lightning this postseason. 

–Victor Hedman–He is picking up right  where he left off in LY playoff run. He was a Conn Smythe candidate last year, and will be again this year. His play against John Taveres last series was what you’d expect from a shut down defenseman.

–Jonathan Drouin.  Who would have thought in January that Drouin would be the third leading scorer on this team so far in the playoffs. His play away from the puck, his puck handling and his play making ability are much better than any one could have anticipated. 

— Ben Bishop. We can’t forget the team MVP. His 1.85 GAA  and .939 save percentage leads all goalies still playing in the playoffs. Look for him to pick up right where he left off when he returns to the net. 

Who’s is your playoff MVP so far? Hedman or Bishop?

The Lightning are 9-2 so far this postseason and earned some R-E-S-P-E-C-T with that win in Pittsburgh.