The Stanley Cup favorites struggled within the first month of the season however simply laid a beating on a really intriguing Rangers staff. Did the journey to Sweden get the Bolts again on observe, or did they simply must get a bit of mad with themselves?Steven Stamkos (proper) and Victor Hedman|Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesDon’t look now, however the Tampa Bay Lightning have arisen. The New York Rangers performed Jared Leto to Tampa Bay’s Edward Norton on this 9-Three beating, however as an alternative of destroying one thing lovely, the Lightning might have created it as an alternative.
For no matter cause, the Lightning simply didn’t look the identical early this season. The staff wasn’t clicking, the massive weapons weren’t firing with the identical quantity and the goaltending has taken a giant step again from its regular excellence (from each starter Andrei Vasilevskiy and new back-up Curtis McElhinney). Oh, and the Bolts went from a President’s Trophy 2018-19 season to not even being in a playoff place.
Now, Tampa Bay has gained three in a row. Nikita Kucherov has six factors throughout that streak and is as soon as once more a point-per-game participant. Steven Stamkos has 5 factors throughout that very same run to make him a point-per-gamer. The identical goes for defenseman Victor Hedman.
This win over the Rangers might develop into a vital second in what Tampa Bay hopes is a championship season. Heading into the 2019-20 marketing campaign, there was no cause to doubt the Lightning as favorites for the Stanley Cup.
Certain, Tampa Bay flopped in opposition to upstart Columbus within the playoffs final spring, however that’s simply additional motivation to construct off. The Bolts already claimed to have a chip on their collective shoulders from the earlier post-season, once they led Washington Three-2 in a convention ultimate sequence they ended up shedding in seven video games. So ought to we count on completely different from them this season?
For those who’re a Bolts fan, maybe this uncharacteristic gradual begin is a blessing in disguise: the staff has already confirmed a variety of feelings and we’re solely one-quarter by way of the season. Typically getting mad is what a staff wants and we noticed Stamkos pop off in October about his staff’s efficiency – maybe we’re lastly seeing the consequences of that now.
I’m wondering if Tampa Bay’s sojourn to Sweden had something to do with the gradual begin. It’s a giant journey with numerous fanfare and possibly it was a distraction early on. Profitable each video games in opposition to the better-than-expected Buffalo Sabres in Stockholm might have launched the strain valve.
Sadly for the Sabres, their season has taken the other flip, although they’d already misplaced three in a row earlier than heading abroad. On Thursday evening, it was the Rangers’ flip to the touch the buzzsaw and if Tampa Bay needs to be that step-on-the-neck staff that goes all the way in which this 12 months, they’ll must do the identical each time they play an up-and-coming staff: Certain, the Rangers have a ton of future potential, however they’re nonetheless realizing it. The Lightning are the powerhouse that ought to be chugging alongside on all cylinders and educating others simply how far they should go to be on the identical stage.
Adversity? We adore it within the hockey world. Tampa Bay might have skilled it sooner than anticipated this season, but it surely was necessary to not play all 82 video games in a cushty place. The Lightning must maintain rolling – not solely to seize a playoff place, but additionally to ascertain themselves because the juggernaut we thought they might be.
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Tags: tampa bay lightning, nhlConnect: In regards to the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.