Hello friends. Welcome to the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the dance and anything can happen. I wanted to take this moment before Game One against Toronto to thank each and every one of you for following along here with me and the rest of the staff as well as on Twitter. As I’ve done for most of the games during the regular season, I’ll be on the RawCharge Twitter account live tweeting during every Lightning game in the playoffs [unless you see a lot of GIFs and pointless comments, then it’s me Tweeting..JG].
The playoffs are an incredibly intense and emotional time for fans. It’s a time that lends itself to overreacting to one game, to one play, and making grand sweeping conclusions. The Chicken Littles will come out of the woodwork when anything ever so slightly goes wrong. Pay them no mind. Let them wallow in their misery and negativity. Look forward to the next game. Look for the positives. Look for the adjustments that are needed to be better. Each and every game.
I also want to take this moment to reflect and remind everyone of what this team has accomplished. Even if they fall short of their goals this time around, nothing can take away what this team has done over the past nine seasons.
The Lightning are trying to become the first team to win three in a row since the New York Islanders in the early 1980s. If the Lightning fall short of that mark, they’re still Back-to-Back Stanley Cup Champions. Even that is a feat that has only been accomplished by a handful of teams since the expansion from the Original Six. The Montreal Canadiens. The Philadelphia Flyers. The New York Islanders. The Edmonton Oilers. The Pittsburgh Penguins. The Detroit Red Wings. The Tampa Bay Lightning. Legends among Legends.
This Lightning team is a Dynasty. These back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships have cemented their legacy from “great team that couldn’t win it all” to “Dynasty.” Plain and simple.
Since 2013-14, Jon Cooper’s first full season behind the bench and the emergence of the Lightning as a consistent playoff contender, the Lightning are 430-212-58 in the regular season. They have more wins than any other team. The best Goals For Per Game. The fourth best Goals Against Per Game.
The Lightning have taken home the Hart, Vezina, Art Ross, Norris, and Ted Lindsay trophies. The Lightning have won a President’s Trophy. Two Division titles.
Over these nine seasons, the Lightning have qualified for the playoffs eight times, and made it to at least the Eastern Conference Final five times, going all the way to the Stanley Cup Final three times and winning it twice. No team has played more playoff games in that span. No team has won more playoff games in that span. No other team has made it to three Stanley Cup Finals in that span. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins have won as many Cups as the Lightning have in that span.
Whatever happens, we have a lot to be proud of. We don’t need vindication from the National Media or from other fanbases. We have all the vindication we need to be proud of our team in what they have done over the past decade. The front office has rebuilt and extended the Stanley Cup window for this team through the draft, through development, and through savvy trades and signings. The coaching staff, including the one up in Syracuse, have fostered a winning culture in the locker room. The players that have worked their tails off to play at their peaks, even when confronted with serious injuries (looking at you Steven Stamkos) that could have hampered the rest of their career.
We are Tampa Bay Lightning fans and we are proud to be so.
Be The Thunder.