Nineteen? Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals preview

WHERE:Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
MEDIA:Sun Sports (cable), 620 WDAE (radio)

It's all 19.

It's easy to get lost in the fading playoff chances for the Bolts, it's easy to get disappointed at the conclusion of the season.  Lets forget about that for a second and rally around the high of the moment.

It's all what-could-be 19.

When compared to the records in NHL history, it's only nineteen, but it's still the grandest point streak in Lightning team history. Steven Stamkos has been a machine in notching points for eighteen consecutive games. He goes for nineteen tonight in Washington DC as the Bolts take on the Caps in the finale of a disappointing road swing through the great white north.

The Bolts have likely played themselves out of the playoffs during the last 8 games (which started before the Olympic break), going 3-6-1 during that span with key losses to the Rangers, Bruins and Canadiens - other teams that sat on the bubble for a playoff berth.

And as we noted yesterday, the destructive grudge in management (Tocchet versus Johnson ) may have been the proverbial final nail in teh coffin of the Lightning season.  The lack-of-acquisitions at the deadline may have also played a part, but a puck moving defenseman would not have cured the ills of the Lightning blue line.

Regardless, the stretch-run has been nothing short of spectacularly upsetting.

The Washington Capitals have clinched their third consecutive Southeast Division crown, congratulations to them. With the Verizon Center crowd playing as a fantastic sixth-man Lord Stanley's Cup making another trip to a Southeast Division citizen is a distinct possibility. We will a'll have to wait for the playoffs, of course, to find out if that happens.

With Smith in goal last night, look for Antero Niittymaki between the pipes for the Lightning this evening. It may not make a difference in how the defense has been performing in front of their netminder as of late.

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