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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay Lightning hockey is back!

Three away games finish out the month.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Tampa Bay Lightning lost in overtime to the Dallas Stars, 3-2, with both goalies tried their best to impress each other and not allowing a goal until midway through the second period. In the middle of the second, Nikita Kucherov Steven Stamkos finally managed to tip one past Ben Bishop to open scoring. The Stars, formerly an offense-heavy team, found a tiny bit of their old fire in their first goal since January 16 too.

The more you know. The Bolts did not win this one, but earned an overtime point on the strength of a second Stamkos goal late in the third.

Morning After Thoughts: Lighting scrounge a point in overtime loss to Stars [Raw Charge]

The second period displayed a Lightning team that just wasn’t in sync. Tampa Bay has always struggled in games after long periods of rest, but that excuse only goes so far. Passes were all over the place, reads were inconsistent, positioning was off, and decision making produced many “why?” moments during the second frame. The only area where the Lightning were strong was in net.

Burns: 3 Things we learned from an overtime loss in Dallas [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Lightning did their goaltender no favors with the number of breakdowns committed against the Stars. Vasilevskiy allowed two goals on breakaways, both to Jamie Benn, one to give the Stars their first lead at 9:06 of the third period and the other in overtime on a 2-on-0 rush. And yet his play in net was still considered heroic because of the many more opportunities the Stars had to take control of the game and both points from the Lightning.

The rest of January is taken up by away games at the LA Kings (10 PM game), Anaheim Ducks (10 PM game), and San Jose Sharks (10:30 PM game). Are you staying up for these?

There is...not much going on post All-Star Break. We’ll have some recaps from the AHL All-Star game coming out today, but while you wait, here are a few interesting things to think about.

What did you predict going into the season? Here’s Diana Nearhos’s mea culpa, and it’s probably a lot more accurate than mine: Re-visiting those NHL preseason predictions [TBTimes, paid content]

As for the real reason we’re all here, the Stanley Cup. I originally predicted the Lightning would go through the Capitals to win a series against the Avalanche. I am going to stand by that one, though I see so many possibilities — a repeat Blues-Bruins series flipped in Boston’s favor doesn’t even seem far-fetched.

Geo took a look at what the Bolts might do at the trade deadline, and somehow forgot to mention trading Vasilevskiy for Henrik Lundqvist (don’t kill me I was joking): Where and how the Lightning could upgrade their roster [Raw Charge]

When you go down the roster, and look beyond it into the AHL, you can definitely point to some shortcomings with this year’s group. That’s true for every team. In a salary cap world, it’s impossible to look at a team and go “Yeah, there’s no way to actually upgrade this team at all.” But for the Lightning, it’s not the big pieces (barring any unforeseen injuries) that we should be worried about. It’s more at the edges and fringe of the roster that there could be some upgrades.

Lightning strikes first-ever naming rights deal for Brandon practice facility [BizJournals, paid content]

Tampa General Hospital has expanded its sponsorship of the Lightning to include the Ice Sports Forum, which is now TGH Ice Plex. A team spokesman confirmed it is the first time the team has sold the naming rights to the practice facility.

The name plays off of TGH’s nearby facility, the TGH Brandon Healthplex. The naming rights deal is an extension of an existing multiyear partnership between TGH and the Lightning, and financial terms were not disclosed. At Amalie Arena, TGH’s sponsorship deal includes an in-ice logo, dasher boards, morning skate show entitlement and various other elements.

NBC ranks the Tampa Bay Lightning second in its power ranking, mentioning that the team is “flat-out dominating.” They probably saw that Jets game, eh? NHL Power Rankings: Stanley Cup contenders entering second half [NHL on NBC]

2. Tampa Bay Lightning. They are flat out dominating teams again. Two years ago the Capitals finally broke through after years of disappointment. Last year it was the Blues. Maybe this year it is the Lightning.

Got anything interesting for us? Please share!

And look out for Trace’s recap of the AHL All-Star Game later today.

Last but not least: