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Dream Season or Nightmare for Lightning?

Tampa Bay Lighting

The loss of Steven Stamkos for almost 4 months of play did little to slow down the Tampa Bay Lightning but the trade of disgruntled captain Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers threatened to blow up the Lightning season that at one time was full of promise and dreams of a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Lightning have gone from looking like a sure thing for the Eastern Conference playoffs to instead be a team that is on the bubble and in a fight for their playoff lives with a jog jam of teams in the East.

Stamkos Must Fill Void

The loss of Martin St. Louis, the veteran team captain and leading scorer, remains a dark cloud over the Tampa Bay playoff prospects with the NHL lines. Steven Stamkos must fill the void as new captain and maintain production without his top linemate.

Coming Up

The Tampa Bay Lightning are at the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, March 29 and then at the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, March 30. A critical 6 game home stand follows that will likely determine their playoff position as the Lightning will host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, April 1, the Calgary Flames on Thursday, April 3, the Dallas Stars on Saturday, April 5, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, April 8, the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, April 10, and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, April 11 before the regular season ends with what could be an all or nothing game at the Washington Capitals on Sunday, April 13. The games against the Canadiens, the Maple Leafs, the Flyers, and the Blue Jackets should have major Eastern Conference playoff implications for all involved.

Handicapper’s Notebook

The Tampa Bay Lightning have had their value drop in road games with 7 losses in their last 11 away games as 5 out of their last 9 away games have gone over the total. What has been equally troubling has been the Lighting’s recent struggles at home where they have lost 8 out of their last 12 games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum with 7 out of their last 10 home games going over the total.

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