I don’t remember watching a Lightning team that has been so jekyll and hyde. You really don’t know which Lightning team will show up. . We all hope its the one that beat up on Boston on the road last week, or the one that came from a 3-0 deficit to beat Chicago in OT on Monday night. Not the team that has been beaten twic by Arizona the Worst team in the Western Conference.
The Lightning are currently 3 points behind the Bruins for the last wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning have seven games remaining in the regular season starting tonight at home against Detroit. The Lightning need to get a minimum of 10-12 points out of a possible 14 to even think about getting a wild card spot. That would mean a 5-1-1 record for the Bolts down the stretch.
The Lightning go to Boston and Toronto next week for possibly the two biggest games of the season. But what the Lightning can’t do is start watching the scoreboard. All the Lightning have to do is take care of business and they are in. Its that simple. That would give the Lightning a ten game winning streak to end the season and probably enough points to get that final wildcard spot.
The Lightning had high hopes at the beginning of the season, and a lot of experts picked the Lightning to raise the Stanley Cup in June. Numerous injuries and 37 players later, yes that is how many players the Lightning have used this season, it’s kind of crazy to think the Lightning would even be in the hunt for a playoff spot.
The Lightning lost Steven Stamkos in October to a torn meniscus. Ryan Callahan never recovered from off-season hip surgery and has been a non-factor all season. Factor in the trades of Bishop and Brian Boyle, and after all that the Lightning still have a chance to play for the Stanley Cup again.
The team has gotten good contributations from the young kids called up from Syracuse. Braydon Point has 13 goals and 32 points. Yanni Guarde had the game winner Monday Night against Chicago. D Jake Dotchin has been solid on the blue line and has been paired with the Lightning’s best defensemen Victor Hedman.
Steven Stamkos went through a full practice today and it looks like his return is going to be sooner rather than later. Stamkos has been ruled out for the game tonight against Detroit, but I would expect him to play this weekend against either at home against Montreal on Saturday, or In Dallas on Sunday.
Tyler Johnson who has been out 2 weeks now went through a light workout, there is no timetable for his return. Cedric Paquette has suffered a minor setback in his attempt to return from his injury, so he may be done for the season.
These next two weeks this team will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Stay tuned.