A pleased capacity crowd celebrates a goal at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. - Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
The 2013 season has seen every Lightning home game announced as a sellout and puts the Bolts near the top of the NHL in attendance.
Tonight's tilt between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Buffalo Sabres is the 11th home game of the Lightning's abbreviated 2013 season, and it also stands as the 11th consecutive game that the Forum reached its maximum capacity of 19,204 this season so far. That's a record (starting the season with 11 consecutive sellouts).
Yet, the thing is, that's not the entirety of the streak; Tampa Bay closed the 2011-12 NHL season with sellout crowds against the New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals. The last non-sellout date at Times Palace was back on March 22nd, 2012 against the Edmonton Oilers. The Bolts sold out a total of 20 home dates (of their 41 games schedule) last season.
So, in essence, this is the 14th straight sellout of a Lightning hockey game tonight and the 31st sellout of the club's last 52 home games.
Through 10 games this season, the Bolts total attendance of 192,040 is 6th among NHL teams (tonight's sellout will make that total 211,244) and first among the seven teams that have played at least 10 home games. It's the seventh ranked total attendance behind teams with bigger buildings and / or more home dates played. You can view the full attendance stats from ESPN here (note: the stats incorrect state the Forum is drawing under-capacity. Capacity was reduced to the current 19,204 during the renovations of 2011).
Though the Lightning have been inconsistent, they're exciting to watch and the fan experience at 401 Channelside Drive is one of the best in the league.