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Tampa Bay Lightning playoff hopes for March 12th, 2017

Lightning take care of business, and also get some help around the NHL.

NHL: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the Lightning clawing their way back into the playoff picture since the trade deadline, and with the end of the season within sight, it’s time to start scoreboard watching.

For the Lightning to make it to the Wild Card spot, or possibly even third in the Atlantic division, they’ll need some help along the way. Not only do they need to win their games, they need to win more games than three or four other teams that are also fighting for playoff spots. With this feature, we’ll review how other teams helped (or hurt) the Lightning, and who you should be cheering for. We’ll continue this either until the Lightning secure a playoff spot... or are eliminated.

For every game we review, we’ll determine a Best Case, OK Case, and Worst Case scenario for each game. For each review, we’ll determine which actually happened for the Lightning. With thanks to @ElSeldo of Pension Plan Puppets for the inspiration.

The Lightning did their part by completing a come-from-behind win over the Florida Panthers. After allowing two goals in the first period, the Lightning tightened up and found a way to score three unanswered goals to take the win in regulation and push to four points ahead of the Panthers. The Lightning need to keep chipping away and get some help along the way. If they can do that, they’ll find themselves in a playoff position.

The upcoming schedule is not easy, though. Of the 15 remaining games, 10 are against teams that are either currently in a playoff position or fighting for one. That includes two each against Boston, Montreal, and Toronto.

Last Night’s Games

  • Florida Panthers 2 @ Tampa Bay Lightning 3 - Best Case
  • Philadelphia Flyers 1 @ Boston Bruins 2 - OK Case
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 3 @ Carolina Hurricanes 2 - Worst Case
  • New York Islanders 3 @ St. Louis Blues 4 - Best Case
  • Washington Capitals 2 @ Los Angeles 4 - Best Case

For the Lightning’s playoff hopes, the night’s games were mostly positive. Even with the OK result of Boston winning, the Lightning control some of their destiny with Boston since they have two games remaining against them. The Lightning also have a game in hand on Boston. It’s also the same case with the Maple Leafs with two games remaining against them to swing the point totals.

Today’s Games That Matter

NOTHING! There’s five games on this lovely Sunday. And none of them matter to the Lightning. The only teams from the East that are playing are Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Washington Capitals. New York and Washington don’t matter because they’re so far ahead of us, and in the Metropolitan division. The Red Wings are far enough behind to not be a threat. And the Canadiens are unlikely to fall far enough to matter for the Lightning.

So take the day off. Rest, recharge, enjoy the outdoors. Or the indoors if you’re so inclined.

The Lightning will be back in action on Monday against the Rangers. The Flyers, Islanders, Bruins, and Kings will also be playing on Monday.