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The weight of the Atlantic Division on the Lightning's remaining schedule

More than half the season is left to be played, and about half of those remaining contests are in-division games.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Christmas Break is not exactly the half-way point of the season, but the Tampa Bay Lightning is currently five games shy of having 41 games under their belt (that one will come on January 4th. That being said, with 36 games in the books and many series completed or near-completed with opponents outside the division and conference, there is a bulk of games of critical importance coming up; that importance comes by-way of games against fellow Atlantic Division opponents.

While the Bolts have 46 points in 36 games and look to be in good shape to make the playoffs...  Well, there's too much season left to get comfortable: 46 games in total and almost half (22) against the Atlantic Division.

Here's a breakdown of the remaining divisional schedule. The next divisional match-up is Monday against Toronto at Amalie Arena:

Opponent (games)

Home

Away

Boston Bruins (4)

2

2

Buffalo Sabres (3)

2

1

Detroit Red Wings (3)

2

1

Florida Panthers (3)

1

2

Montreal Canadiens (4)

1

3

Ottawa Senators (2)

0

2

Toronto Maple Leafs (3)

2

1

The full season series against the Bruins is played in the second half of the season with three of the four games in the season series being played after March 1st. Montreal and Buffalo are our divisional foes that have an extra game in the season series (five total) with Montreal hosting the extra game in that series and Tampa Bay hosting the extra game in the series with the Sabres.

The most pressing facet of the weight of the division and the playoff push is the fact 15 of the final 19 games of the season will be played against Atlantic Division rivals (that stretch starts March 1 in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers and ending April 11th the last day of the Lightning regular season) against Boston at Amalie Arena.