2018/2019 Tampa Bay Lightning Season Preview
As huge fans of the Lightning, we love the energy of the preseason. Not only do you get a chance to see the coaches working to put together their best starting side, but you also get a feel for how the dynamics between teams are shaping up and how they’ll play out once the actual season kicks off.
For this year, we’ve got some thoughts as to what we’ll be able to expect out of the Tampa Bay Lightning as they surge again for Stanley Cup Glory. Here are our thoughts:
1. Sustained Energy is a Must
Last season’s Lightning was a team that, if you only looked at the first few weeks of the season, you’d assume had won the league and the Stanley Cup with 120 points. Although they got close to this number, the biggest errors came in the form of sustained slumps in the middle of the season (including a bad run for Vasilevskiy) and then again in the postseason when it mattered most against the Caps.
For 2018/2019, the Bolts will need to be able to overcome these slumps at the first sign of them kicking off. This may mean investing in more depth and bringing in players who can be tagged in once performances start to dip. It may also mean important players avoiding the media hype machine that declare the Lightning as Stanley Cup Winners in November.
2. Proven Fortitude Should Provide a Regular Season Edge
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs with a lot of hype surrounding their chances. Having to play fierce Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Bruins and being able to come back with four unanswered victories in the series proves that Tampa Bay can step up when needed.
Although the series that followed proved to be the Bolts’ downfall, the way it played out with the Lightning surviving to game 7 shows a prominent level of character for the team.
3. New Blood Should Patch Holes in 2017/2018 Team
With the arrival of both Ryan McDonagh in defense and J.T. Miller at center from New York (Rangers), Tampa Bay staff have found two players who can help with the inadequacies in the team’s defense last season.
[READ MORE: What We Learned in 2018 from the Tampa Bay Lightning]
With Stamkos and Kucherov expected to both enjoy another season racking up the GF, keeping the GA low was a huge priority and has been almost certainly actualized in the deadline-day arrival of these two.
Where Will the Tampa Bay Lightning Finish in 2018/2019?
Last season felt great, didn’t it? Let’s go all out on hoping for another season like last, but with a stronger playoff performance. We 100% believe the Lightning can win the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with over 110 points this season. We also think that keeping the GA number down should see the Lightning exceed their ridiculous +60 difference from last season.
Obviously, having over 300 goals will be great and we think they’re up for it this year. We can see Kucherov with another 100-point season and Stamkos again coming close.
Also, we think Vasilevskiy will have spent the summer preparing for a dip in form and being able to avoid the goals that came as a result.
All said, we don’t know for sure. However, we are hopeful that the Tampa Bay Lightning will see an incredible season with a division- and conference-topping regular season and fruitful playoff period. The Stanley Cup is coming home next year!
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