Lightning at Blackhawks preview: Remember 2015 and get mad
The Bolts look to close out this year’s west coast road trip on a high note.
Lightning at Blackhawks: Game 49
Time: 8:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast/Streaming: Sun, CSN-CH
Opponent SBNation Site: Second City Hockey
Another Tuesday, another potential game to get back on track!... Right?
I, as well as many others, are waiting for that one win streak that turns the season around and propels the Lightning into the playoffs. Is that possible? I suppose. Is it going to happen? I would’t bet on it.
Re: #tblightning. Only 2 teams since '93-94 season made the playoffs after being last in the conference Jan 22. The '97 Senators + '09 Blues— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) January 23, 2017
So with the ever increasing likelyhood of Tampa Bay being in contention in the draft lottery, I’d like to introduce you to Halifax Moosehead forward Nico Hischier...
At this point in the season there is reason to lose hope in the Bolts. It seems fans now dread watching the games. Is it because this lackluster season is unprecedented? Or because the losses seem so futile? Regardless of the numerous reasons why Tampa Bay has under-performed, they have underwhelmed just about everyone. The Bolts have gone from cup contenders to a lottery pick possibility, and that doesn't sit well with many fans.
What can we see out of the team for the remainder of the season? I’ve heard this point before and still think it’s pertinent: Steve Yzerman man be looking intently at the youth from Syracuse and prospects that have dressed in a Lightning sweater this season. Season is over? Might as well assess our cards and wait for the next hand, right?
So here’s some points Lightning beat writer Joe Smith recently made on twitter:
#tblightning needs 49 points in final 34 games to reach 96, typically playoff water mark. TB won back to back games once in last two months— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) January 22, 2017
To put that into perspective, Tampa Bay currently sits at 47 points at the bottom of the Atlantic with 48 games played.
I suggest that for the remainder of the season, we enjoy the team that currently dresses night in and night out. For the caliber of hockey club that Tampa Bay has grown into, this year is tough. But the NHL is still a business, and it’s uncertain where your favorite players will be next season. Role players may come and go, but franchise faces never change, so pour all of your fandom love into Hedman and Stammer.
Oh and the matchup with Chicago? They sit second in the Central division and will likely make noise in the playoffs. However, they currently sit 28th in penalty kill percentage at 75.4%. 28th! If the Bolts want to steal a win they will have to heavily rely on their power play as it seems this season it is their only saving grace.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Vlad Namestnikov - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Erik Condra
Brian Boyle - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin
Michael Bournival - Cedric Paquette - Gabriel Dumont
Nikita Nesterov - Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn - Luke Witkowski
Vinny Hinostroza - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman - Tanner Kero - Richard Panik
Andrew Desjardins - Nick Schmaltz - Dennis Rasmussen
Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny - Brent Seabrook
Trevor van Riemsdyk - Michal Rozsival