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Tampa Bay Lightning News – January 2018

After the supremely disappointing season the Buccaneer’s endured, we’ve grown accustomed to looking toward the Bolts for inspiration, hope and joy. Doing so has been easy this year with the Lightning having spent most of the season at the top of the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference and NHL. These times, my friends, are in peril.

As of the date of publication of this blog, a 3-game losing streak has caused the Lightning to fall to second place in the NHL behind newcomers Los Vegas Golden Knights, who sit one point above the Lightning at 66 points. Although wins record is equal, an additional loss and one less overtime loss for the Bolts have given Los Vegas the advantage.

[READ MORE: What are the Best Sports Bars to Watch the Lightning?]

All is not lost, however, as the Lightning still have the second highest number of goals for (164, behind the Islanders’ 168), fourth lowest number of goals against (121, behind the Bruins – 112, Kings – 114 and Predators – 119) and highest goal difference at 43. Suffice it to say, our predictions for the 2017/18 season may have been a little optimistic.

What’s Happened to the Tampa Bay Lightning?

As fans who get paid to sell Kia cars and not write about sports professionally, your guess is as good as ours. One thing is for sure, the team looks like a different group than the squad that was lighting up the Eastern Conference back in December, all but guaranteed a spot in the Stanley Cup semifinals/finals.

This loss of momentum is especially evident with Andrei Vasilevskiy, who isn’t solely to blame for the 5 losses in 7 games but doesn’t have clean hands either. His fourth start against the Wild on Saturday night saw the all-star Vezina Trophy likely concede four goals.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times’ staff writer Joe Smith, Vasilevskiy said “I have to better. That’s the bottom line.”

Similarly, Stamkos has been neutralized by the opposition, extending his goalless run to eight games. Tactics which allowed the Bolts to cruise to the top of the league over winter have left the team and its fans anxious about threats like the surging Bruins, and steady Capitals.

Coach Jon Cooper put it best in an interview with Time’s reporter Joe Smith: “We’re out of sync.”

Alternate Captain Ondřej Palát Indefinitely Out

When it rains it pours, and it’s up to your knees out there. Bad games are one thing, but bad games with long-term effects are entirely worse. Following a collision in the third period against the Wild during Saturday’s game, Palat has been ruled unfit to play for an undisclosed amount of time.

The forward returned to Tampa Bay for further testing and treatment, but an official injury hasn’t been released. The injury likely occurred during the 8 seconds of gameplay featured in the tweet below:

Warning: Video is not for the faint of heart.

Ouch! We wish him the best, and the Lightning in their games to come.

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arm of goalie leaning into stop shot

Just because the Lightning have been on a poor run doesn’t indicate the trajectory of the team. We’re still excited to see how this season wraps up (and maybe even more so, although we’d love to hear that Palat was faking and is available for next game selection).

Hope is far from lost, and what kinds of fans are we if we don’t stick by the Bolts after a handful of bad games?

Here at Friendly Kia, the sports community in Tampa Bay is one of our favorite things about the area. We write about the Lightning on our blog in the Direct Current section. You can find past issues here. For more information about local events, Kia models or to send us tickets to the next Lightning game (we’re good luck, we swear!), contact us today!

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