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Lightning Round: Analyzing the Bolts remaining schedule

Alex Barre-Boulet recorded his first career hat-trick in the AHL

NHL: FEB 06 Penguins at Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With February almost over, let’s take a quick look at the schedule for the remaining part of the regular season. As of February 29th, the Tampa Bay Lightning have 18 games until the end of the season, including tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames. The Lightning’s playoff chances are almost 100% per Micah Blake McCurdy’s projections model. Even despite the recent losing streak, the Bolts have accumulated enough points before to feel comfortable at the final stretch of the regular season. By this model, the Lightning are also on pace for 106-107 points.

Out of 18 remaining games, ten will be played at the home rink in Amalie Arena and eight will be on the road. Around the middle of March, the Lightning are heading on a trip to Western Canada with games against Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The trip to Canada will include two back-to-back games against the Oilers on March 20th and against the Flames on March 21st. Overal,l the Lightning will have four sets of back-to-back games until the end of regular season.

In 9 of 18 remaining games, the Lightning will face their opponents from the Atlantic Division. They also have two games left against each of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins - their closest opponents in the standings. Currently, the gap between the Lightning and the Bruins is already seven points and the Lightning have one game in hand. Before the Lightning started to lose games, it seemed like the fate of the Presidents’ Trophy would be decided in their face-to-face meetings in the first week of March, but due to the Lightning’s recent four-game losing streak, the gap has increased and the Lightning will more likely finish the regular season at second place in Atlantic.

However, the Lightning will have a chance to get a look at their potential first-round opponent. The Maple Leafs are currently in third place in the Atlantic and have a four-point advantage over the Florida Panthers. The Lightning and the Leafs already met twice during this season, including a game earlier this week, and each team earned one victory. The Lightning are nine points ahead of Toronto, so it’s probably safe to assume that the Lightning will have home-ice advantage in the first round.

In five games, the Lightning will face teams from Metropolitan Division, which are still battling for playoff spots. In four games, their opponents will be teams from the Pacific Division. Probably good news that the Lightning won’t play teams from Central Division as they didn’t play great against them during this regular season.

Lightning Org News

Yesterday, Alan updated his power rankings, check it out [Raw Charge]

As of today, the Lightning in the group of five teams at the top of the power rankings along with the Golden Knights, Bruins, Avalanche, and Penguins. All of those teams made at least small additions at the deadline with the Lightning being the most aggressive in trading both of their first round picks and their top prospect in an attempt to upgrade their forward group.

Matt claims that you don’t have to panic even if your favourite team lost four consecutive games [Raw Charge]

Conversely, better for the Lightning to hit a lull like this now rather than entering the playoffs. Tampa Bay masked their deficiencies by winning games down the stretch they had little business winning last season. That led to a certain level of hubris to their style of play that ultimately saw them endure one of the most embarrassing playoff defeats in recent memory.

The Syracuse Crunch defeat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-3 and Alex Barre-Boulet recorded his first career hat-trick in the AHL

On the other hand, the Orlando Solar Bears have been demolished last night by the Gladiators

Other Hockey News

The AHL approved the transfer of ownership of the San Antonio Rampage AHL franchise to the Vegas Golden Knights and also relocation of the team to Las Vegas starting next season.

The Carolina Hurricanes hosted a Pride Night last evening during a game against the Colorado Avalanche