After losing two out of the last three games one coming at home against the hated Washington Capitals, the Lightning played with nothing on the line in a 4-2 loss to Montreal on Tuesday night.
The Lightning have really had nothing to play for this last month of the season having clinched a playoff spot and securing home ice advantage throughout the playoffs by winning the President’s Trophy.
Yes the Lightning had a chance win 63 games which would have given them the all time record for wins in a season, but after Tuesday‘s loss in Montreal the best they can do now is tie the 95-96 Detroit Red Wings with 62 wins.
If the Lightning are to tie the Red Wings record, they will have to win in two difficult places Toronto and Boston.
In the loss to Montreal, the Lightning were playing without thier best defensemen Victor Hedman and were playing their third string goalie Eddie Pasquale who was called up from Syracuse to replace Louis Domingue on the roster who has a lower body Injury.
The Lightning were outshot 45-24 and were losers on 61 percent of the faceoffs.
Another thing to consider in these two Lightning losses, the Capitals had not yet wrapped up the division title, so they were playing with an extra sense of urgency.
In Montreal, the Lightning ran into a Canadiens team that is still battling for one of the two wild card spots and those two spots will probably go down to the final day of the season.
The Lightning are also getting an A+ effort from the opposition every night. Every team is pumped and excited to go up against the Lightning and we have seen thatextra effort from the opposition over the last month of the season with the Lightning continuing to rack up the wins.
The Lightning did not play well Tuesday in Montreal. There were issues in every area of their game. But when the puck drops for the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs this team will be ready.
In an article on Yahoo Sports, Ryan Lambert says this 2018-19 Lightning team is the best team ever assembled in the history of the NHL.
The 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens team had nine Hall of Farmers on the roster. So to say that this Lightning team is the best of all-time is a testament to how consistent this team has played all season.
It will not be the greatest team of all time if it does not win the Stanley Cup. It will go down as one of the greatest regular season teams of all time but one that ultimately came up short in their ultimate pursuit of greatness.